With Small Business Saturday coming up this November 27 (it falls each year on the Saturday after Black Friday), we thought we’d give a shout out to a few unique local businesses that make Gainesville a vibrant city.
Shop local and support small businesses this holiday season!
Soma Art Media Hub
Address: 435 S Main St
Phone: (352) 213-3071
This independently-owned downtown art supplier is an alternative to Michaels and other big box chains. Soma carries student-grade canvases, paints and brushes, but an important part of their business is their high end drafting and modeling supplies for architects, which the corporate chains don’t typically stock.
Owner and perpetual artist in residence Celino Dimitroff is a friendly guy who knows his stuff. He’s behind the funky light fixtures, made from reclaimed materials like guitars, cameras, and anything else he could get his hands on, that brighten the shop’s interior.
According to Celino, “Usually when you order something online you will pay the suggested retail price, which is ridiculous… I do not charge the suggested retail price. I believe that art supplies should be accessible and I don’t need to make as much money as a big box. I’m just happy right where I am!”
Another cool thing about Soma is that they offer free deliveries until 3AM! You know, for when the muse visits you late at night and you’re all out of cobalt blue.
Best to call ahead to find out if they have what you need.
The Repurpose Project
Address: 1920 NE 23rd Ave
Phone: (352) 363-8902
We’re willing to bet that Celino over at Soma gets his art supplies from The Repurpose Project, a favorite of DIY enthusiasts in Gainesville.
Driving down NE 23rd Street, you can’t miss the Repurpose Project’s bright sky blue and red striped facade. Billowing out from both sides of the building lay a sprawling but well-organized salvage yard crossed with a thrift store. That means plenty of hidden treasures waiting to be uncovered, and creative project ideas to be hatched.
Repurpose’s prices are cheap and negotiable. Their mission is to keep usable items out of the trash, and to get us thinking about the lifecycle of the products we purchase. They specifically accept items rejected by thrift stores and not bought at yard sales. Customers save money and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time, a win-win for you and the planet.
Out in the yard you can find lumber and interesting hardware for your next DIY project. Inside they carry fabric for upholstering, vintage electronics, records, and a million other odds and ends. You never know what you’re going to get on any given day, which is part of the fun.
Sister store Reuse Planet just opened a holiday pop up shop. It’s a great place to find a one-of-a-kind gift for that one-of-a-kind person in your life. They’re located at 1540 Waldo Road.
Repurpose Project is all about giving back to the community. This month they’re transporting donated furniture and household goods to Grace Marketplace, to help the newly housed residents there get settled in.
If you’d like to support this cause and The Repurpose Project, check out their used items on their newly inventoried website to purchase items over the phone for Grace. They will deliver them free of charge.
Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW)
Address: 1314 S Main St #2
Phone: (352) 234-6729
New York Times-bestselling graphic memoirists Tom Hart and Leela Corman left New York with their young daughter for Gainesville with the dream of setting up an affordable alternative to traditional art school and hassles of big city life.
The Sequential Artists Workshop opened its doors around 2012. Sadly, the couple lost a daughter along the way. But through the power of their creative work and the support of the community, they got through it.
The school moved around a bit before settling into its current location on South Main Street, amid a hub of other creative businesses. SAW offers a variety of classes for students of graphic novels, comic books, and other visual storytelling forms.
SAW’s year-long intensive program gives serious comic and graphic arts nerds the opportunity to dive deep into the form’s history while sharpening their visual communication skills. Weeklong workshops are open to all levels of interest and skill and are a great way to turn your visual storytelling ideas into reality in a nurturing environment.
SAW faculty are accomplished comic and graphic artists from around the country and the world. Classes are offered both online and in-person on a sliding scale basis. The school frequently invites the community to view exhibits of student work, so stop by to see what kind of work your potential creative collaborators are getting up to.
The Knot Climbing Gym
Address: 704 S Main St
Phone: (352) 322-2402
Last but not least, The Knot is Gainesville’s newest climbing gym. Their much awaited grand opening happened last spring. Managing capacity and Covid has been tricky for the new business, but we’re certain this independently operated and well planned climbing gym is going to become a hub of the Gainesville climbing community in no time.
The gym offers challenging routes and an inclined bouldering tunnel the likes of which we’ve never seen before. They’re open from 7am to 10pm, with the option of booking time during peak hours.
Want to train to climb Big Wall routes on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley? Whatever your climbing goals, the Knot has got you covered with a variety of climbing surfaces, training equipment, belay certification classes, an on-site gear store…and yoga!
Why yoga and climbing, you might be wondering? The deliberate breathing taught in yoga can help keep climbers stay calm, develop a better awareness of their body and become more flexible.
Check out their website for membership options, or stop by to chat with one of their passionate team members about getting started.