Blog Archives

A Boutique MADE for Arizona Artists in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Faith Breisblatt, State Press Magazine]

Piece of Craft: A Boutique MADE for Arizona Artists

If you’ve ever wandered around downtown Phoenix near 5th and Roosevelt Streets, then odds are you know about MADE, a locally owned art boutique featuring some of Arizona’s best artists and crafters. I had the opportunity to interview Cindy Dach, a bookseller, artist, community activist, and co-owner of MADE to uncover the ins and outs of this one-of-a-kind shop.

How did MADE begin?
In 2005, a tenant left the space in terrible condition. We had to put a lot of work into it just to make it useable. We didn’t have the heart to put money back into the space and then rent it out again. By 2005, eye lounge was a successful model and we had also started 515 Arts and the Kitchenette space. There were galleries popping up in our area, but there weren’t spaces for the crafters, small works of art or workshops. I also work at Changing Hands Bookstore, so I have a retail background. We thought this would be a great addition to the Roosevelt Row area.

The outside of MADE in downtown Phoenix. Photo courtesy of madephx.com.

Was the goal of MADE always to sell handmade items by local artists or was there some other beginning goal in mind?

Handmade functional art was always the goal of MADE. We also wanted to do and host crafting and small business workshops. We see MADE as a community gathering space where like-minded people can engage in a conversation. We hope that a walk through MADE will serve as inspiration for someone in need. We were the first business in the area with regular hours, so we instantly became an information center for downtown. At this time, we provide opportunity for over 150 artists to exhibit and sell their wares.

What types of one-of-a-kind items do you sell and what types of artists do you feature?
We feature a lot of jewelry, ceramics, woodwork and highly curated books.  We believe that books stimulate the mind.  Our items have to be well-made. We look to work with artists who are in it for the long haul. We want everything to be visually interesting and functional. We want to be a tipping point for another great idea. What we look for is often a matter of taste mixed with what we know will sell. Being a small space (700 square feet) we have to very mindful of how quickly an item turns and the space allotted for it. We’re always open to new artists and new items.

If an artist wanted to get some of their art featured in MADE what would they need to do?
The best thing to do is send me an email at info@madephx.com with images of the work, price point and information. We take everything in on consignment and pay 50% back to the artist. If the work looks like it’s a good fit for MADE, then we’ll set up a time to meet to see the work in person.

What other community building initiatives, besides selling local art, is MADE involved in (events and things of this nature for the Phoenix area)?
Oh, we go to lots of community meetings and participate in numerous events. Being surrounded by so many dirt lots, we are in constant talks with the city of Phoenix in regards to their development plans. We work very closely with the merchants association of Roosevelt Row, with a focus on marketing our area. We also partner with a lot of non-profits. Since we opened our doors, we host an annual holiday ornament sale. Students of Phoenix Union School District make holiday ornaments and we sell them every year. All the sales go back to the students. Last year, they used their funds to frame their work for another exhibition. Phoenix Union is one of the poorest districts in the country. We were co-sponsors of a great Pie-Social last November and have already started working on Pie Social 2012.  We participate in First and Third Fridays, Art Detour and the PAPA parade.

What do you think is in the future for MADE?
We have multiple projects on the horizon. MADE is currently expanding its book selection. We’ve heard from our downtown community about their need for books.  We’ll feature some great literary fiction books, old and new. We’ll also feature funny books, smart non-fiction and crafting books. We’re continually expanding our workshop series and we’re always looking for new instructors. We’re continuing to find new and evolving ways to engage our community and serve as a gathering place for the numerous and diverse people that are continuing to make downtown Phoenix their home.

Mercantile Brings Vintage Finds, Cutting Edge Styles to Downtown Phoenix

[Source: Carrie Wheeler, New Times Jackalope Ranch]

Shauna Thibault’s new salon/retail space has a new look and a new sign.

The downtown Phoenix shopping scene is getting a little cooler in 2011 with the official opening of Mercantile tonight (Saturday Jan 15, 2011).

Shauna Thibault’s storefront on Central Avenue between Roosevelt and McKinley streets started years ago as a small, sign-free salon and studio space.

Recently, the spot had a bit of a face-lift and added a vintage line, Hailey’s Handmedowns, and some cool furniture from Christoph Kaiser of Workbench. Now it has new name, even more merchandise, and a sign.

mercantile.jpg

​With its transformation nearly complete, the former “speak easy” salon is kicking off its official opening tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. with refreshments from Green and a host of new merchandise: Calendars and stationery from Seesaw, adorable country-ish soy candles from Thelittlecup, cute illustrated pins from Delicious Doodles and jewelry from Lux Revival.

And the selection will continue to expand. “We are getting some new furniture [soon]” explains Thibault about their growing catalog of wares.

The first 50 customers to the event tonight will receive gift bags.

