The fashion district merchants are concerned about the attack in the Center City shopping mall area

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The recent violence in the Fashion District has many store owners on edge, including one business on a mission to keep children out of harm’s way.

Sometimes, hundreds of young people line up at a store in the Fashion District for events and sometimes freebies. However, the owner feels that the violence makes the atmosphere unsafe.

“You all need to chill young bulls. You’re all throwing the way for the future,” he said in an impassioned plea posted on Instagram.

“If you’re cold, we’re willing to do different programs,” says the owner of motivational apparel brand HMBL, which stands for Humble Humble Stay Hungry.

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“Have you seen this HMBL store? Anything they do downtown, they’re coming to me,” Isaiah Thomas said. He has engaged youth near the fashion district where his store is located and delivered his message to his followers over Labor Day weekend after the shooting.

“Gun violence and negativity, that’s not good. I want them to know it’s here more,” he said. Thomas spoke with FOX 29’s Shawnette Wilson after he arrived Tuesday after an 18-year-old left the mall and opened fire inside.

“I try to let kids know, we all come from the same situation. When I was 14 years old I was locked up on a gun charge and I was able to overcome obstacles and situations,” Thomas explained. However, he is concerned that the brand and its success story, which conveys a positive message of non-violence, will not survive violence in the Fashion District.

“It has a negative effect on what the kids do, because we have a lot of other young people, because if they do something negative, it should be seen as me, even if I try to do something positive in the city,” Thomas added. With over 58,000 followers, Thomas has rock star status with his brand and influence on kids.

“Many parents feel safe bringing their children to HMBL. Many parents believe in my message to the children,” he said. Thomas started a candy business in high school, selling water outside an art museum, then moved into merchandise. He sold the brand out of the trunk of a car and opened four stores.

“I want to be here in the city of Philadelphia, because it inspires kids and things like that, but if it’s not safe, we don’t know where we’re going to go,” he said. Thomas said he is meeting with Fashion District officials this week to discuss concerns and possible solutions.



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