Since the reinvention of Fayetteville Street as a main street in metro Raleigh, many business sectors have emerged to profit from the grid as the new home for urban energy. Banks always had the hold on the downtown skyline, but on the ground level, restaurants, coffee shops and bars have helped rebuild the first floors of almost every building between Person and West streets.
On the other end of the business spectrum in downtown is retail. Aside from Father and Son, Hamlin Drugs and CVS, there are few retail shops that remain from the pre-FaySt Mall era. Retail has slowly risen in downtown since the conversion of main street and shops have popped up, mostly locally owned businesses, from Holly Aiken Stitch, Epona and Oak, Amplified Art, Raleigh Denim, Designbox, Moon and Lola, Feelgoodz and most recently Kindred Boutique. Most of these shops are specialty shops that have their own great styles and niche. What downtown has needed for a long time in a gift shop that doesn't corner itself and is open for adaptability for future customers (you know, kinda like Accipter in Cameron Village).
Enter Deco Raleigh, a new gift shop that will be opening its doors later this week on the Southeast corner of Salisbury and Hargett Streets. Owner Pam Blondin has observed a simliar retail reality in downtown over the past few years and decided to take it upon herself to open her first ever retail shop. Blondin moved to Raleigh over 20 years ago and was the Executive Director for Susan G. Komen For the Cure, NC Triangle Affiliate for the past seven years. Helping and building community has been a large part of her personality and it shows with her new venture.
Walking through Deco last week, Blondin opened up boxes of future merchandise and passionately talked about the orgin of each piece. Like the families that the Komen foundation helps each year, Blondin cares about her merchandise like it has a story to tell and is looking for precisely the right home.
From kitchy greeting cards to one-off pieces of ceramic art, Deco will sell merchandise that should reach a large spectrum of shoppers, from kids to adults. We talked a lot of about the character of a gift shop and how Raleigh has a handful of gift shops that do one thing well but less that cover this range. There are few shops in Raleigh that both a parent and child can leave happily purchasing an item. Deco may very well be that shop for Raleigh. The shop will have over 1500 distinct items and over 8000 price tags have already been printed, not yet including local artist work.
The interior will be eclectic, just like the merchandise, with several types of shelving systems, from the minimalist IKEA shelves to a long wooden bar that previously resided in the Raleigh Sandwich Shop. Blondin hopes to have a local feel but larger reach. Local artists to her mean North Carolina, as much as just those in Raleigh, so expect a percentage of the merchandise to reflect the NC aesthetic, from the mountains to the sea.
Blondin is open for suggestions for the shop, its merchandise and admits that Deco is a work in progress. The Salisbury/Hargett corner will give Deco a huge presence in downtown and become one of the many connection points between Fayetteville Street and the Warehouse District, which is slowly filling in and will even more once the Goodnight-owned building across the street is restored and restaurant added at floor level. Expect the windows of Deco to have installation art as well as more merchandise over time. As well, expect of beautiful, vintage-inspired, neon sign to grace the space above the Hargett Street entrance in the coming week.
Deco will be open until 7pm on weekdays to give downtown workers after-work retail options. Deco will be open on Saturdays as well and eventually on Sunday, although they will be closed on Sundays in the beginning (everyone needs one day off, right?).
You can find more info on Deco Raleigh's website and keep up with them at their Facebook page. Deco's Grand Opening, ribbon cutting and sign lighting will be next Friday, November 9th but expect the doors to open Friday morning November 2nd at 11am.
Deco Grand Opening
Date/Time: Fri., Nov. 9 from 5 – 9 p.m.
19 W Hargett St
Raleigh, NC 27601