Ridgewood coffee shop gives a helping hand to local artists

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata


It is not easy for local artists to get their names heard but Norma’s, a coffee shop in Ridgewood, is doing everything they can to help.

Denise Plowman and Crystal Williams started their “support local art” initiative in their coffee shop after they opened on Catalpa Avenue two years ago.

They allow the artists to promote their work, free of charge, and then give the proceeds from the sales to the artists—without taking a cut.

“It was our dream to open up Norma’s,” Plowman said. “This gives us an opportunity to help other locals’ dreams come true.”

The shop’s walls and furniture is filled with all types of creative works, ranging from jewelry, books, greeting cards and paintings to handcrafted pins and miniature aprons.

Currently, the store holds the work of about 12 different locals. Sarah Feldman, the first designer showcased in Norma’s, said the store helped to rejuvenate her jewelry business.

“I stopped making jewelry for a while but decided to set up some of my work in Norma’s when [Plowman and Williams] asked me to,” said Feldman, who now operates the jewelry website princepeacock.com. “It got me so motivated once I heard my stuff was selling. It’s a great feeling to have people come up to you in the neighborhood and say, ‘Wow, you’re the jewelry girl!’”

Plowman said more and more artists have asked to display their work just from hearing about her store’s campaign through word of mouth. She said the art has been flying off the walls and that she always gets comments about how great the pieces are.

“There’s a lot of creative people in this neighborhood but not a lot of exposure for them,” Plowman said. “I think it’s important to do this to help them grow.”