An Era Ends After Shuttering of One of West Chester’s Few African-American-Owned Businesses

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The Antique Shop
Image via Bill Rettew, Daily Local News.
Alice Thomas.

The Antique Shop, one of the few businesses in West Chester owned by African-Americans, closed its doors for good on Feb. 28, writes Bill Rettew for the Daily Local News

The lease for the shop on North Church Street was not renewed. A restaurant will be opened at the site. 

Partners Alice Thomas and Jean Newsome spent nearly three decades running antique shops in the borough on Church and Market streets. At 91, Thomas, a Thornbury Township resident, decided it was time to retire. 

The Antique Shop sold collectibles, antiques, glassware, and more. Its well-organized storefront and basement were always packed from floor to ceiling with interesting items. 

In her lifetime, Thomas has seen West Chester change from a place where Black people were not served in some restaurants, or were limited to the movie house balcony, to a much more accepting place. 

“West Chester is a lot better,” she said. “I’m treated with respect because I earned respect.” 

Thomas is also an author, whose autobiography Surviving Racism: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Faith covers her 35-year career as a caseworker at Henderson High School.

Read more about The Antique Shop in the Daily Local News

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