“The Dollar General Store that was located at 25th and South Street was a great resource for my community. The low prices helped to serve the folks both rich and poor who stopped in the store for everything from bacon and eggs to cat and dog food. I would see some people counting out pennies to but toilet paper and I saw wealthy people stocking up on laundry detergent. The staff was so friendly, kind and helpful and all of the young people who worked there were African Americans. Over time I learned their names and they knew mine. There was always a line at the cash register and often I would see friends and neighbors. Dollar General stores are usually located in poorer neighborhoods reflecting what my neighborhood of South Street West used to be like.
Since the development of the abandoned Naval Square and the gentrification of South of South Street the Dollar General went out of business and was replaced by a Petco Unleashed store selling high end and very expensive pet food. The corner store that was once a thriving, busy place that employed blacks is now full of dog food and an all white staff, and is now virtually empty of customers. Petco moved into my neighborhood to directly compete with the two existing pet supply stores, The Philly Pack and Doggie Style that sell the same products and offer the same services. The nearest Dollar General is at 26th and Jackson Streets, too far to walk from my neighborhood. The 17 bus goes to Jackson Street but is still a six block walk through a distressed neighborhood.
The photograph printed on Plexiglas is of the metal racks that once lined the sidewalk outside the Dollar General store that received daily deliveries of basic supplies to serve the community. Now Petco Unleashed only serves the wealthiest of dogs and cats.” – DoN Brewer
Dollar General was awarded the ‘mary rowe memorial jury prize, best in show’ for on the Grid Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks, Tenth Annual Juried Exhibition. I was elated when Togo read my name. I had just walked from Ionic and Chestnut Streets, I had left the PANMA Holiday Party early because I had a feeling. As I was passing the Philadelphia History Museum a strange thing happened. I stumbled and tore off the sole of my boot off.
It’s strange because I was thinking that at almost the exact same spot and time of year two years ago I tore the sole off another pair of boots while at the museum. Do you know what it’s like to walk with your boot flapping? It sounds like the loudest flip-flop ever, it was embarrassing to walk into Dirty Frank’s with tore boots. But then the whole place was clapping, cheering and saying my name. The experience was awesome, I was so touched by the affection of my friends. When I walked home from Dirty Frank’s that cold night, with my shoe flopping and flapping, I was grinning ear to ear. I’m a part of Philadelphia history, my name is 10th on the list of the Mary Rowe Memorial Jury Prize winners.
Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook
Follow the new DoNArTNeWs.com
Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58
DoNArTNeWs on Tumblr
@donniebeat on Instagram
Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar.