Local business blends community and creativity

Local business blends community and creativity

September 5th, 2012 Rachel Sauls in Local Regional News

O.C. Buckels and Co. owner Lynda Buckels is calling all crafters, croppers, creators and candle makers.

In order to host a grand opening of her department store and craft space on schedule with the rest of the Project Popup stores Sept. 21, she needs some help. She is calling on community members to volunteer their time now to paint, assemble furniture and put up displays in exchange for incentives once the store opens.

O.C. Buckels and Co. owner Lynda Buckels showcases the shop dog and the store's retail space. She will be hosting shop work days up until the store's grand opening, Sept. 21, during which community members can donate their time in exchange for incentives once the store is open.

Photo by Rachel Sauls

"The folks that really pour their heart and soul into helping us, we'll give them free time in the Maker's Space [a segment of the store rented out by people who want to use the space for creating] and throw a party for them when we open," she said. "Ultimately this concept is about being a part of the community, and we know that we've got to start with the community in order to give back to the community."

Buckels describes the store as an innovative department store concept, but she isn't talking about JCPenney or Sears. The store will be divided into specific departments like retail, a tool and supply market, the Maker's Space, a candle station, a sewing station, a laser-cutting station, a screen-printing station and a lounge.

The retail component at the front of the facility will feature wares from local and regional artists including home goods, jewelry, apparel, novelties and hats.

"We are going to have a range from campy to elegant products," said Buckels. "This store is going to be an outlet for independent designers to bring their goods to market. When I grew up we always shopped downtown, so when this opportunity came up I wanted to return to those made in America, finely made products with the store."

In addition to providing customers with unique products, a new outlet for buying craft supplies and a place to make everything from scrapbooks to screen-printed T-shirts, Buckels said she plans on implementing several community outreach programs through the store.

She said she wants to work with at-risk or especially creative high school and middle students by establishing a 12-week mentorship program that pairs them with a creative college student or young adult. Through the mentorship program students would receive an opportunity to be creative and make things while learning from an adult who is invested in helping them grow, she said.

Craft clubs for high school and university students that focus on a specific item are also in the works. The members of the craft clubs will be able to sell their wares in the store and then put their money back into the club for supplies, said Buckels. She said she also wants to provide Maker's Space scholarships for people who can't afford to rent the space but who are ready to take their small business to the next level and will eventually be able to rent out the space on their own.

"We are not going to be a nonprofit, but instead of making a big profit from the store we want to funnel that money back into the community and let this place sustain itself," she said.

For more information or to inquire about a community work day at O.C.Buckels and Co. email info@chattycrafty.com or visit www.facebook.com/O.C.Buckelsco.com.