Downtown Cary is losing Gather – a coffee shop, gift store and an entrepreneurial co-working space – in October.
Owner Michelle Smith announced earlier this month that Gather, which opened at 111 W. Chatham St., two years ago, will close its shop Oct. 1 to move to a new location in downtown Raleigh.
Smith started Gather as an outlet for her own artwork and photography, and it eventually grew into the larger co-working space. But management duties and paperwork on the co-working side started taking up too much time, said Smith, who is 34.
“I found an opportunity to simplify,” she said. “There came a time when I had to focus on what I was passionate about.”
Never miss a local story.
Smith will be moving her studio to another area in the midst of revitalization – near the corner of Person and Franklin streets in downtown Raleigh.
Sally Raspberry, a massage therapist and yoga instructor, has been a co-working tenant at Gather, working in one of the back rooms. She has hopes to take over the space but hasn’t finalized plans. She would like to expand her one-room practice to the whole space shortly after Gather closes Oct. 1, she said.
“We’ve got an acupuncturist and a massage therapist already, and I’m hoping to get a chiropractor, too,” Raspberry said.
She specializes in teaching yoga to teens and tweens to help with anxiety, she said.
Gather sells coffee, tea and espresso drinks. Raspberry said she’s looking for a new coffee or tea vendor who wants to join the space, as well as additional massage therapists.
And, she said, the people who have enjoyed seeing local art when strolling past Gather won’t be disappointed.
“We’re still going to display work from local artists in the windows,” Raspberry said.
The store is having a goodbye party Friday, Aug. 28, from 6-9 p.m., which is Gather’s two-year anniversary. There will be a food truck, too. And from then until the last day, the store will have everything on sale, including the furniture.
As for Smith, she said her new Raleigh studio is the very same space that first inspired her to open Gather.
The area has an up-and-coming hipster vibe. It’s already home to the Person Street Bar and Yellow Dog Bread Company, which will be providing some treats for Gather’s Aug. 28 party.
Smith someone else beat her to leasing the Raleigh space two years ago, and she couldn’t secure two other downtown Raleigh locations.
She said she hesitantly turned to downtown Cary after that, but has since come to love the area. Leaving, Smith said, will be “bittersweet, for sure.”
Gather also hosted arts and crafts classes, and those will continue at the new Raleigh digs.
She’ll continue selling her goods online and at the Raleigh store. The new store will serve mainly as her studio and only will be open on Saturdays and during Raleigh’s First Friday celebrations.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran