CHAPEL HILL — The artist-owners at Womancraft Gifts couldn’t be more excited about moving to Carrboro next year.
If all goes well, the gallery will open the doors Jan. 2 to its brand-new space near Cameron’s gift shop, which moved to the 300 East Main development from University Mall in October.
“Come see us. We’ll be looking for old customers and new ones, too,” Womancraft board member Sue Kopkind said.
The store’s last sale day at The Shops at Eastgate in Chapel Hill will be Christmas Eve, Kopkind said. Their more than 70 local artists will return two days later to take their treasures home.
They artists will then spend the next week packing up shelves, display cases and racks for the move across town. They’ve hired Durham’s TROSA Moving Co. to help, Kopkind said. The artists will return once the new store is ready.
The new space – around the corner from Cameron’s, diagonal to the East Main and West Rosemary Street split – will give them more visibility, she said. They’ll also have another 200 square feet.
The Eastgate store is roughly 2,800 square feet, she said.
The co-op announced in September that Eastgate management was not renewing its lease. Since then, Kopkind said they have been looking for a new location, including at University Mall.
Carrboro’s 300 East Main development seemed like a good fit, she said. Their neighbors will include the ArtsCenter and the Cat’s Cradle music venue. Future stores could include the Hickory Tavern, East Main Meatball Shoppe and a yet-unnamed tequila and empanada restaurant.
There’s also the Hampton Inn & Suites, whose guests may want to pick up gifts on their way home, Kopkind said.
“We’re really looking forward to it and think that will be a great location down there,” she said.
Womancraft Gifts first opened in 1972 on West Franklin Street as a collective of women artists. The store moved to Eastgate Shopping Center in 1993, until repeated flooding forced them to move again. In 2000, Womancraft became the first retail store in Meadowmont Village.
Office manager Mary Wurm said this summer that the customer base never caught on in Meadowmont; so in 2005, they moved back to Eastgate. But on June 30, a hard-hitting storm flooded the store, soaking carpets and drywall. Only the quick response of artists on duty and those who drove in to help saved the merchandise, Wurm said.
They cleaned up and reopened Aug. 10.