Kennett Copy & More and KACS stand strong

Nancy Tapia, Leah Reynolds, Julissa Gama, Rhonda Thorpe, Lori Amway.

When you walk into Kennett Copy & More in Kennett Square, there is a good chance you are there to pick up office or art supplies, a copy or print job, or possibly even participate in one of the art classes they offer. Whatever brings you into the store owned and operated by Rhonda Thorpe and Lori Amway, you will be greeted with knowledge, humor, and kindness.

Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) felt that kindness when they entered the store in August of 2021, with a vision of creating a mural for shoppers to feel welcomed when they visited their newly remodeled Food Cupboard. KACS had relaunched a #foodyouchoose program with market style shopping to provide a safer and more customized experience. Without hesitation, Thorpe and Amway provided the paints and brushes to help bring this idea to life. What makes this generosity even more inspiring and humbling act of kindness is that Kennett Copy & More had only been open for weeks after being destroyed.

On May 12th of 2020, Rhonda and Lori received a call that their store was on fire. This news came on the heels of COVID-19, which ended in-store shopping, demos, and workshops. The owners had been managing the pandemic through the printing and copying portion of their business, but there was nothing left to salvage after the damage inflicted by the flames and smoke.

Despite the devastating circumstances, the owners leaned into their outlooks on life and trust in people. “I’ve been around the community for 30 years, and I know how we come together. We are a family that looks out for each other,” shared Thorpe. The owners were flooded with calls and messages; and with the help of their insurance company, family, and customer support, they found the strength to build again.

Leah Reynolds, Executive Director of KACS, and her team are no strangers to the adversity that the pandemic and weather can cause. After pivoting during Covid to safely provide food to neighbors in need outside for over a year, the KACS Resource Center was hit by flooding which rendered the space unusable. Reynolds reflected on the obstacles over the past year and said, “These challenges are what KACS and non-profits are all about. We are living our mission and doing what we are here to do and will continue to serve and give until there is nothing left. It’s not about being superheroes, but meeting people and their needs where they’re at.”

Amway shares the same determined and positive attitude of Reynolds, “I believe everything truly happens for a reason.” It’s apparent when you look around the store that Rhonda and Lori decided the reason this happened was to build back the business bigger and stronger than before. Shelves are stocked with supplies they were able to carefully curate based on the needs of the community, a large classroom is set up for people of all ages to learn from artists in every medium, and the copy center is humming with jobs from wedding invitations to architectural plans.

The logo for Kennett Copy & More is a square around the store’s name, a nod to the Kennett Square community. The owners stayed true to this connection by selecting local contractors for the rebuild of their business. “We try our best to support local businesses and artists in every decision we make,” stated Thorpe. That support can now be seen by all when they enter the Food Cupboard at KACS.

Armed with the supplies donated by Kennett Copy & More, a colorful mural was created by Julissa Gama, a freshman at Kennett High School with future ambition to be an artist. Julissa and her family are participants of KACS and her father Hector is a graduate of KACS “Getting Ahead Program”, and he often is found volunteering at KACS events. The mural is a warm welcome to shoppers at the KACS Food Cupboard. The young artist carefully sketched the word “Welcome” in multiple languages and dialects, and mixed paints to create a colorful display. The effect is a vibrant reminder that KACS is there to welcome and help their neighbors of which there have been over 40,000 visits to the Food Cupboard this year.

Being generous in spirit is a common thread that is woven throughout Kennett Square and the surrounding communities. The past eighteen months have been challenging for all of us, and it is powerful to have reminders of that feeling of connection. As we continue to navigate uncertain times, it’s comforting to know that we can rely on the strength and goodwill of organizations like KACS and Kennett Copy & More.

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment