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The Madison-USA team had the opportunity to catch up with Kareem Jackson, one of the pioneers of the fashion community in the Short North Arts District.

We talked about him opening up his boutique, Milk Bar, the early stages of that process and how he helped bring culture to Columbus.

A little about your background?

My name's Kareem Jackson. I owned a shop in the Short North called Milk Bar for 7 years. Most people consider it a cultural hang out because it was a place everything went down, like all the kids hung out & shopped. There are events, whether you bring different types of cultures together from the hip hop to electronic kids to the fashion kids to anybody, the skateboarders that were just the center of the Short North for a while. It was a good stop.

We had cool clothes like APC, we had a Warby Parker popup, but more people remember the shop that was the hang around, the hang out, the place you got to go to to figure out whats king on in the city. Thats how most people remember the shop, it wasn't just a clothing store.... like a hub or a sanctuary for all the kids that wanted to hang out and be into fashion. It was a cool spot. It was a good time.

Why did you create the space?

Actually I created it because I wanted to shop. I wanted to find a store that had the clothes I wanted and didn't fell like there were a lot of stores that had the clothes I wanted so I opened up a store. Wasn't really my original plan to stay in Columbus. I was going to move back home to DC, but I opened a store so I was like, "Well, I guess I'm stuck now." But I like it. It was a good time, good experience.


 What are your feelings on Columbus' growth and direction as well?

 Columbus is growing way too fast, but in a good way. Short North, you can just walk down the street and see new buildings every week and new businesses. Every  neighborhood, even downtown used to be  dead zone, you started to see bars and restaurants pop up. It's just good that the city's changing economically. So, I mean that's a lot of potential for new businesses, new residents maybe from out of the state, out of the country. More jobs. So I like it a lot, it's good to see potential in the city.

 How do you feel about Madison being a part of that growth?

Madison's cool, I like it, it reminds me of the good old days. I feel like there was a gap missing for a while of cool shops or places to kick it or people doing something great. They even had a culture talk in there a couple of weeks ago. I like when people still involved in the community somehow and still bring things you're not going to be able to find anywhere, especially anywhere in Columbus. It's a good thing, something new always needed to bring a new vibe, a new lifeline to the culture in the city. The culture, I'm too old to be saying that.


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