Shop Local Spotlight: Keys to the Attic

Keys to the Attic has graced Girard Avenue with its presence since 2011. We are pleased to share our interview with Catherine, who has the know-how and the wares with it all to help you with your DIY house and upcycled furniture projects!



1. What is your shop all about? What do you offer, what's your favorite thing that you do?

 Keys to the Attic is a vintage resale store in the Fishtown neighborhood in Philadelphia that specializes in a niche inventory of gently used furniture and decorative household items – particularly, but not limited to, items of a country vintage and shabby chic nature. We carry all natural chalk and milk paints, along with decorative hardware. Our most popular product is a unique, all natural candle line that changes every season.

 We've designed our store to inspire people to decorate their homes and apartments using Do It Yourself (DIY) techniques and we will teach people how to upcycle furniture and salvaged items simply by painting (using chalk and milk paints) or adding decorative hardware to the pieces - both of which we sell. This is one of the favorite things that we do and we encourage our customers to take Before and After pictures that we share on our website. It gives us great pleasure to see the satisfaction and joy that people get from taking an old, outdated or damaged piece and turning it into something new.

 As a local small business, Keys to the Attic, strongly believes in supporting our local neighborhoods and reinforcing the green sustainability efforts of the Philadelphia region through this reuse and recycling of no longer wanted/needed goods.


2. Why did you open your shop where you did? How did your shop come about?

 Keys to the Attic opened in November 2011. After working as a web designer for major corporations, I was laid off in 2010 and was given the opportunity to make a decision to search for another job or to plan to open my own business. Due to a series of sheer luck and circumstance, the location of the store became available and this solidified my decision to go for the latter.


3. What is your hope for this area? What changes have you seen in the neighborhood that get you excited?

 I have lived in the Fishtown neighborhood for 25 years. Therefore, I have not only seen the changes that have taken place in the last 5 - 10 years, but was fortunate to be around when a lot of the original businesses were still here, but unfortunately have since closed. I am daily excited about the revitalization of our small local business growth and often frequent our local bars and restaurants - where everybody does know your name.

 I believe that we are also fortunate because our neighborhood is smaller than many other Philadelphia neighborhoods and this enables people to meet each other quickly which helps us to strengthen our experience as a community. With the help of organizations like the Shop Local, Kensington Community Food Co-op (KCFC), Fishtown Area Business Association (FABA), New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), and the Fishtown Neighbors Assocation (FNA), Fishtown small businesses and restaurants have done a good job of supporting each other individually and supporting our local business community collectively.


4. Why did you become a Shop Local Partner? Why do you think the Co-op is important?

 Keys to the Attic became a Shop Local Partner to support the community and, of course, to help us grow our business. The Co-op is a fantastic addition to the neighborhood because they will provide much needed products and foods that are not currently accessible without traveling to other parts of the city. I also believe that because the Co-op was formed through the hard work and dedication of local residents there will be commitment and pride to support its success.


5. What's the product/item you most hope to see at the KCFC when we open the doors?

 I am most excited for the opportunity to be able to buy healthy produce, grains and - basically - food at reasonable prices, without having to do a lot of planning for special trips to the other sides of town.

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