Solo Business Stories: Think you can’t open a store in ten days and be successful? Read the Growing’s story.

Itinerant Artists Shop in the Lincoln City Outlet Mall.

Itinerant Artists Shop in the Lincoln City Outlet Mall.

Think you are too old too old and have no experience to open a store and be successful?  At 82 years of age, Lyle and Arlene Growing are proof that it can be done.

Name of Business:  The Itinerant Artist.  Located in the Lincoln City, Oregon Outlet Mall.

How long in business?  Since November 2016.  Started out has a Pop Up Shop, now permanent.

Arlene and Lyle’s story of re-creation, re-imagining:  Arlene and Lyle had previously been involved with an artists’ coop.  They decided they wanted to do this on their own.

They approached the owner of the Outlet Mall in Lincoln City, got their license set up, and opened two days before Thanksgiving 2016.

What they did in the past:  Arlene worked for the state as a nurse.  Lyle has been working in printing since he was 13.  They had both been doing craft fairs for non-profits for some time.

I understand you opened your store in 10 days.  How did you do that?  You should have asked what we did NOT do for 10 days!

We went to Salem for Secretary of State office and registered a new business – The Itinerant Artists (Marketplace).  We found a partner to help us in this project .

Also had to check in with the City of Lincoln City for a city permit to operate a business and pay them a fee.

Had to open a new business bank account in a local bank.

Spent a great deal of time online researching Pop-Up type stores and how they operate.

Asked around town for rental locations in vacant storefronts or similar venues (found exactly zero willing to talk about short term rentals).

We might just as well ask at the Outlet Mall, since all else was failing. The manager gave us the number to call in Minnesota. Talked to Mark (the leasing agent) who was very responsive to the concept of this type of store for this mall.

They had been talking about this very thing at the home office, as well as at the local level.  We met with a very positive response, so, let’s give it a go.

We got tired of repeatedly filling out applications (and getting the occasional turn-down), arrange lodging in remote locations, and logistics.

What is working now?  Finding the artists was the easiest part. We have been showing at various Arts and Craft Shows around the Northwest for nearly 20 years. We have accumulated an extensive library of artists and crafters in virtually every type of demonstrable art and craft medium. Just had to ask, they responded. Most are tired of the weekly set-up and tear-down required of Saturday and Sunday markets or two day events that require stayovers.

We are novices at retail and just thought we could wing it. Our partner is quite proficient with finances and we three participate and confer regularly.

Another factor of our success is that we regularly rearrange the store so that it appears new and more exciting each and every visit. Mall Management tells us that we are bringing the locals back to the Mall, as well as their friends and relatives.

Visit Itinerant Artists Facebook Page here.

Take a class from Jackie!  Check events to see what is being offered.