Adrienne Imburgia has a manageable commute.
To turn on the lights at The Design Grove–the 215 Church Street children's craft lounge she opened on June 5–she walks down a flight of steps.
“My husband and I bought this place seven years ago, with the plan to put a business in here for me. We live right upstairs,” the mother of three and rookie entrepreneur said on Thursday from behind one of her store's workstations, five-year-old son curled on her lap.
But commute notwithstanding, opening The Design Grove was the realization of a long held dream of Imburgia's, albeit one motherhood amended.
“I had this idea a long time ago,” she explained, “but I thought I would just make handmade crafts to sell. I had children though and over time it morphed into this kids’ thing.”
To be more precise, the thing it morphed into is this: a craft center where children can design and decorate their own toy cars, planes, t-shirts, hats, jewelry, windsocks, jewelry boxes, masks, or puppets–to name just a few of The Grove’s present craft options–while they enjoy a snack and a drink.
The owner says she will frequently update the available activities–which range in cost from $4 to $10–and plans to incorporate seasonally-appropriate options as well. The menu is a work in progress though.
“I think I’ll probably keep some of the basic crafts–hats and t-shirts–always here, but rotate everything else each month to keep it fresh,” she said.
As for her other plans: Imburgia imagines the shop as a social as well as a creative space. There are no drop-offs–parents are expected to stay with their children while they work–and Imburgia views this as a feature, not a bug.
“Parents can come in, hang out, and have other parents to talk to while their kids make things. I want this to be a community place,” she said.
The Design Grove also houses professional, as well as amatuer, crafts. The front section of the store carries items from local artists, some of whome are friends of Imburgia's, that she sells on consignment.
The most impressive creation in The Design Grove though is likely the shop itself.
“My husband and I gutted and built this place,” said Imburgia–an impressive fact that only grows more so considering she weights about 110 pounds and her husband is an accountant.
It was, one imagines, a labor of love.
The Design Grove is open for walk-ins from Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is available for private parties on the weekend. It will be closed on Mondays.