New downtown shop brings African culture

by Ashlynn Phillips

You may notice something different when walking along 1st Avenue in downtown Spokane than you would have four months ago. You may hear African music softly playing. The new store this music is coming from is Adinkra Market and Design.

Adinkra opened in July by husband and wife, Richard Adu-Acheampong and Rachel Rogers. The new shop, located at 920 W. 1st Ave., brings a bit of African culture to Spokane.

Adu-Acheampong is originally from Ghana, and he and Rogers often travel there to visit his family. Being in Africa had an influence on why they wanted to open up the store.

“The public markets are very vibrant in Africa and they are so different from the ones here in America,” Rogers said. “There is no African niche here, and I felt like there wasn’t a need being met yet in Spokane.”

The store carries quite a few different items from Africa, such as carvings of statues, wicker baskets, dresses made from African fabrics and even a coffin that is carved as a huge, orange fish.

“We didn’t want our store to just specialize in one thing,” Rogers said. “Our goal was to specialize in merchandise from all over Africa. One day we hope to have African grocery items as well.”

Rogers said they even carry items a college student may need.

“We have had students who play African drums come in and are in need of something to wear for an ethnic gathering before,” Rogers said. “We have smock-type clothes that are made from African fabrics, which are great for those sorts of events.”

One item that the shop keeps heavily in stock is authentic fabrics. On one of the walls in the shop, there are rows and rows of brightly colored fabrics. The fabrics are all purchased from street vendors in Ghana by Adu-Acheampong and Rogers on their yearly trip. Many of the cotton fabrics that are used for sewing and crafting have the Adinkra symbol printed on them.

“Adinkra is a symbol that has a spiritual meaning, which is used in many fabrics,” Adu-Acheampong said.

Different Adinkra symbols have different meanings, but all are spiritual. Some may mean things like unity, feminine power or power of God.

“The Adinkra symbol that represents our store means unity of when different people come together,” Rogers said. “I liked it because it is so tied into African culture. People in Spokane who are from Africa are always stopping to come in and ask about it.”

Rogers said that everybody has their own special place they like to go. For her and her husband, it’s their store.

“I like small intimate stores with a lot of atmosphere,” Rogers said. “We have a lot of African people come in and tell us that this place lifts them up and it is an outlet for them, and I think that is extremely important.”

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