Mercantile is located at 828 N. Central Avenue in Phoenix between Roosevelt and McKinley streets. Visit the store Monday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and every First Friday from noon to 10 p.m. The grand opening party is at the store from 6 to 9 p.m.


A new vintage line in Downtown Phoenix

[Source: Carrie Wheeler, New Times Jackalope Ranch]

Photo credit: Carrie Wheeler

Downtown Phoenix is developing quite a little vintage scene. On December 1st, a new line of  clothing, Hailey’s Hand Me Downs joined the growing list of indie cool finds (First Butter Toast, recently Grow Op) as the newest purveyor of vintage goods.

Hailey Andresen, a recent FIDM grad, is the Hailey behind the name and the curator of the line. “All vintage is at least 20 years old,” she explained. Most current merchandise came from a recent LA trip, where she scoured vintage stores and wholesalers, but she’s always on the lookout for new things and expanding her collections, which she also sells on her online Etsy store under the same name.

Some of the store finds: A cute 1950s sun dress for $36, men’s western shirts which run around $30, a pair of neutral bow loafers for $20, and a tin full of colorful scarves for $5 each.

Sharing a space off Central Avenue with hairstylist/make-up artist/stylist, Shauna Thibault, the two unlikely businesses will join forces, along with other local lines and brands (like letterpress designers, SeeSaw) under one soon-to-be launched name, Mercantile, which will have its grand opening mid-January.

In the meantime, you can still peruse clothes and accessories in the roomy loft space, sit at the giant table and benches (designed by Christoph Kaiser) and enjoy the visually-pleasing vignettes, and schedule a cut and color.

Hailey’s Hand Me Downs is located inside Mercantile (which might or might not have a sign up) at 828 N. Central Avenue in Phoenix between Roosevelt and McKinley. Visit the store Monday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and every First Friday from noon to 10 p.m.

Workbench brings custom designs to CityScape in Downtown Phoenix

Source: Christina O’Haver, Downtown Phoenix Journal]

workbench e1291910145531 Workbench Brings Custom Designs to CityScape Since its recent opening, CityScape has brought many businesses to Downtown Phoenix, and about a month ago, a new independent shop found its home in the mixed-use facility.

Workbench is a store where woodworkers, architects, metalworkers, graphic designers and other local artists collaborate to produce functional art, according to CityScape.

The store sells products ranging from dining room tables and chairs, to wall art and plant arrangements, and will also custom design one-of-a-kind pieces for customers seeking specific products.

Designer and woodworker Lew Gallo, who previously co-owned Haus Modern Living, a local home furnishings and décor boutique that closed in January, is the creator of Workbench.

“He found people that had a like-minded kind of vision for design and just rounded us up; we were all equally motivated, so we just jumped in and did it,” says architect and Phoenix native Christoph Kaiser.

Kaiser, who is the co-owner and co-founder of the Phoenix-based architecture firm Plus Minus Studio along with fellow Workbench contributor Hayes McNeil, said he joined the Workbench team as a way to give his products more exposure, but also because it’s just a great thing to be a part of.

“We’re pulling multiple people together under one roof, and it’s kind of exciting to do that anyway, just as a project,” he explains.

Kaiser mentions that there are few places people in the Valley can go to find handmade furniture, and many of the stores that were similar to Workbench have closed recently. But CityScape was eager to bring in more tenants, and thus made it an attractive place to open the shop.

In addition to Workbench’s unique, handmade and eco-friendly products, Kaiser adds that buying from local retailers is better for the state’s economy.

“These days, there’s just so much mass-produced stuff,” Kaiser continues. “There’s something to be said about having a story behind an object and having something that has a little bit more of the human touch.”

Many of these handmade products are built from reclaimed materials, which Kaiser says are easy to find in the designer community because architects, woodworkers and artists tend to have “piles of junk” in their sheds, workshops and back yards.

“If there’s something out there that can be used in [some] way, then why kill another tree or have something else produced?” Kaiser asks.

Workbench is located at 50 W. Jefferson St. in CityScape. Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Small business hopes to lead the way to downtown Phoenix recovery

[Source: Denise Meridith, Phoenix Business Insight Examiner]

Photo Credit: Phoenix Business Insight Examiner

Phoenicians have had several disappointments related to planned developments, with big chains, such as Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom’s abandoning expansion plans in Arizona. It may actually be up to small businesses to rescue Phoenix’ economy.  One such business—Designer District—celebrated the grand opening of its third Arizona store with a fashion show at CityScape in downtown Phoenix on Friday night, October 1, 2010.

A backdrop at the show said, “Designer District is less about fashion than achieving a strong sense of personal style.”  A sense of style has been missing in downtown Phoenix since drugs, crime, homelessness, gang activity, scandals, and the flight of stores to suburban shopping centers in the 1970’s and 1980’s tarnished the image of the city’s center.  In the 2000’s, the population boom, construction of the baseball park, opening of an ASU campus and plans for new office buildings and condos promised to restore a vibrant downtown. But the real estate crash and recent political controversies threatened to put an end to the hope.

