The fourth floor at Posie Row & Co., Anita Carroll’s quasi-incubator for small retail operations, will soon have new tenants.
Both Invasion, a shop stocked floor to ceiling with local merchandise focused on science fiction, fantasy, gaming and pop culture, and the Dabber Hashery, purveyors of cannabis product paraphernalia and billing itself as the province’s first artisanal hashery, are moving into their own shops.
“It sort of has the same incubator idea as the Quidi Vidi Plantation in a way — except that it's straight-up retail — with the hopes, much like that space, that people will grow into their own independently operating businesses,” Posie Row manager Jane Manuel says of the four-floor building.
“It's such a positive thing when the business grows to outgrow us.”
Invasion, a collaboration between photographer and artist Kyle Callahan and Jerry Burt, owner of Baddy Vinyl, is moving a couple of blocks to 114 Duckworth St., formerly occupied by Christopher Kearney’s jewelry shop.
At about 800 square feet, the space isn’t considerably bigger than their current home in two rooms on the top floor of the Tobin Building, but therein lies the greatest benefit, according to Callahan.
“We want to be on the street level,” he says, noting he won’t miss the climb over three flights of stairs. “We wouldn't be able to do Mount Pearl or Churchill Square. We wanted to be where tourism was big, along with a lot of local traffic, so downtown was pretty much the only spot we could go for.”
A little extra space, however, will allow the duo to bring in more products from local makers on consignment. They’ll carry hand-crafted and antique-inspired jewelry from Velvet Snow, one-of-a-kind hand-crafted clothing from Midnight Tailors, along with some work from local artists and cosplay makeup, among others.
“We're trying to get a bit more variety and Jerry's always making new stuff and trying to expand his product line,” Callahan explains of his partner, who creates everything from T-shirts to dice bags to teacups adorned with colourful language.
The new Invasion will open on Oct. 4.
At the Dabber Hashery, owner and operator Jon Keefe says he won’t miss the climb either, but leaving Posie Row & Co. is somewhat bittersweet.
“We wouldn’t be here today if they hadn’t taken us in,” says Keefe.
Like Invasion, he says the plan was always to get down to street level after the busy summer season, and they recently came across the perfect spot — a commercial space at 335 Duckworth St., most recently serving as an optometry clinic.
“We have over twice the amount of floor space, so there’ll be lots of new glass coming in, we’re going to be carrying a few new lines of locally made accessories, and there will be a few squish presses set up for people to check out,” Keefe says.
Once recreational cannabis is legalized next month, he also hopes to offer workshops on squishing, which is essentially making rosin extracts from flowered cannabis.
Keefe says they’re busy putting some finishing touches on the exterior and plan to have a soft opening as early as Monday or Tuesday of next week. A proper grand opening, he says, will take place in early October.
As for the spaces both operations are leaving vacant, Manuel says they already have the former Dabber Hashery room and the vacant room next door set aside for local not-for-profit Pawsology’s clothing store called Walk-in Wardrobe.
The organization, founded in 2016, facilitates the bond between psychiatric service dogs and people struggling with mental illness.
Organizer Etsy Vardy could not be reached for comment, but Manuel suggested they’ll sell a “slightly curated selection of stuff.”
“That kind of a model is a little bit of a destination, too, if they're doing high-quality secondhand. When we had Fashion Foraged here on the third-floor last year, people will go out of their way for a good deal on good clothing.”
Plans for Invasion’s former home are a little more fluid. Manuel says one idea being tossed around is creating a working studio space for local makers.
“For one person to keep up the hours we require here can be tough, so we thought if a few makers got together and did shared studio space in the back room with retail in the front, something like that might be sort of what we're going after rather than just the straight-up retail model.”
Regarding the hours, Manuel was happy to report the company has decided to maintain its summer hours — 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. — all the way through the fall and Christmas.
In December, shoppers who venture to the fourth floor will be in for a delicious surprise.
“We've got a fabulous maker of baked things who lives out in Gander and she's going to come every weekend in December and set up on the landing on the fourth floor and sell her fabulous stuff,” Manuel says. “They look to me to be the kind of baked goods that you would climb to the fourth floor without a thought.”