SOMA Spotlight: One-of-a-Kind Crafter Kari Capone

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Village Green presents a series called Spotlight, which gives you a chance to get to know your neighbors better. We ask questions. Our Spotlight personality does the rest.

We continue Spotlight with a Holiday edition profile of Kari Capone, maker and seller of one-of-a-king hand knit and upcycled sweaters and former owner of Kari’s Cafe at Springfield Avenue and Prospect Street.

Kari Capone, wearing the Black Cashmere Cardigan available at


Kari Capone

How long have you been part of the SOMA community? What brought you to South Orange-Maplewood?

Moved to Seton Village neighborhood of South Orange in 2004. Maplewood resident 2006-present (Springfield Ave. 2006-2018, Valley Street near the high school to date). Moved here because I knew the school district would be great for my son, Andrew Kaefer, now a senior at CHS (sniffle!).

SOMA or MapSO? Neither? 

I use the term “SOMa”.

What do you do? (And how can we buy what you do for the Holidays?) 

I sell one-of-a-kind hand knit and upcycled sweaters! They can be found at the General Store Cooperative and at

Brianna Kelley, wearing the Red and Tan Peekaboo Sweater.

What are you doing to shop local for the holidays?

I’m going to spend the majority of my holiday gift budget at the General Store Cooperative! One-stop shopping for local merchants.

What’s your favorite coffee shop/bakery in SOMA?

This ought to shock no one — The Able Baker is my happy place. With the time I’ve saved by NOT sitting there eating her scones during the pandemic, I started my sweater business. (Also, I first met Julie when she baked in the kitchen at Kari’s Cafe, way back in 2010-2011.)

What’s your favorite place to shop in SOMA?

My favorite place to shop in SOMa is Maplewood Mercantile. When I have the means I shall furnish my entire home with Amy’s guidance.

What’s your favorite local holiday tradition?

My favorite local holiday tradition is seeing the greenery on the lampposts and the planters. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s a luxury. I feel grateful to live in a town that can afford it.

What’s your wish for SOMA/MapSO for 2021?

My wish for SOMa in 2021 is that 1% of our white community (500 people?) start the inner work of uprooting systemic racism. We have a bumper crop of initiatives started in 2020 to choose from; an incredible wealth of resources that I doubt other suburbs enjoy.

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