Makers Connect, a shop that sells local handmade wares, is on track to open this spring at Northwest Highway near Ferndale, close to The Cake Ball Company.
This promising new business will carry a collection of gifts and goods made by local crafters, artists and designers.
The owners Steve Dickson and Chris Unruh, who are new to the retail business — via their in-the-works Makersconnect.org website — voice excitement about obtaining a certificate of occupancy .
“We do kind of need to take a moment to celebrate,” note the owners. “After all, this has been quite the uphill learning curve for folks who’ve never opened a store before … or created an LLC … or negotiated the world of commercial electricity, brokers, water, carpet, paint, security, insurance … blardy blardy blarg … the list is seemingly endless … we’re pleased and scared as all get out! We know it’s all going to come together and be fabulous, but there is still quite a lot to do before we are there.”
Dickson and Unruh also note that they are accepting applications from potential vendors, so if you are one Lake Highlands’ talented artists — and we know from Advocate’s 2009 and 2012 stories about neighborhood-made gifts that you are among us — visit the site for a vendor application.
“If you are an artist with wonderful quality handcrafts, do please go and fill out our vendor form,” invite the owners via the shop’s the Facebook page.
“We already have about 25 artists signed up, many of them we’ve met at White Rock Local Market, Deep Ellum, and other [markets] and we consider them good friends. We would like to gather another 20-30 artisans who fit the stores’ sensibilities,” Unruh says.
“We are approaching this in an organic way, taking time to try to get our ducks in a row properly,” Unruh adds. “That’s why we’ve not announced an opening date. It may be that we have a soft opening by mid-March but a proper opening party — complete with music, food and drinks, etc. — by April 1.”
Makers Connect also will provide classes in flower arrangement, terrarium and jewelry making and paper crafts, to name a few, Unruh notes.
“I will also be offering a pick-and-pot bar where one can choose a handmade pot, and plants and gravel — we pot while you wait,” she says.
Bigger picture, the whole Northwest Highway-Ferndale/Lake Highlands shopping centers, to the east anyway, are flourishing. To the north we have Tuesday Morning, Ra Ras Closet, Gecko Hardware, Dutch Art Gallery and The Store in Lake Highlands. South of Northwest, in addition to the new Makers Connect, we have Quesa-D-Yas, Cake Ball Company and Lake Highlands Acupuncture, to name a few.
Says Unruh, “we hope to cross-promote with Quesa-D-Ya’s next door, as well as the other businesses in the area. So we can say, ‘go ahead and order a quesadilla or check out George the rooster over at Gecko while we get your pot planted up!'”
Edited 2.24 at 2:30 p.m.