Please introduce yourself.
I am Seda, the founder and creator of Shopkeepers. I am Suzy, and I became a co-owner of Shopkeepers in 2020.
What made you decide to be an entrepreneur?
Seda: It’s important to me to have a creative outlet. I started by opening a pop-up shop with another friend.
Suzy: I come from an entrepreneurial family, with both my parents and my older brother having their own businesses. My career had been pointed toward government contracting, with a focus on environmental issues. But there was a lack of creativity and freedom. I think that, with Seda, our underlying reasons for this business and the way that we work so well together are because we have a very similar approach.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
We wanted a space for people to come in and feel at home, comfortable and find unique groceries or clothing or little knick knacks.
How long have you been in business?
We opened at the end of 2016, so going into our sixth year.
What makes your products unique?
The space has a little bit of everything. We have a cafe, groceries, retail, and an event space.
What is your company’s mission?
To be integrated with our neighbors. The neighborhood is changing. It’s a gentrified neighborhood, but we want to remain that “go-to neighborhood store.”
Please describe your company’s successes. Was there a pivotal moment?
We organically get a lot of our customers from the neighborhood, along with people who are simply passing through. And we focus on building that inherent relationship that corner shops often have with their neighbors.
Why this location?
It’s a great area with lots of diversity.
How does your business help your neighborhood and community?
We are a place where people can come and take refuge, have a seat if you need to rest. We also bring to our business a mindset of being a good neighbor and a true contributor to the community.
Where are you originally from?
Suzy: I am from Korea. I came to New York when I was very young, and my family moved to Maryland when I was in third grade.
Seda: I am from Northern Virginia and now live in DC.
Can you name a fun fact or unique thing about your business?
Shopkeepers have an authentic connection with the neighborhood, and that continues to be a really unique part of what we do and who we are.
How would you define your business in three words?
Eclectic, timeless, and warm.
What is your favorite holiday?
Seda: Christmas and my birthday.
Suzy: New Year’s. It’s a time to start fresh, a new beginning.
What would you recommend people buy from your store?
Two things: the coffee and the Sumo puffer jacket. The jacket is very popular, and the designer is 7115 by Szeki.
What is the best thing a customer has ever said to you?
We receive many compliments from our customers that our space is inviting and warm and makes them feel good.