After sitting vacant for about two years, the former doctor’s office on the corner of Passyunk and Dickinson is finally starting to see some work. New windows were installed in the last couple weeks and the interior is being fitted out with drywall as we speak, er, write.
The shop will be called Volta Market, which will sell its own line of handmade organic soaps (Volta Organics) that you may have seen at several independent gift shops, craft stores or salons around town. Owner Lisa Volta said the store will also stock several other natural home goods like laundry detergent, products for natural health, some natural groceries like chocolate, jarred goods, spreads and olive oil, and even eco-friendly paper goods.
“It’s like a convenience store idea with a natural-living philosophy,” said Volta, who launched her bath products company about four years ago with her husband, Adli Zallum.
Volta said she studied herbal medicine and fine art and “just fell in love with the preparation side of creating herbal goodness.” She plans to hold workshops for people interested in making their own soaps and will stock ingredients to make it happen, like virgin coconut oil, raw sugar and herbs.
Volta lives in Northern Liberties but picked the avenue because she’d been selling products in the neighborhood for years, including at Nice Things Handmade. “We have a great relationship with Elissa [Kara],” Volta said. “And we’re down there quite often. It’s kind of like we’ve been living down there.”
You may remember the last soap store that tried to open on the avenue, called Soap, which had two iterations in a matter of a few months in 2012 before closing in what they said was a landlord dispute. That building, at 1742 E. Passyunk Ave., had been a cigar shop, then a used record store, then Enki new-age gallery, then Soap, then Soap with a new sign, and finally Soulistic herbal remedy shop for about a year. It was sold in the fall and is currently being renovated. Don’t know for what, yet.
But back to Volta Market. Volta said she first checked out this location on the avenue two years ago but got spooked when she saw that Soap had opened. Lo and behold, the corner was still available and now, she’s shooting for opening in March.