ASHEBORO — The Kit House is more than a photography studio. It’s also a small event center, a community place and a personal work space.
“It’s multipurpose for a reason — to adapt to the needs of people,” said Celia Rawson, opened the new business on July 10 after being selected by The Table as the June startup business under the Just for Joy Campaign.
Dustie Gregson, owner of The Table, uses a portion of her profits to help business owners starting out.
“It’s a huge gift and goes a long way,” Rawson said. “We’re grateful for them promoting our grand opening,” expected to be on Aug. 5.
A photographer herself, Rawson saw the need for a photo studio in Asheboro. She said the nearest ones are in Winston-Salem and High Point.
So she and her husband Jacob began looking for just the right place for a studio. “What it would look like, there’s nothing like it in town,” she said last week. Then they saw the “For Rent” sign at 128 Sunset Ave., called the number and toured the building.
“This is perfect,” she told Jacob. He looked around the room and wondered what Celia saw in the blue walls with paneling and the darkened floors.
What he saw as half empty she saw as filled with promise. Celia was most impressed with the large south-facing windows that allowed for natural lighting — a photographer’s boon.
Once they signed the lease, the Rawsons painted the walls and ceiling a bright white, covered the floors in light brown, added mirrors and hung curtains that can hide the street while allowing in the sunlight.
The main floor is long and mostly empty. Rawson called the studio “a blank canvas.”
“It’s space anyone could use to fit what they need,” she said.
Along the east wall is a bar with stools facing a long mirror that can be used for hairstyling and makeup or just to work on a laptop computer. There is a mini-fridge and a coffee maker for public use as well as a sizable dressing room.
Photographers who rent the space will bring their own equipment and set up the way they want. They can bring their own props or, as time goes by, Rawson will add props that will be available as part of the cost.
Asked about what types of events the Kit House can be used for, Rawson expects there to be small events such as baby and wedding showers, birthday or anniversary parties, intimate gatherings, and even corporate events.
She is hoping that mornings will welcome young professionals or stay-at-home workers who wish to have the amenities of downtown.
A benefit of Kit House, Rawson said, is that people who use coffee shops to work on their laptops won’t be bothered by the crowds of an eatery. But they’ll still be within walking distance of coffee and tea shops and will be allowed to bring their drinks and snacks with them. Kit House will offer free Wifi.
Another benefit that Rawson hopes will bring workers in is that being downtown they’ll be near other businesses. The Kit House will be convenient for meeting with friends and associates without the hustle and bustle of a restaurant or coffee shop.
“This can be a community of professionals in town rather than being isolated at home,” she said. “They can meet regularly at a place that’s not an eatery. It’s a huge hit in larger cities.”
Being a new enterprise, Rawson said, they’re in the process of “building connections and creating awareness” of Kit House. “We hope to be popular once winter comes. I have photographers lined up to shoot this fall.” And some business women from Charlotte were to have come July 20 to have headshots taken for their firm.
Rawson is hoping to bring more people downtown who, in turn, will visit other local businesses. She said photographers who set up for shoots can stage their own looks while bringing in local stylists and hairdressers. “We’re hosting the space and allowing others to use it how they choose.”
She said her hope is that Kit House can collaborate with other event centers in town as a backup for photo sessions. There will be plenty of hairdressing and makeup space and a dressing room to change.
“I do a lot of wedding photos myself,” Rawson said. “This is the kind of space I want. I could do a full wedding party in here. And they don’t have to worry about the weather outside or poor lighting.”
So, what’s in the name — The Kit House?
“Jacob and I live in a Sears kit house (on Park Street) that was built in the ’30s,” Rawson said. “And, photographers will have to bring their own kits.”
Beyond taking photos, holding parties and hosting business professionals, Rawson said she hopes that Kit House will be a gathering place for the community. She can even envision having movies for children while their parents are doing other things downtown.
Rawson repeated, “There’s nothing like it in town.”
For more information, you can visit TheKitHouseStudio.com. Rentals are by the hour, half-day and full-day.