Gather is a unique business located at 111 West Chatham Street in downtown Cary. Gather is a hybrid space that serves many functions: coworking, gift shop featuring local goods, coffee shop, and classroom and it’s celebrating it’s one year anniversary on Friday August 29th from 5-9pm. The celebration will feature 20% discounts on everything in the shop, and free chair massages by one of their coworker businesses. The Humble Pig food truck will also be there serving BBQ and beer will be provided by the soon-to-be-open Pharmacy Bar & Bottle Shop in downtown Cary.
Passionate about community and revitalization, Michelle Smith, founder of The Rock & Shop Market, has taken her expertise on local makers, design and marketing and applied it to another retail incarnation, Gather, in downtown Cary. As an introverted creative entrepreneur Michelle saw a need for a space for herself and others to work out of that was more organic, less competitive, and felt more like a home away from home than traditional coworking spaces – a place that fostered other entrepreneurs like herself.
The majority of Gather’s coworkers are women: editors, massage therapists, programmers, photographers, and artists. Though the gender mix isn’t intentional, the atmosphere is. “I wanted to create a space that fosters emerging makers and entrepreneurs through many channels, not just a shop featuring their goods, but also a place for them to work and meet and learn that suits their creative personality.
The choice of housing the space in downtown Cary is intentional too, if not unconventional “It was a bit of a risk to place Gather in downtown Cary since my audience has traditionally been in Raleigh and Durham, but I believe strongly in the concept of making the Triangle as a whole more unified. I see a lot of potential in downtown Cary, and I like that it is this sleepy, under-recognized town in the middle of the thriving Triangle.”
The gift shop portion of Gather aims to elevate the concept of shopping locally by featuring high caliber North Carolina products and merchandising them well: think Anthropologie, or West Elm, but with a focus on makers in the Triangle’s own backyard. Durham-made peanut butter, for example, or terrariums, hand-stitched leather wallets and bags, all made in Raleigh, or modern mugs adorned with geometric shapes, are just a few of the products you can find in the store. The shop also has a coffee and tea bar, which serves locally roasted Joe Van Gogh coffee and loose-leaf teas from Raleigh-based Tin Roof Teas.
In addition to coworking and products, the space hosts classes continually. The majority of the instructors are North Carolina makers themselves whose goods are in the shop. Gather finds the instructors and curates the classes in the same mindful way they do of the pieces in the gift shop. The most popular offerings so far have been Hand Lettering, Product Photography and Styling, Marketing Your Business, and Making a Terrarium.
About Michelle Smith
Passionate about promoting emerging artisan entrepreneurs, community and revitalization, Michelle Smith has long promoted the best local and regional makers through her endeavors as The Rock & Shop Market, a 2000+ person annual event held in Durham featuring juried emerging artisan makers alongside bands, DJ’s and food trucks.
A designer herself, Michelle creates surface design patterns for textiles and home wares and also works as a stylist and photographer. Her work has been featured in Real Simple, Southern Living, Design*Sponge, West Elm, Anthropologie and more. She is the owner of Gather. She was the creative director of the short-lived but inspired non-profit retail incubator, Kindred, in downtown Raleigh. For more info visit http://www.michelle-s.com