Managers of a Surprise strip mall are hoping to bank on an out-of-the-box business model where local entrepreneurs and retail merchants can gather in close quarters to sell their goods.
Barnaby Street Shoppes, an indoor street fair meets boutique-style shopping complete with cobblestone floor walkways and overhead party lights, is at the Bell Mar Plaza, 114th Avenue and Bell Road.
The shop offers retailers small 8-foot by 10-foot booth spaces, giving customers a chance to view and purchase a number of handcrafted, custom-made items under one roof.
Retailers, who had once run home businesses or sold their goods and services at various farmers markets, have leased booths on Barnaby Street, which offers low prices on everything from handmade garments and necklaces to fancy soaps, etched glass and purses.
The boutique retailers call it a far cry from a swap meet, where, they say, the clientele is typically not as sophisticated and as willing to appreciate and buy their offerings compared to customers who have frequented Barnaby Street, said Reisa Schoettlin.
Schoettlin and her husband, Red, head R&R Craft Creations Bottle Cap Productions, where they sell custom-made bottle cap charms with any design imaginable, from sports team logos and cartoon characters to religious symbols and personalized photos. The couple also sells necklaces and garments, and has gotten a good response from customers.
“People are willing to buy something of quality design,” Reisa said. “We’re happy here and plan to stay.”
Cris Kimball-Ellis jumped at the opportunity to showcase her distinctive and flavorful jelly spreads to the public. Kimball-Ellis sampled a habanero chili jelly on a cracker Thursday morning, offering passersby a unique treat and a chance to buy a jar for the holiday season.
“People appreciate the need for something like this,” she said of what Barnaby Street Shoppes offers the public. “We have to think a little bit differently how to reach and appease customers, but it’s something that people seem to enjoy.”
Barnaby Street Shoppes has 17 tenants operating out of its quaint booth spaces, with availability to offer room to 28 businesses for a chance to sell their goods to the public, said Gary Arnold, manager of Esterra Development, which manages the Bell Mar Plaza.
Bell Mar management has teamed with local small-business owners in an effort to provide them discounted rent for their goods and services that would not normally be available.
In battling tough economic times, Arnold said many small businesses cannot afford to lease space in a typical storefront location. Bell Mar Plaza wanted to provide a venue in which local small businesses could set up individual booths and conduct business on a shared cost basis.
“It’s an opportunity for nearby residents to shop local and support the local economy at the same time,” Arnold said. “Many of the retailers live within a five- to seven-mile radius.”
Barnaby Street Shoppes is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. For a complete list of merchants, visit www.bellmarshops.com/barnabystreet.php.
Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.