ASHEBORO — A new way to support local entrepreneurs is coming to Asheboro Mall. The Maker and Merchant plans to open on March 15, according to Coles Doyle, head of the ownership team that includes Jennifer Richards and Clare Mulherin.
The Asheboro store will be the fifth location and second in North Carolina. Doyle said the first Maker and Merchant opened in November 2020 in Auburn, Alabama. The others are in LaGrange, GA, Tampa, FL, and Concord, NC. All are in malls owned by the Hull Property Group, the owner of Asheboro Mall.
Doyle was working with the owners of the Auburn Mall and ran a popup contest for small business owners. “Some couldn’t take that much space,” she said. “So we tried this in Auburn — one big store with a bunch of businesses.”
The Maker and Merchant leases space in the mall. That way, many small business owners can participate while keeping their overhead relatively low.
Doyle said they charge monthly fees based on the size of the space and take a 15 percent commission on sales. In return, the management team does the marketing and signage, provides tables and wall space, pays the mall rent and any overhead such as utilities, and even provides shopping bags.
Doyle said the structure is similar to consignment but with a cohesive appearance. The Maker and Merchant curates all the businesses for a coherent look. They have a staff to sell and replenish the stocks of each vendor.
“We curate the businesses together, making sure each space looks its best,” Doyle said. “We want it to look like one coherent shopping space. There will be similar fixtures and tables to create a consistent-looking feel.”
She said The Maker and Merchant is more of a women’s boutique and gift shop but there will also be some men’s wear, handmade jewelry and candles, bath and body products, children’s clothing and even food, including local jams and honey.
“We’re a more upscale vendor market,” Doyle said. ”We’ll have unique gift items and clothing. It will look like a boutique with high-end things you can’t find anywhere else. The items will look like high-end retail, not expensive but very nice looking.”
Doyle said some of their vendors in other malls have expanded to other stores. For instance, a vendor at the Carolina Mall in Concord may want to ship products to space at the Asheboro Mall.
“Every business will have a unique story,” Doyle said. “We have a passion about what they’re doing. For them, this is a dream that’s become a livelihood. And our store will be full and vibrant. We’re very excited about it.”
The Maker and Merchant at Asheboro Mall takes up nearly 10,000 square feet near the center of traffic. There will be an entrance from the mall across from the City of Asheboro Water Department and another entrance from the west parking lot.
Applications for vendors are now being taken through Feb. 12. The staff will look at the applications and then assign spaces. Opening day is March 15.
Potential vendors can stop by The Maker and Merchant or find applications and more details at www.themakerandmerchant.com. There is also information on Facebook and Instagram.
The local store will have a manager and sales associates to assist vendors and customers.
The hours will be 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-6 p.m. on Sundays.