“I like to tell people they work for me,” says CWI Inc. owner, John, of the two full sets of knights’ armor he has standing in his Olney Avenue store front. The two unusual pieces draw in a lot of business from the street, but John usually uses word of mouth to promote his Afrocentric home goods business.
He began CWI Inc. by accident—a frequenter of yard sales, John accumulated such a large amount of antiques and unique pieces that his own garage couldn’t contain all of it. He was forced to have his own garage sales. Patrons were impressed by the quality of his items, so John rented a space and CWI Inc. was born.
The store also boasts one of a kind art pieces from both local and overseas artisans. According to the owner, it is the only retailer in Philadelphia who carries sand art and string art that comes directly from Africa. John explained that when he sees such interesting and rare pieces, he buys all of them, ensuring that he is the lone vendor of such objects.
“My business is far-reaching,” John says. “I like to joke to people that from Ogontz Avenue to Eerie, from Mount Airy to South Philly, almost everybody owns something that I sold them.”
Lauren Correia and Belmo Mayers, Group 3, Olney