VOL. 114 | NO. 238 | Tuesday, December 12, 2000
Creative shops open in Overton Square
Unique shops find home in the Square
By SUE PEASE
The Daily News
Two businesses catering to those with a creative flair have set up shop in Overton Square further taking advantage of the areas lean toward artsy ventures.
Su Casa Imports opened recently at 2113 Madison Ave. and the Midtown Artist Market returns to Overton Square in the Palm Court building for the eighth Annual Midtown Artist Holiday Market.
The businesses are a good fit for that market, said Kathy Smith, Overton Square marketing director.
"I think Midtown in general has the reputation of being an artsy type of area, and I think Overton Square has been a part of that. It made the artist market a natural fit. As far as retailers go, we want to offer a diverse category of shops, but most of all we want them to be unique and original. Not your average mall shops," Smith said.
Su Casa, which means "your home" in Spanish, carries handcrafted furniture, wrought iron pieces, pottery and decorative accessories.
"Anything you can imagine that can be made by hand," owner Brett Ragghianti said.
Ragghianti sells direct out of his warehouse in the Nonconnah Corporate Center and opened the 1,400-square-foot Madison Avenue shop as an extra showroom. It was previously located in Oak Court Mall.
Su Casa also has a shop in Cordova at 1791 Germantown Parkway at Dexter Road.
The merchandise is one of a kind, Ragghianti said.
"I go down and actively seek out the small guys with families who are chiseling a piece of rock in their back yard or beating on a piece of metal with a hammer and living day by day and making beautiful stuff," he said.
He also said prices are deeply discounted, because he travels to Mexico, purchases items and brings them directly to the warehouse.
"Prices are low even though its a quality product, because there is absolutely no bureaucracy. Its just me, a group of guys and a truck. Its as direct as you can get without going down there yourself," Ragghianti said.
He likes the idea of a shop in Overton Square because of the atmosphere in the area, he said.
"We are a different concept and Overton Square is ready for change. They are always searching for something exciting, new and different."
The Midtown Artist Holiday Market will be open until Dec. 23, just west of TGI Fridays.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
About 30 local artists sell original works and items including mixed media, pottery, jewelry, photography and clothing.
Salvador Kalki Winter is organizing this years event in the 3,600-square-foot space.
Winter is a sculptor and has exhibited at the event for four years.
"We really try to honor diversity in merchandise out of fairness to artists and in an attempt to create an inviting and interesting market," Winter said.
In an effort to promote local artists, Ann and J.P. Guerin, started the market in 1993 in a vacant lot next to Burkes Book Store on Poplar Avenue.
It has grown since, and Overton Square is a good place for their show, Guerin said.
"We have benefited from the resurgence in Midtown. Now, its hard to find space down there, so we are lucky when the Square can fit us back in," Guerin said.
Su Casa is the fifth business to open in Overton Square this year. Studio on the Square, Passions, Boscos Squared and Nomadic Notions began to call Overton Square home in 2000. Nomadic Notions also relocated from Oak Court Mall.