Northern Liberties has quickly become one of Philadelphia’s most trafficked areas—and it’s happened in record time.
The growth is aimed to continue that way, with the population in the popular neighborhood expected to nearly double in two years, with 5,000+ new residential units and 184,655 square feet of commercial space on deck or under construction. In total, Northern Liberties will welcome seven grand openings in just this month and last.
And part of the new additions to the area come in the form of two businesses: NoLib’s first-ever women-owned boutique, 70SIX Boutique, and also, Ray’s Reusables—a refill station and gift/home shop, which is also female-owned.
70SIX—which opened last week—aims to offer Philadelphians a carefully curated collection of women’s clothing, home accents and gift items all under $100. The options in the store were all hand-picked by owner Lindsey McKinney with the ideologies of quality, trendiness and sustainability on her mind. It’s meant to act as a backdrop to a bigger picture for customers as well, overall creating a space where patrons feel welcomed and supported in finding their personal style.
McKinney chose to open the shop in Northern Liberties after moving to the neighborhood from Fishtown in early 2021.
“I realized that the neighborhood needed more retail [since] it is so densely populated with busy students, young professionals and growing families,” she explained in a statement. “I’m so excited that I get to immerse myself into the community and meet new people at the store everyday.”
It’s important to McKinney that the storefront provides customers with the ability to pick up last-minute items for special events or gifting. But ultimately, McKinney wants 70SIX to be a place where customers can conveniently shop for their everyday wardrobe needs.
McKinney added, “I have always wanted to start a business and I’ve always loved clothes. When I decided to leave the education field, I knew that it was time to give opening a boutique a shot.”
Opening hours for the launch of 70SIX Boutique are Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. More information can be found on their site at shop70six.com.
Ray’s Reusables (935 N. 2nd St.) also came to the area at an opportune time—although the concept was first conceived in 2019.
Owner Ray Daly explained in a statement, “I had long looked for a way to repurpose the (growing) pile of worn-out jeans that I had into something beautiful, useful, and that would mesh well with the low waste lifestyle that I was trying to cultivate. Thus the back pocket cutlery roll was born.”
Daly saw what the pandemic created in terms of waste, and she wanted to do even more to support the sustainable community of Philadelphia.
“That’s why I decided to fast track some long term goals of mine, and open up Philadelphia’s first mobile refill shop. Making plastic-free options accessible and affordable to people regardless of where they live in the city has always [been] my mission,” explains Daly. “With 70% of people in the city relying on public transportation, I knew the best way to provide more equal access would be to take an eco-store to them. With the flexibility and mobility of the van I’m able to go into different neighborhoods around the city, making sustainable shopping easier for eco-conscious Philadelphians.”
Ray’s new storefront however currently carries products that focus on three different areas: body care, laundry and cleaning. A highlight includes the Bee Our Guest Wraps made in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, using local beeswax and deadstock fabric. Then there is HiBar—aka shampoo and conditioner bars that according to Daly, changed her opinion of solid shampoo and conditioner completely. They also are one of the things that she brought in by popular demand, and the brand has also just released a line of facial cleanser bars that should be arriving in the shop soon as well.
In a nutshell, Ray’s follows the three ‘Rs’—reuse, refill and replace (more on that on the storefront’s website.)
For Daly’s first brick and mortar, she explained: “I wanted to create a space that felt really welcoming and inviting. I really like the minimalist aesthetic that many sustainable stores go for, but I also find it intimidating sometimes. I love color, I love patterns, I love silly cute things. So seeing a lot of white and kraft paper, while very visually appealing to me, never felt like it reflected what my actual life looks like. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way, so I hope that by injecting some color and liveliness into the shop I can make sustainability feel more approachable for people who might be just starting to dip their toes in.”
As for being in NoLibs, Daly figured that if she was able to regularly and easily pop up in places like East Falls, Manayunk, and West Philly, then the best way to make herself more accessible would be to set up shop in an area where she couldn’t pop up.
“I also like all that Northern Liberties has to offer to people who are coming to visit me. I like the idea that refilling could be something that fits seamlessly into your errand running rather than the special trip that you have to make,” she finishes.
For pop-up hours and events, visit raysreusables.com