Our business highlight allows us to tell the story of our business owners, why they love their neighborhood, and how we can support them. This month we are featuring business owners Asmara Sium and Kenn Blagburn of Creative Grounds (1822 North Capitol Street, NW). Asmara and Kenn are parents of two with a noble cause to promote cultural arts and activities for the residents of Bloomingdale.
Tell us a little about your business. When were you founded and why?
Creative Grounds DC was found in 2017. Creative Grounds DC was found to address two major areas; more enriching organized activities for the increasing child population in the Bloomingdale neighborhood and a formal permanent space for galvanizing and promoting unique arts and cultural communities in the District.
Tell us a little about yourself and your life.
In her previous life, Asmara was a nonprofit executive working with immigrants and refugees. Professionally, her greatest honor has been working with underserved children, and immigrant and refugee youth. She has served in various capacities with arts and government organizations. And, she has dabbled in the arts as well. A huge fan of photography, Asmara enjoys photojournalism, architectural and portraiture. What she is most proud of is being the mom of two amazing kiddos, who love art and understand that mommy does not rise until the Bialetti espresso maker begins percolating. Asmara’s maternal grandfather was a coffee cultivator. He lived most of his life in the coffee plantations of his village in Eritrea. And, while Eritrea does not export much coffee, shipments often found their way to DC and on to her mother’s table. And, so it began, her love affair with coffee.
Kenn Blagburn Kenn is a 7th generation Washingtonian. He was raised in the Eastland Gardens and Brookland communities. It was there that he developed his sense of worth, work ethic, and pride. Raised by an art collector/community organizer and educator he was intimately aware of both the beauty and ugliness surrounding them. His upbringing informed his belief that he could change his reality-that life should be aspirational. So he chose to pursue a career in real estate helping first-time home buyers and low-income families purchase homes.
What is unique about your business?
When you live and work in the neighborhood you serve, the community is at the center of your work. We care about our customers, not just because of their patronage but also because they are our neighbors- equally invested in our neighborhood. We’d like to think that every neighbor that becomes a customer feels valued, heard and welcomed. We are especially fond of the growing numbers of children and their parents that have made Creative Grounds DC home.
How can the community support you right now?
Our community can support Creative Grounds DC by purchasing gift cards, ordering delivery, making a shout out via social media, a blog or newsletter, renting the space for small events and/or workshops, or by simply visiting us at our walk up window to order coffee or sweet treats. Also, if you have any particular professional skills or artistic talents, let’s collaborate.
Tell us what you love about the neighborhood you serve?
Bloomingdale is such a unique place in the city. It is home to creatives, families, professionals, award-winning restaurants, mom and pop shops and everything in between. And, everyday we get to welcome old friends and meet new and interesting people.