Retail incubator set to open in downtown Raleigh

FROM STAFF REPORTSOctober 11, 2012 

Kindred, a nonprofit incubator and retail store for emerging artisans, will hold its grand opening in downtown Raleigh on Saturday, Oct. 27.

The project is the brainchild of Michelle Smith, 33, who founded Durham’s Rock & Shop Market in 2004. That annual market features the products of more than 100 regional artisans and draws thousands of visitors.

Kindred builds off that concept by providing artisans a place to both showcase their products and a place where they can receive tips about how to increase their business.

Kindred expects to feature about 40 local artists at any given time in its 1,500-square-foot space at 131 S. Wilmington St. The space will include 16 specially designed wall units that artists can lease for six or 12 months. There will also be shelf space that can be leased for periods of three to six months. Lease rates range from $50 a month for a small shelf up to $225 for a large wall unit.

Smith, the creative director, will act as the curator for the space, leasing shelves and wall units to artists that offer unique and high-quality products. The store won’t focus on any particular area, and instead will feature clothes, note cards, posters, pillows and other crafts.

“It’s all different types of goods,” Smith said. “In a way it’s like an antique craft mall, but it doesn’t look like one. We want it to feel like a beautiful boutique.”

Artists who lease space will be able to attend a dozen workshops each year at the store that will teach them how to do things such as put together press kits, take product photos and create wholesale catalogs. Smith has partnered with EntreDot, a business mentoring organization, that will link artists with mentors who will meet with them for five hours a month.

Smith said 16 artisans have already leased space on Kindred’s shelves. The store also will feature some consignment goods. The makers of those products won’t receive the same benefits as those who lease space but will be able to attend workshops for a discounted rate. Kindred also expects to host other workshops on site that interested community members will be able to attend.

“We’re really passionate about helping these designers hopefully get into other stores and do their own retail store if that’s their goal,” Smith said.

Big Lots will open its new store in Fuquay-Varina on Friday, Oct. 19. There will be a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. The store is at 630 Lakestone Commons Ave. in The Shoppes at Lakestone Commons. Sweet Cheeks Bakery has opened its retail store at 803 E Williams St. in Apex. Jackie Green started the bakery in 2009 and operated the business out of her home until now. The bakery offer pies, cakes and treats for delivery and pick-up.

Staff writers Amy Rue and David Bracken

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