What makes many thousands of people call Silver Spring home?
That’s what I Am Silver Spring is asking some of the city’s most interesting residents—authors, entertainers, athletes and all-around awesome people alike.
This week we profile local business owner Bahia Akerele, raised all over the world, who now calls Silver Spring home. Find out her unique perspective on Silver Spring.
Hometown? Good question! I've lived all over the world - born in Boston to West African Parents, lived in Liberia, Ivory Coast, New York, Senegal, Mauritius, Paris, Vienna, Connecticut and now Silver Spring. My mom worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and my dad was an investment banker, so we were rocking and rolling a lot.
What do you do? I am a mom to Edward IV, wife to Edward III and owner of On the Purple Couch, a consignment store on Bonifant St. We specialize in designer consignment and home interiors. A major part of our store is Chalk Paint™, which is used to transform furniture pieces without any priming or prepping. We have lots of cool furniture and accent vintage pieces for yourself and your home.
What are some of your favorite places in Silver Spring? In the interest of self preservation, I must say Bonifant Street first. Why? Aside from that's where my store is located, you have a group of small businesses that are keeping the "light" on and trying to "represent" for small businesses - the hallmark of the American Dream. Also, the area around Whole Foods, my Forest Glenn Park neighborhood and the Fenton Crepe Café.
What makes Silver Spring unique? The fact that "everyone" is here. It’s like the perfect meeting place - a place where the world meets. I love it here; you are in the mix of things and at the same time you are in the suburbs. Anywhere in the DMV is about 30-40 minutes from Silver Spring. Also, Silver Spring has a strong sense of community.
What are you passionate about? I'm passionate about my family, friends, vulnerable children and families. Naturally I love fashion, home interiors and lifestyles as well. I come from a social welfare background before I opened the store, so my heart is still there. We support charities as part of our model in the store and I still sit on the board of a nonprofit - the Sirleaf Market Women Fund.
Whom do you admire the most? My mother, Olubanke King- Akerele and my godmother Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and my husband, Edward W. Neufville, III. Edward has a law firm located in the World Building in Silver Spring.
If you could change one thing about Silver Spring, what would it be? I wish that people knew that Bonifant Street has some great stores and restaurants that they should check out and not just stay on the other side of town!