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April 08, 2021

Moore Vintage Archive brings visibility to Black business owners, gives back to the community

The store won its first-ever retail space from a Bok building contest to support BlPOC businesses

Shopping Vintage
Moore Vintage Archive Keesean Moore/Courtesy

The Moore Vintage Archive opens its doors for the first time Friday, April 9.

A first-of-its-kind vintage clothing and book store is opening its doors in South Philadelphia this Friday.

The shop, Moore Vintage Archive, is a sustainable, community-oriented, Black and queer-owned business that gives a portion of its profits back to local organizations. 

Owner Keesean Moore said he hopes his business will inspire the community and become a place where people can find inspiration and experience vintage design.

"I'm really looking to bring something different, but connect with the community," Moore said. "I really hope that it's a space that inspires people to dream."

The store is like a shoppable design library with rare vintage designer clothing and rare books by authors of color, including Toni Morrison, June Jordan and Philly-native Sonia Sanchez, he said.

"Our focus is really on collecting and preserving this idea of design history and also providing a sustainable alternative to dressing," Moore said. "Because nothing is really produced, it keeps the carbon footprint down."

After going to trade shows and hosting temporary showrooms for the past few years, Moore finally secured a physical store at the Bok building in South Philadelphia — a school-turned-studio and shopping space for makers, nonprofits, small businesses and artists.

Bok created a contest for residency in the building at a reduced rent, specifically for businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and People of Color. 

"I'm so inspired by being surrounded by other creatives," Moore said. "There's so much potential for collaboration, and just the general community and support. It was like a dream come true."

The residency starts as a pop-up for $100/month for the first two months, with the option to renew to $600/month after that. 

"Even seeing a Black, queer business owner will hopefully also inspire other people who are maybe even struggling to get to an idea," Moore said. "I really, really hope that the visibility can open people's eyes to what's possible."

One thing that's really important to Moore is supporting community organizations, charities and nonprofits. Each month, he donates a portion of sales to an organization that's fighting for social change. 

"I've been selecting different organizations that I'm inspired by and I wish to support, they're kind of advocating for the social change that I want to see in the world," Moore said. "By supporting us, not only are you supporting a small, Black, queer owned business, but you're also helping me to support organizations that I really love and believe in."

For the month of April, Moore is donating to the South Philadelphia Community Fridge, a volunteer-run organization committed to giving all Philadelphians access to healthy, fresh food. In the past, he donated to Cave Canem, The Audre Lorde Project and The Meta Den. 

"I'm just hoping to show that you can offer the best of the best and really be proud of that, but then also be socially responsible," Moore said.

The Moore Vintage Archive opens April 9, 2021 at 12 p.m. at Bok building at 1901 S. 9th Street STE 1H, Philadelphia, Pa. 19148.

Store hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 12-6 p.m., and Moore said to keep an eye out for store events during the summer, when it's safe to do so.

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