Temple Alumna’s Unique Business Flourishes in Kensington

A new coffee shop owned by a fellow Temple owl is gaining a lot of popularity for its uncommon features.

Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse opened its doors in December of 2015 on the corner of Frankford Avenue and East Huntingdon Street.

The shop is owned by Ariell Johnson, a 2005 Temple FOX School of Business graduate with a unique vision. She combines coffee brews and comic books within an inclusive and comforting atmosphere for customers.

“We want it to be for the gaming nerds, we want it to be for the sci-fi nerds, you know so we just want to be all-inclusive,” says Johnson.

Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse isn’t unique just to Philadelphia. Johnson is the first black woman to own a comic books store on the entire east coast. She is making waves as a black woman within geek culture and is using Amalgam to increase representation for women and minorities.

She focuses on showcasing literature from black and minority artists and giving them a space to sell their work. Johnson says “They tend to be from, you know, smaller publishers or independent work, so you have to work a little harder to get them.”

Amalgam also hosts a variety of community programs, events, and book signings to draw in new customers, community members, and comic book experts alike.

Johnson says Temple University helped prepare her for operating her own business and still reaps the benefits of having a Temple degree. “I have had people come in and say, I had to check your store out, I heard you were a Temple alum, so, you know, people really do respond to that,” says Johnson.

Johnson hopes the atmosphere of her shop is welcoming to all and that community members will think of Amalgam as a place to hangout and make their own.

She states, “If you are differently abled, if you are LGBTQ, if you are a person of color, if you are a woman, you know you’re definitely welcome in this space.”

You can find more information on Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse’s hours and upcoming events on its Facebook page.

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