SHEPHERDSTOWN – The Artist’s Confluence & Mercantile opened to the public this year at 119 West German Street on Saturday, November 27 for small businesses.
According to co-owners Todd Cotgreave and Roselyn Sanders Mendez, the space’s prime location in the shopping area of downtown Shepherdstown seemed ideal for their business idea – a gallery and a merchant specializing in art and manufacturing. high quality premises.
“Todd’s and my kids are running around the country together, and we had a chat and decided to open a place together. But it had to be in a community space for it to be successful ”, Mendez said last Saturday afternoon, between her and Cotgreave to handle the rush of Christmas shoppers.
“It is the perfect city for this company”, Cotgreave said. “It’s a very artistic community, and now we have a space for all this art! “
Having long-standing ties with many local artists, selling her metal jewelry at local festivals and auctions, Mendez inevitably knew a number of local artists and artisans whose work she knew would match the atmosphere of his shop and that of Cotgreave. Cotgreave himself had his own figurative Rolodex of talented artists and craftsmen, whom he had met while running the Town Run Tap House & Community Pub. He often had the works of local artists exhibited on the walls of his pub and allowed the pub to become the home of more than one annual festival of craftspeople. Sadly, his pub closed last year, due to lack of incoming funds, resulting from the government-mandated closure in the event of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the new retail space wasn’t rented until two weeks before Small Business Saturday, the co-owners knew they wanted to try and open it in time for Christmas shopping season. The silversmith and photographer immediately began working on the layout of the space to display their own work, as well as that of other local artists and artisans.
“I think we have about 25 people selling with us, of all ages and types of items. A lot of people will start selling with us after the holidays because they were already too overwhelmed with Christmas sales to start working with us when we opened ”, Mendez said, mentioning that the store’s youngest salesperson was an 11-year-old girl, who makes cards.
Other items in the shop included quilted pot holders, knitted hats, bead jewelry, wooden utensils, quilted Christmas stockings, felted artwork, cast beeswax candles, pottery , knives, reproductions of Dan Tokar and paintings.
“The pandemic has been really difficult” Cotgreave said. “After two years of being locked inside, it’s a breath of fresh air to be outside and do stuff. It was a very positive experience to be back.
In the immediate term, Mendez said she plans to capitalize on the building’s layout as the ideal “Community space”, by having artists and artisans organize workshops for those who want to learn more about their craft. Information on the workshop, as well as post-Christmas opening hours, will be posted on the company’s Facebook page.
“I love the meaning of our name! When artists come together, there is this fusion of ideas ”, Mendez said. “It was a general store in the 1800s and early 1900s, so the name pays homage to that, with the word ‘mercantile’ in it.”