Under one roof
11/21/2016 01:19PM ● Published by Richard Gaw
When Tara Dugan first conceived the idea of worKS, the new retail destination store that opened this past weekend in Kennett Square, she envisioned a shared space filled with work from the area's most well respected artists, showcased side-by-side with displays from some of the most eclectic retailers in the Brandywine Valley and beyond.
In short, worKS, located in a former gas station on South Walnut Street, is a 3,000 square-foot farmer's market for the senses – a potpourri of sights, textures, ideas and style. The store features a constantly-changing display of artwork, clothing, antique furniture, photography, handbags and accessories, by more than one dozen vendors.
WorKS showcases the work of Chadds Ford photographer Alessandra Manzotti; Chairloom, a custom upholstery and furniture shop based in Ardmore; Conversion, a Philadelphia-based furniture store; Pyknic, a Downingtown clothing company; leather and linen handbags by Arden + James in Chadds Ford; inventory by Devon vintage furniture store Eastcote Lane; items from Malena's Vintage Boutique in West Chester; Zoet Bathlatier, an apothecary and candle store in Malvern; domestic ceramic work by Pam Lau of Lincoln University; curated cards by Merely Mere of Kennett Square; sculpture and functional art by Vinewoods Forge in Unionville; jewelry by Ohio-based Jabberwocky & The Boys; antiques from the American Collector in Philadelphia; inventory from Scout & Annie; vintage barware from +Details; and vintage menswear from Charlie Dog.
“The idea of worKS didn't arrive at a particular moment or as a thunderclap, but through the realization of knowing that there is an abundance of talent here,” said Dugan, who has owned Scout & Annie on State Street since 2011. “It was really just the wish to bring them all to one place, to a forward-thinking town that embraces creativity and change. Essentially, here was a body of talent, and a community that was waiting for it.”
Dugan approached each vendor with an invitation to join the concept of a retail location.
This is a group of experts – seasoned professionals – and most already have brick and mortar stores in other areas,” she said. “They have different talents and skills, and they get to experience each others' inventory.”
The retail space resembles a modern industrial workspace. Brands that align with worKSaesthetic can rent sections of the store to sell their products. Much like a micro department store, the artisans are not required to be on site at worKS, which frees up their time to design and create new work and inventory.
The converted gas station also forms another link of new business in Kennett Square that comes from a re-purposed facility. Just a block away, the popular Creamery on Birch Street was carved into the remains of a 1903 milk factory.
For Manzotti, whose photos are also on display at Philter, worKS serves as a “back office” gallery that she can use to direct those interested in her photography to.
“Its a destination location, a great opportunity for local artists and artisans, and it's appealing in that we don't need to be there all the time,” she said. “I am grateful to Tara for believing in local artists and businesses enough to renovate an old garage into a funky, industrial space. I'm piggy-backing on those other artisans who draw people who are looking at things like antiques and metal works.”
“At the core of this concept is collaboration,” Dugan said. “There is a tremendous synergy that exists with people who are passionate, and bringing that power and creativity together at worKS creates a wonderful vibe.”
worKS is located on 432 South Walnut Street, Kennett Square, Pa. 19348, and is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. worKS will also be open on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., until Christmas. To learn more about worKS, visit www.workskennettsquare.com, the worKS Kennett Square Facebook page, on Instagram at @worKSkennettsquare, or call 484-732-8586.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.