Local retailer supports homegrown artists and “makers”
Our everyday lives may have changed dramatically but birthdays, weddings and simple gestures of friendship continue to take place every day across our city. If you are searching for a gift that both spreads joy and supports local artists and businesses, look no further than CLT Find.
CLT Find is a retail shop in the Seventh Street Public Market uptown that features goods produced by numerous local artists and “makers.” It is run by Christy Pope and Toni South, who each had their own micro businesses before teaming up to promote other local “makers.”
The idea for the business came when Christy was selling a line of children’s books that she and her brother created at pop-up shops such as Front Porch Sundays in South End. There, she met Toni, selling her natural skin care line.
The two became friends and realized there were so many talented local artists and makers of apparel, jewelry, pottery, home goods and more that faced the same challenges they faced of finding a consistent and impactful way to market and sell their goods.
They asked the question,
what if there was a one-stop shop where you could find a variety of goods from all the different local artists and makers you would see at a neighborhood pop-up shop? CLT Find was born.
Brick and mortar a success
In 2016, the two launched CLT Find on a trial basis in a large space in the Seventh Street Public Market with about 30 artists and makers.
Foot traffic in the market was strong with tourists, convention goers and uptown office workers purchasing everything from high end leather bags and fine jewelry to sweat shirts, candles, car decals and shot glasses made by local people. It was a success and in the beginning of 2020 the store sold goods from more than 90 local artists.
Then, uptown foot traffic ground to a halt. The store shut down from the end of March until August and is now open on a limited basis Thursday through Sunday.
“It’s especially challenging for uptown businesses,” said Pope. “We see other neighborhoods like Noda, Plaza Midwood and South End and they are bustling at times and seem almost back to normal. But uptown is still very quiet.”
Grant money to create online shop
To adapt to the challenges facing their uptown store the two set about building an online shop. Pope said they always had a strong marketing and brand presence on Facebook and Instagram and were constantly alerting followers to new arrivals of jewelry and other goods, but their website had been little more than a landing page and did not facilitate online shopping.
“We relied primarily on the foot traffic at our store,” Pope said. “The city grant money is helping us to build our online presence so we can continue to provide people with access to our goods as conveniently as possible.”
They plan to roll out the new website around the middle of October and in the meantime shoppers can contact CLT Find through Instagram or Facebook to arrange a virtual tour of the store and goods. Purchases are shipped or you can arrange for contactless “porch pickup.”
Pope said their goal is to make online shopping for local goods safe, fast and convenient.
“We want you to turn to us and support local businesses before defaulting to Amazon Prime,” she said. “When you go to CLT Find, your purchasing power stays local and you help artists throughout our community.”
A local retailer that supports local artists. Consider us found!