Back in early spring of 2021, I was setting up little rose gold name plaque holders to have our one and only Unglued “board” meeting. I had made a desktop name holder for each person with collage paper and foam sticker letters—Justin, Kristina, Kevin, McKaila, Morgan, and myself to make it a super official night of decisions. That night started with each of us writing down three words that came to mind when the name “Unglued” came up. The results were crazy consistent—community, experience, and magic. Later that night, we “voted” to fully pursue moving our shop of 10.5 years on Broadway to the up-and-coming new construction of Brewhalla and what it might look like.
Fast forward 2+ years later and our little shop of 200+ local and regional makers has opened (and fully relocated) into our brand-spankin’- new Unglued space at Brewhalla—the new literal epicenter of community experience with a literal MAGIC.
FACTORY on the premises. Plus, we are fully equipped on the 2nd floor with our Unglued Craftatorium—our 2nd space in the building to make all the things, meet new people, and go crazy with hot glue and glitter.
What is Unglued?
Super quick catch-up, though, if you aren’t familiar with Unglued. We’re a modern handmade gift shop that connects you to over 200 local and regional makers. We also organize crazy awesome events to inspire creativity with things like our epic sleepaway summer camp for adults, kids craft camps, private and public workshop parties, and our annual craft fest. We’re kind of like Etsy in real life and all the inspiration you need to want to get creative again. We spent our first 10.5 years as a shop on Broadway, totally obsessed with our 400 block and neighbors. Now, our old space is the new home to the perfectly imperfect artistically-driven hands of Scribble Lady as we embark on our journey to create new experiences and magic at our new location in Brewhalla!
The crazy thing about this all is in early 2020, we had considered quitting the year-round retail life and focusing on events and pop-ups. For a variety of reasons—I get restless, but the retail side was just proving to be trickier to keep sustainable. So as we were getting to the official end of our old lease, we started to think about what our crafty future could hold and maybe making a crazy change.
But, once a full-on pandemic hit, we saw a renewed effect our crafty maker shop could have on people and the makers. We got unexpected feedback on a daily basis that our shop vibe or our virtual workshops or an extra special gift they received from someone is what kept them going. I realized we REALLY WANTED this shop to continue to exist on a daily, year-round basis in all its glitter and blood-sweat-and-tears glory. More people in our community were also starting handmade businesses with their new pandemic craft skills they gained! But, clearly, something needed to change as our teeny back room could barely hold an 8-person workshop and we knew this was an area of our world that the community clearly now wanted more of.
If Drekker would have approached us any other time prior to mid-2020 we would never have been able to see the (hot pink) forest through the trees. But by some kind of magic, as my risk tolerance was finally ready to go balls to the wall and we had a renewed desire to be a year-round shop and workshop space, we found ourselves being offered a chance to join this band of misfits and weirdos to create a new community experience.
So back to the unofficial Unglued board meeting in January 2021—name plaques, sticky notes, beer, and all. We made the decision that night to dream up new possibilities and go forward. We cheers’d to the great unknown of moving our shop off Broadway and into a concept that hadn’t existed yet in this area.
First off, Drekker. The whole captain of this magic factory ship had been involved in our summer camp since day one, eight years ago now. But even further back, Mark Bjornstad (a co-owner of Drekker) had taught me to start IVs on the night shift back in the cardiac ICU when we were both nurses and before we knew our future in small business.
Thunder Coffee was going to be the coffee shop! We had danced on speakers at our 21+ summer camp with them as the caffeination sponsor and had been doing occasional craft workshops in their West Fargo space. They also kept our dreams alive a la damn delicious coffee continually.
The Plant Supply and Livin the Dream Pottery were in! We had known them both as makers in our shop and vendors in our annual Craft Fest since basically the inception of their handcrafted businesses!
Blackbird Pizza was going to craft up their insane food as The Bird! We had collabed with them for our kid’s camp to walk down Broadway to learn to make pizza dough and earn their kitchen ninja merit badge. Plus, I had settled open heart patients with Casey Absey (The Bird’s owner) way back in the day—once again, as a nurse.
And let’s just say how enamored we were to hear about everyone else involved. One by one as we’d find out a new vendor it continually solidified just how epic and delicious our future could be in this Brewhalla wonderland.
We get to drop it like it’s hot in our Unglued Craftatorium now with:
- Kids Summer Camps are back!
- Fully loaded local maker craft workshops schedule!
- Kids Make It Club is back!
- DIY Kit expansion! Basically, treat us like a DIY bar—grab a kit, a glass of wine, and go create in the Brewhalla gathering spaces!
- Private craft parties!
- Whatever else we dream up while we spill our next Thunder Coffee cup with excitement.
- Sign up for a workshop at ungluedmarket.com/events!
When we dreamed and schemed how we might glam up our shop and actually have a full-on workshop classroom, Brewhalla became this lightning bolt lighting the way to get people more creative and connected to the creative community in town. It had always been our mission to be a place to “buy creative and get inspired” and suddenly we could create a crafty room that had a giant craft sink, pull-down ceiling extension cords, a garage door for expansion, and a big ol’ chalkboard door to give the project low-down with.
Our new shop got a glam up of windows, disco balls, arches, and murals to showcase the crazy talent of our creative community and beyond. We got a blank slate to keep it scrappy with old displays we refreshed, but go big with new things like an arch with lesleydidthat. This kick-butt refresh helps people discover makers new and old, connects makers to resources through us and beyond us, and a bonus of being in Brewhalla is we get to grow the tri-annual Brewhalla Makers Market. Plus, our counter is still strong enough to support our social media counter dancing with #putyourbackintoit.
When opening day came and the doors opened at 10 a.m. on March 18 this year, I’ll never forget looking around the hot pink-infused, atrium-lit, small business-packed space and seeing the lightning bolt lit up down the wall across from us. Then “Wake Up” played as people started pouring in, Tom (Drekker brewer) walked by teary-eyed making me cry more—in both exhaustion, pride of the new space, and the surrealness of it all, and I realized that this next adventure— with all of its unknowns—was surely going to be full of community, experiences, and magic for not just all of our small businesses, but also all of you. A new place to belong and gather and definitely hold more “board” meetings and sticky notes to ignite the next match of magic.