“I wanted to show people that there is a place to shop downtown again,” said Kurt Blaydorn, the founder of Designer District, “to create a destination to give people hope,” when asked why he chose to open a store downtown now.

On Friday night, Blaydorn was not the only one expressing optimism about the new CityScape center and downtown Phoenix.  Jeffrey Evans, a long-time participant in the New York City fashion industry, who narrated the fashion show, moved from New York, then Scottsdale to downtown Phoenix.  He and his wife, Brandi, love the excitement and promise of their new neighborhood.

Joanna deShay, who will have her own Black Russian fashion line on display at thePhoenix Fashion Fair next week, came to the show because she is “excited about what fashion can become in Phoenix…it’s no longer just about tee shirts and jeans.”

Kerry Dunne and Reed Glick will have a hand in making sure this is just the start of fun events downtown.  Their R Entertainment has a full schedule (including a Friday night concert series) planned for downtown.  “It will be amazing,” said Glick.

What will also be amazing is if, in the end, it is not national companies that create the Phoenix Renaissance, but a collaboration of small, dedicated and passionate local businesses.

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Two new retail stores open in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal]

Jim Poulin/The Business Journal

CityScape’s retail scene is slowly coming alive, ramping up for the fall.

In addition to the newly opened CVS, the only drugstore in downtown’s central core, two new stores [were] slated to open on Friday at the retail, office and entertainment complex bounded by First Avenue and First, Washington and Jefferson streets.

West of SoHo and Designer District are expected to open their doors Friday, according to CityScape’s Facebook page.

Other retail tenants to join them this fall include the Lucky Strike bowling alley, Urban Outfitters, restaurants Noodle and LGO Public House, and Oakville Grocery.

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How important is retail to Phoenix’s economic development future?

[Source: Buxton Company] — Retail development is becoming more widely accepted as an economic development strategy for communities.  To gain a better understanding of the programs communities are using for retail economic development, the Fort Worth, TX-based Buxton Company consulting firm would appreciate your completion of this questionnaire.  Survey results will be published in a future issue of Buxton’s e-newsletter and presented through upcoming webcasts during 2009.  Click here to take the survey.

Free webcast on attracting retail to downtowns and neighborhoods, Nov. 6

[Source: Buxton Company— Over the past few decades, many American cities have lost much of the retail density and diversity that made downtowns and older neighborhoods destinations for shoppers.  Retail businesses in downtowns and along commercial corridors in neighborhoods especially suffered from changing retail patterns and shopping habits.  Today many cities are actively involved in downtown and neighborhood revitalization activities.  They envision healthy downtowns and neighborhoods as integral to their identity, tax base, and sense of community.  Strengthening the retail base by attracting new retailers and restaurants has become an accepted strategy for revitalization.

During this comprehensive 60-minute webcast, participants will hear how communities are attracting and growing their retail sectors in underserved geographic areas.

  • Date: Thursday, November 6, 2008
  • Time: 11:30 AM EST / 10:30 AM CST / 8:30 AM PST
  • Format: one hour session, including Q&A

Speakers:

  • Anne Stedler, Senior Development Officer, City of San Jose, CA
  • Chip Rodgers, Senior Vice President, CommunityID, Buxton
  • Bill Shelton, CEcD, Partner, CommunityID, Buxton

Click here to register for this free webcast.  Once registration is complete you will receive an e-mail with detailed instructions to join the webcast.

Small Wonders map pinpoints Phoenix boutiques

Local First Arizona's Small Wonders Brochure

[Source: Dolores Tropiano, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix is bustling with new and unusual boutiques and businesses.  There’s only one problem — finding them.  Now, nearly 70 independently owned stores and restaurants in central Phoenix and the downtown area have banded together to create a map of their cool, hip, and urban businesses.  The fold-up guide, coined “Small Wonders,” has been distributed to 25,000 people, with 50,000 guides still available at any of the local shops, a list of which can be located here.  The map is not necessarily a new concept, but it is a fresh idea for Phoenix. “A lot of big cities have pocket guides of unique businesses,” said Georganne Bryant, owner of Frances, a clothing, gift, and accessories shop highlighted in “Small Wonders.”

The map features photos and location information for all of the shops and restaurants.  There are no service companies advertised.  A lot of the stores are clustered along Seventh Avenue, Seventh Street, or along or near Camelback Road. But the map features shops and restaurants from Buckeye Road to Missouri Avenue.  Many of the shops and restaurants are award-winning Valley favorites and some are new on the scene.  Most are located in funky, old bungalows and buildings.  “This is not mall shopping,” said Bryant, whose shop features letter presses, cards, vintage clothing, and jewelry, and custom journals.  “These are unique places that people want.  They don’t come to Phoenix to go to Applebee’s or a mall.  People want to see what creative, different stores are around.”