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Community president defies heat, creates pop-up boutique for neighbors

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Geneva Brown, president of the Cooper Green Residents Council, collected clothes, organized them, and withstood 100-degree heat to operate a two-day pop-up boutique. Brown coordinated the free clothing giveaway for her neighbors. (Provided photos)

By Joseph D. Bryant

Housing Authority of the Birmingham District

Geneva Brown, president of the Cooper Green Residents Council, collected clothes, organized them, and withstood 100-degree heat to operate a two-day pop-up boutique. Brown coordinated the free clothing giveaway for her neighbors. (Provided photos)
Geneva Brown, president of the Cooper Green Residents Council, collected clothes, organized them, and withstood 100-degree heat to operate a two-day pop-up boutique. Brown coordinated the free clothing giveaway for her neighbors. (Provided photos)

A burgundy sports coat, covered with images of stylized elephants, stood out among the slacks and blouses hanging on display in the green tent.

Carefully organized pairs of shoes – from infant to adult – sat on tables and a display rack.

Geneva Brown created the pop-up boutique featuring clothes for men, women and children in a corner of the Cooper Green Homes recreation center parking lot in southwest Birmingham.

“This was my passion, to come out here,” Brown said. “Some people thought we were selling these things. We’ve had to let them know that we’re giving it away.”

For two days Thursday and Friday, the president of the Cooper Green Residents Council coordinated the free clothing giveaway to her neighbors.

Brown said residents came out and shopped “for both today and tomorrow” as they collected both summer clothes and winter attire. Some of the clothes still had tags on them.

“These clothes might be older clothes, but they are classic clothes,” she explained.

“I got a great response,” Brown said. “We had people walking up the hill with bags on their backs, and we’ve had people tell their friends.”

The nearly three-digit temperatures around her and the baking asphalt didn’t seem to phase the shop caretaker as Brown waved and greeted each person walking by.

“This was something that God had me to do and he gave me the strength to go on, in spite of the heat,” she said.

Brown sprung to her feet as soon as someone walked by.

“We’ve got some water here, some Powerade and some cinnamon rolls,” she offered.