Vacant bank building in Station North becomes Made in Baltimore holiday pop-up shop

The streets of Baltimore’s Station North neighborhood usually serve as retail space for jewelry artist Corina Amato and her daughter, Regina Conyers-Beach. They find spots to display the crystal and gemstone pendants they make in their homes or look to sell at farmers markets or festivals.

But for the next month, the mother-daughter operators of Power Shower Jewelry will have their items displayed in a holiday “pop-up” store that opened Friday in a vacant bank building at North Avenue and Charles Street in Station North.

Made in Baltimore, a program of the city’s Office of Sustainability that aims to boost awareness and market share for businesses making products in the city, launched the holiday store for the third year in a row. It’s been held previously in other locations.

“We’re just at home, making art, and hoping that it works, and it is working,” said Conyers-Beach, a Station North resident with a studio in her house. “This neighborhood is super, and they’re really good about supporting local artisans, people at home just trying to make their little art dreams happen. … It’s good to have the exposure in a place like this.”

Plus, the pop-up offers a place to meet people and network, Amato said.

“We can’t afford stores, and we have to schedule gigs,” she said.

The Made in Baltimore shop is giving new life, at least temporarily , to the former bank building at 1901 N. Charles St., which has been vacant for some 30 years in a prominent intersection as the neighborhood around it has evolved into a hub for local artists. New restaurants, galleries and shops have opened over the years, many around the Charles Theatre, and in April renovations were completed at the 102-year-old Parkway Theater, which reopened as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway.

On Saturday, a steady stream of shoppers came through the former bank’s doors, with many people buying products from more than 60 local businesses that make T-shirts, furniture, wall art, candles, ceramic bowls, pillows, lamps and dozens of other items.

“It all looks interesting,” said Barbara Dyskant, an Olean, N.Y., resident, who stopped in while visiting Baltimore with her son and daughter-in-law, who live in Washington.

Dyskant said she tries to support local businesses and artisans wherever she travels. At home, she belongs to an informal network that supports the buy-local movement.

“I like to support locally made items, locally run stores, even if the price may be little higher,” she said. “It means the people who are involved can afford to live in your community. If you want your neighbors to still be your neighbors, we need to support them. Also, it means that you’ll have a uniqueness around each place.”

The pop-up shop, in space being donated by its owner, is being managed by Sew Lab USA, a business that runs an industrial sewing training program in conjunction with Made in Baltimore, said Cecilia Grimm, a Sew Lab owner.

Sew Lab has hired a staff to run the shop so artists do not need to be there. Artists are paid 75 percent of the proceeds, with the rest paying expenses. Support for the project came from the Central Baltimore Partnership, the Johns Hopkins University, PNC Bank, Abell Foundation, Station North Arts & Entertainment District, the Charles North Community Association and building owners the Cheng family.

It will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 24 and every day the week before Christmas,

Andy Cook, Made in Baltimore program director, said he hopes the pop-up encourages consumers to think about buying local, “instead of just buying it on Amazon.”

“Our hope is that with each year, we raise more and more awareness about these incredible businesses,” Cook said.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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