We were the lucky recipients of a grant that our town received from the state of Massachusetts to open a temporary pop-up shop. It was a grant that the state created to help generate new business after the decline of so many from Covid.
After leaving my job as a graphic designer at an ad agency in Boston, I worked as a freelance designer but the intensity and stress grew. I decided to slide my creative interests into a little business that included more hands-on design work including interior decor consulting, watercolor painting, handpainted wood signs, DIYing, and creating unique gift items.
I had an online store and also sold my art on Etsy, but a brick-and-mortar storefront was definitely something more on the back burner. And I had some big ideas of how and what I wanted the shop to be. I didn’t want a traditional shop with just a bunch of stuff. I wanted something more fluid. A place where people could come and get ideas, be inspired, and even become part of the creative process. There would definitely be stuff. But I envisioned more unique goods, some handmade, local items – or even ones that could be created while you shop – or orders that could be placed for more personalized items. I was ecstatic when I was told I got the grant on June 1. Not all my ideas had – or have been – worked out but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
The first, and smartest, thing I did was ask my niece, who has her own online clothing and accessories boutique (shopbleutral.com), to join me. I figured she would get all the cool kids in and I could get all their moms. Plus just having her and all her fashion sense there would make me appear a lot cooler than I really am. And of course, my sister (my niece’s mother) was in too. She has a great eye for home decor and she creates beautiful custom-made centerpieces and arrangements. She’s super organized and just a great sounding board for ideas.
After submitting a business plan and scrambling to get our sh&% together, we opened our little (900sq.ft.) pop-up shop in our town center. We had less than a week to turn a 30+ year-old barbershop into our sweet, stylish pop-up. It was a lot of work to get it going – and it still is. But It’s been so much fun and the response from the community has been overwhelming. Almost everyone that comes in is so excited to have a “unique place to shop”. I think they get what we’re trying to do and seem as excited as we are. We’re hoping to extend the Dec. 31, 2021 grant expiration date to be a more permanent presence. We’re still working on it, but it looks very promising.
We’ve worked with the community to help create a special place. We’ve had events at the shop such as our recent Sip + Shop, which was a huge success. We’re planning a few more to make holiday shopping a little more fun too. We’ve also teamed up with local non-profits, such as The Ellie Fund, to help raise money and awareness for important causes. Participating in local festivals and offering Special Sale Events have been great ways to connect to the community too. The idea of offering workshops has been discussed and it’s something we would LOVE to do too. Be sure to subscribe to our blog to get updates on all the upcoming events.
So if you’re in the Massachusetts area, be sure to stop in. Maybe you’ll find that unique gift item or home decor piece – or a chic clothing item that you just can’t live without. Or maybe you’ll become part of the creative process and place a custom order.
We’re located at 2A Main Street in Franklin Center. We also have an online shop: Click here to shop online. We’re adding new items all the time so check back for updates. And as I mentioned, we love doing custom orders – reach out to us directly with whatever you need.
Monday & Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: noon-3pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10am-3pm
THANKSGIVING WEEK SHOP HOURS:
Monday, November 22: noon-6pm
Tuesday, November 23: noon-6pm
Wednesday, Nov. 24: noon-6pm
Thursday, Nov. 25 & Friday, Nov. 26: Closed
Saturday, November 27: 10am-3pm
Sunday, November 28: 10am-3pm