Upon, walking up the steep narrow stairway that leads to Asha’s Attic you are greeted with an oversized children’s book titled Asha’s Attic and a handcrafted sign created by the owner to let you know you’ve arrived to the most original resale shop in Chicago. The attic, as the owner affectionately calls it, is much like your typical attic with slanted walls, creaking floors and secret hiding spaces. When you finally reach the landing and enter the attic you are immediately transported back to the nostalgia of your childhood, where you are overcome with an urge to explore and uncover rare treasures.
So who is the mastermind behind this wildly creative concept? Sheila McKelvey-Arnold, a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher, has always had an affinity with resale shopping and supporting small business owners. She believes that it is imperative that we support small, Black owned businesses in order to keep our dollars circulating in the black community. Following her passion for second hand shopping and her desire to offer an alternative for shoppers in her community, she opened Asha’s Attic in the fall of 2013. Located in the attic of her home, Asha’s Attic offers a unique shopping experience where one can find anything – contemporary items to antiques, ranging from designer clothing to classic items such as hot combs. Needless to say shopping in the attic is like shopping at home. The attic caters to all types of clientele, but especially small groups, because with advanced notice the owner will provide tea and snacks for your group, turning your Saturday shopping spree into an afternoon tea party with friends. Asha’s Attic is a true diamond in the rough.
Saying that Asha’s Attic has flexible operating hours would be an understatement; the attic is open 7 days a week from sun up to sun down. The owner readily makes her services available for the convenience of her customers. But this isn’t what makes Asha’s Attic truly remarkable; it’s that in addition to the Attic’s exceptionally unusual quirks, she provides customers with the opportunity to apply for a collegiate scholarship called the Delphine H. Gibson scholarship in honor of her late mother who was an advocate for higher education. Sheila McKelvey-Arnold is a true testament to giving back to the community and paying it forward. Asha’s Attic gives its customer a complete shopping experience and more.
Asha I. McKelvey-Gallagher is a Videographer, Video Editor, and an Educator as well as the founder of AshaIman Productions. She is based in Chicago, IL
Currently, Asha is working on a music video in collaboration with the Kanye West Foundation Donda’s House and Blackstone Bicycle Works youth education program promoting bike safety throughout the city of Chicago. Because Asha believes that it is vital to connect and work with the people within her community, in the future she plans to use her passion for film to document the stories of inspiring youths who do exceptional work in and out of their communities.