Merchants, artists promoting ‘Shop Annapolis’

Efforts are underway to make the tiny community of Annapolis a shopping destination.

Over the past several months, business owners have been meeting and discussing ways to bring more people to Annapolis.

Kelly Hughes, owner of The Gallery Van Go Go, said last week a 'Shop Annapolis' Facebook page was created.

“We’re getting a lot of responses,” Hughes said.

He said Shop Annapolis is like an umbrella for the area, which will include the Sunday Farmers’ Market, which begins April 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and runs until October, and Second Saturday art walk. The first art walk is set for May 10 and will run until October.

“Our art walk is really going to be heavy on displays,” said Hughes. “We want it to be family friendly so people can bring their kids down. We want to have a lot of people showing arts and crafts that people can come up and try it themselves.”

He said the art walk will be open to people with any kind of arts or crafts, such as woodworkers and painters.

Hughes said beyond the farmers market and art walk are “everyday businesses.”

“We’re trying to promote Annapolis as an every day of the week destination,” he said.

According to Hughes, Bayside Storage has grown during the years and is a big part of the attraction.

“We’re lucky that the storage building owners has decided to rent out the front units to retail businesses,” he said.

Hughes said about half of the front part of the storage facility is rented out, but expects all of them will be retail stores before the end of the year.

“In one setting you can have about a dozen retail stores ranging from antiques to woodcrafts,” he said. “Part of the charm is that each person has taken an empty box and created a store out of nothing.”

Hughes, whose own store is located in the storage complex, said he tries to reach out to people who want to bring in a new shop.

“When people come in our stores they say they would like to open a shop like this,” said Hughes. “We are trying to find people whose items we think would match the tone of what we are doing.”

He said the storage area allows people to start a store on a budget rather than spending hundreds of dollars in Port Orchard.

“We’re part of a movement where for a much less price, someone can jump in and start their business almost immediately,” said Hughes. “That is the spirit of the thing. One person may look at them as storage units, but a creative person looks at them and says we can take an empty shell and create a retail store here.”

Hughes said he feels the farmers market will allow some people who don’t want to commit to a low-rent storefront to come in once a month to display and sell their arts or crafts.

“It can provide business people a way for people to have a place to sell their goods without investing a lot of money up front,” he said.

Hughes said he wants the stores to appeal to men and women and families.

“We really want to appeal to everyone,” he added.


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