VOL. 129 | NO. 99 | Wednesday, May 21, 2014
20twelve Brings Style to Broad
By Andy Meek
There’s an energy in the Broad Avenue Arts District that Chantal Johnson insists “you just can’t bottle.”
The area, in other words, is bursting with enthusiasm from stakeholders such that it’s fast becoming a commercial and civic focal point in the city. So, in at least one sense, the location of Johnson’s new lifestyle store 20twelve, which is opening soon, was probably foreordained.
Launching the business itself developed somewhat by happenstance, while the Broad Avenue neighborhood asserted itself and captured Johnson’s imagination as the future home for her new venture.
“The energy right now on Broad, you see such a sense of pride, you see so much going on, and people are putting their heart and soul into this area,” Johnson said. “Everyone’s excited about their piece of property, you can just see it.”
They’re all also pumped up about the possibilities of working in a burgeoning commercial area. Donny Granger, owner of Creation Studios on Broad, spoke recently about his philosophy behind his own move to the area years ago.
His photography studio and gallery previously operated in Bartlett, and he recalled how at one point, his wife sent him to Broad and told him it would be nice to have a studio there.
“I love the idea of being part of a cool art community, supporting that, and being part of the heart of Memphis in Broad,” he said.
Johnson, who also does interior design, pointed to a client who she was buying lots of furniture for by way of explaining the origins of her business. There was a need for storage area, and Johnson saw the building at 2531 Broad was for sale.
“We said, ‘Why don’t we turn this into a retail space?’” she recalled. “My lifelong dream has been to have a retail shop, either furniture and gifts or clothes, so why not do both?”
The name of the business harkens to the moment she settled on the idea. Specifically, it reflects the year she came up with the idea.
20twelve, Johnson says, will carry home accessories and gifts, women’s accessories and more. She and her husband, Jeff, are shooting for a mid-June opening for 20twelve, which has 3,500 square feet of showroom space.
Next door to the business is the Five in One Social Club, a combination teaching facility for artists and a retail shop. Also nearby, on the other side of 20twelve, is Bounty, a restaurant that bills itself as Broad Avenue’s first farm-to-table restaurant, featuring a market and butcher shop.
At 20twelve, Johnson said prices will range from around $75 on up to more expensive items, giving shoppers a wide price range in the hope they’ll find something they like that fits their budget.
The inventory will be “elegant and tasteful, and things I would wear,” she said of the “modern-style” lines she’ll carry.
One reason she preferred to put her business into a standalone space has to do with the changing retail landscape and the way shoppers’ behaviors also have changed.
“I don’t think people are going into the mall anymore,” she said. “They want to drive straight up and run in and grab something.”