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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Hawk Spotlight: Trunc

The Hawk News
Dorothea Gamble poses at her gift shop, Trunc, located in the heart of Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. PHOTO: MADELINE WILLIAMS ’26/THE HAWK

Back in 1974, Dorothea Gamble dreamed of one day opening her very own boutique. In 2018, that dream became a reality alongside her business partner, Dagmar Mitchell.

Gamble spent most of her early career from 1974 to 2018, managing other businesses, but she felt her calling was opening a boutique or restaurant of her own. But after working in the restaurant business for about four years, she knew a boutique was the right direction to go.

Trunc is a gift shop located at 929 N. 2nd St. in Philadelphia. Co-owner Mitchell came up with the name to signify how a trunk is rooted in the earth. The tagline under the logo, “rooted in the cycle of life,” pairs with the tree trunk and shows that the shop serves as a lifestyle store. The “c” in Trunc represents the store’s uniqueness.

Gamble and Mitchell founded the store as a way to provide a platform for artisans of diverse backgrounds to sell their products and have the opportunity to make a living doing the work they love.

“We really concentrate on new designers and artists and makers, too, and mostly women,” Gamble said. “Ninety percent of our makers are women that we really want to help make a living for themselves. So we combine art, fashion and gifts because that’s pretty much my background.”

As a Black businesswoman, Gamble has experienced firsthand the hardships that come with trying to start up a business. The primary goal behind the creation of Trunc was to have a place where women feel welcomed and have a voice to show their work.

“My entire career being an African American woman made it very difficult in retail, and just being a woman in general made it very difficult in retail,” Gamble said. “So, to me, when I see lots and lots of women coming in here, and I meet lots of women with the same struggles, regardless of their background and culture, it just seems to me that something needs to be done.”

The store not only serves as a platform for artisans but also ensures that the artists are getting directly paid for their work.

“We pay the makers when the purchase is made. So we use their Venmo, and whoever purchases from them pays them directly,” Gamble said. “That helps them develop an income and continue their career if that’s exactly what they want to do, or if nothing else make extra money that is actually theirs.”

Not only does the shop focus on inclusivity and giving back to those in the community, it also practices sustainability.

“We recycle all the boxes that we get,” Gamble said. “They get delivered to us, and we use those as gift boxes. We also try to concentrate on upcycle products.”

With over 30 years of retail management experience, Gamble advises any person of color who is trying to jump-start their own business to never give up.

“For any person of color that is trying to be successful in any type of business, regardless of the roadblocks, just keep moving forward,” Gamble said. “Just keep moving forward if it’s actually your passion, and always pick the thing that you want to do.”

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Hannah Madeya
Hannah Madeya, Features Editor
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