Meet the Shopkeeper: Assemble Shop and Studio
Phinneywood's Assemble is going online-only with a line of craft kits, real-world event design, and more.
Andie Powers and Emily Grosse opened Assemble Gallery and Studio in 2009, and as of this month, the shop is closed. Huh? So why do we still want you to meet the shopkeepers? While Assemble, the Phinney/Greenwood brick-and-mortar, hosted artists, designers, and crafters for workshops, demos, shows, and more, Powers and Grosse will continue to host tutorials online, in video form, and, via their website, offer workshop kits and other goodies. Freed up, spatially speaking, Assemble is excited to get into custom event design and other out-and-about opportunities.
WWW: What song or album is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
Powers: My husband makes all of the playlists for the shop, as he's the music expert.
What was your first job in retail? How does it compare to your job now?
I started out working at a delightful little chain in Boston and Cambridge called Black Ink. Working there taught me a lot about creativity and design in product. I loved it, and I highly recommend checking it out if you're in the area. A few years later, Emily and I met while working at the corporately-owned Paper Source, which fostered our love of design in craft. Assemble is a mix of the things we loved about our old jobs, but together, we make all the creative, productive and management decisions. This means complete ownership and pride, but also non-stop work and effort. We wouldn't trade it for anything!
What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
Definitely our new line of crafting kits that we are debuting as the shop transitions to its online-only status. We designed and manufactured a group of needle-felting, bookbinding, and crochet kits that are unlike any other kit on the market. They include everything you will need for the project and step-by-step instructions for advanced results.
Where do you shop when you’re not working on Assemble projects?
I don't have a lot of time away from work (which is why I'm glad that I do what I love). If I do get a chance to spend some cash, I like to visit local bookstores, Uwajimaya, and my favorite clothing store, Madewell.
What do you love about your old storefront's neighborhood?
'Phinneywood,' as the intersection of Phinney Ridge and Greenwood is lovingly called, is one of the most tightly-knit neighborhoods I have ever experienced. The people who live here love their local businesses and restaurants and support us not only monetarily, but with kind words and regular friendly visits.
What nearby restaurants, coffee shops, etc do you recommend?
Cornuto, right next door, is as close to real Italian pizza as you'll get in Seattle. Our friends at Caffe Vita make us smile daily, and keep us awake. If you're looking for lovely vegetarian food, Carmelita down the street is just wonderful.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
About a month ago, the transformer behind our building was struck by lightning. It shook us up, and actually shook the building! As we closed up shop later that evening, we noticed that every other business on the street had lost power, and our little Assemble was glowing steadily on the dark street. It was a sweet, bizarre, and memorable moment.