Kensington Community Food Co-Op

A Co-Operative Grocery Store In Philadelphia’s East Kensington Neighborhood

The Kensington Community Food Co-Op (KCFC) worked with Studio 6mm to convert an old bar in the East Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia into the home of their new Grocery Store. The building in which the project will be housed was acquired after years of abandonment that found most of its interiors either destroyed or gutted and sold for scrap by squatters. Despite a checkered past, the design team and ownership team both saw great opportunity in its close proximity to burgeoning neighborhoods and areas in need of healthy, local food options. The desire to bridge both lead to a colorful exterior cladding solution that seeks to use the vibrancy, color, and cultural significance of bodegas along Kensington Avenue as inspiration. To help minimize cost impact for this visually complex solution, the design team relied on the DIY attitude of the Co-Op’s members to engage the community to participate in the execution of the building’s skin. Community members were invited to literally have a hand in the building of the new facility by painting the cladding together before the contractor installed it.

Studio 6mm was engaged in all stages of the process from initial feasibility study through construction. During the construction phase, the firm lent its fabrication shop and talents to the re-purposing of original red oak flooring into new interior wall cladding as well as the fabrication of new lighting elements for the cashier stations. Click through the gallery above for work-in-progress photos as the project heads towards the finish line. The building is currently under construction with a grand opening scheduled for April 2019.

This project has been featured in Philadelphia Magazine (twice), NBC10, Generocity, the Cooperative Grocer Network, Grid Magazine,, and Hidden City Philadelphia.