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Life & Work with Nick Allen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nick Allen. 

Nick, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
We are a family owners’ business that formed our idea around a dinner table. With very little retail experience we launched our shop in 2011 with 5,000 square feet and 12 vendors. In the last 10 years, we’ve grown to 25,000 square feet across three floors, have 75+ vendors, and a restaurant. All of this is to create a unique shopping experience each First Friday Weekend. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Retail ebbs and flows and our neighborhood has done the same. When we opened, we were one of 4 stores in the West Bottoms, within a year there would be 15 and in two years there would be over 25. The surge helped to bring a lot of people and energy to the area, but with some businesses choosing to be cutthroat in an over-saturated market led to some difficult interactions. Fortunately, we weathered those storms and many of those difficult folks have moved on and we’ve been able to solidify our shop as a fixture in the neighborhood. The pandemic also brought plenty of challenges, but we went all hands-on deck and have been able to make the last year really great. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Our shop is owned by 5 family members with diverse backgrounds. I am a photographer by trade, my wife Megan has a long history in business ventures, my dad Tim is a retired engineer, my brother Jacob is a tradesman with years of carpentry experience and now builds furniture, and my sister-in-law Amy is a nurse. 

This unique collection of perspectives, strengths, and passions allow us to approach developing the shop in a unique way. 

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
We fight against stagnation. The quickest way to die in this industry is to become irrelevant and uninteresting. We spend a lot of time thinking through ways to bring new life and energy to our shop so it continues to be on people’s lists of places to visit 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Bella Patina

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