Gather-d retail store

Gift Shop Plus Summer 2021
Coming Together By Julie McCallum

New space offers opportunity to connect, engage and inspire

Kelly Tuit is a people gatherer by nature and loves to throw parties, so opening a shop and event space was a natural fit for the former art teacher turned business owner in Rockford, Michigan. Aptly named gather-d, the charming store opened its bright red front door in September of 2020.

Gather-d retail store

Opening in the middle of a pandemic was actually a blessing in disguise for Tuit. “It forced us to take it slow and do it well. Since the gathering space was not able to be opened right away, I could focus on the retail portion of the building and get that started first and then we began preparing the gathering space during the quieter winter months,” she explained.

Gather-d retail store

Each part of gather-d is an extension of Tuit. “It’s all carefully curated and hand selected. There are so many little unique rooms within gather-d and they each have their own little flair. I think the best room is the main room with the dining table that guests see when they walk in the front red door. We love to style that space with the unexpected and I love to hear people’s reactions when they see it,” she said.

Gather-d retail store

“I also love what I call the green room because it’s like a small greenhouse with faux plants. And of course it hosts the enormously beautiful hutch that my dad made out of 100 year old barn wood! It’s amazing,” she added.

Gather-d retail store

The new gathering space, a feature of gather-d that was always part of the dream, is a dedicated portion of the shop specifically curated for rentals and classes. From small parties or showers, to business meetings, workshops or maker pop-ups, the opportunities are endless.

Gather-d retail store

In addition to using the rental space for small gatherings, creating art is also on the menu. The create space is an extension of the gather-d experience, a place to come together, explore creativity and learn new skills. Summer classes offered included drawing, painting and sculpture for ages 6 – 14 year olds. “The vision for the create space is to offer quality classes and workshops to kids and adults,” Tuit said.

Gather-d retail store

“It really began with the idea of adding a gallery space to the blank walls in the gathering space. I was being asked if we had art for sale in the store and so I thought this would be a great way to support local artists and provide a variety of art styles without the overhead,” Tuit said.

Gather-d retail store

“To inspire and enjoy each other’s company, there is something beautiful in coming together,” Tuit said.

Julie McCallum

Julie McCallum is editor-in-chief of Gift Shop Magazine. She is formerly the editor of Museums & More and has more than 25 years experience in publishing.

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