As Downtown Raleigh Turns Its Attention to Retail, Holder Goods & Crafts Turns One
By Karlie Justus Marlowe, Photography by Davies Photography
Through the floor-to-ceiling windows that line the street front of Holder Goods & Crafts’ South Street shop, sunshine bounces off the small pockets of industrial concrete floors and white shiplap walls not already covered with art, furniture, rugs and textiles. Next door, the smell of a weekend batch of bread wafts over. Later, up the street, a band’s afternoon sound check at Red Hat Amphitheater will cut through the one-way street’s traffic into downtown Raleigh.
The store, a mix of antiques, quirky home goods from contemporary lines, and local art and furniture, feels like a poster child for Raleigh’s new fascination with clustered creative experimentation at the hands of local talent.
Creative Director Bryan Costello helped open the shop just over a year ago, returning to Raleigh after a nearly five-year stint in Texas. He’d moved to the Lone Star State in 2011 after Raleigh’s sweet but sleepy pace became stifling.
“Raleigh really became a home,” said Costello, who had worked in bars and played in bands, with some freelance graphic design on the side. “But it was a time when Raleigh was content with its standing, and I got an opportunity to take a life leap move to Austin.”
On a walk around his new city, Costello spotted a hiring sign in the window of Uncommon Objects, the go-to Texan vintage shop on Austin’s hip South Congress Avenue.
“I worked there for almost five years, and it’s one of the most wonderful antique curiosities shops in the country,” he said. “I learned about running a business, merchandising, the history of objects, and working with designers. It was like going to grad school twice.”
Austin’s tech and culture renaissance was fully underway, thanks to the annual SXSW conference and an influx of young professionals in search of lower prices with a high quality of living. Suddenly, Costello found himself on the other side of the pendulum from the slower-paced urban scene of Raleigh.
“Austin boomed, and became a crazy mess,” he recalled. “I thought I’d plan a return to Raleigh one day, then I got a call from my friend Sam Kirkpatrick.”
Kirkpatrick co-owns Boulted Bread, a bakery and stone mill that opened in 2014 on the stretch of South Street that connects Boylan Heights and downtown Raleigh. The space next to Boulted came open, and he jumped on it with Costello in mind.
“He said he wanted to do something different and creative, throwing all the buzzwords at me,” Costello remembered with a laugh. “But he really did want to contribute creatively to this city.”
After thinking on it for a week and wrapping up a band tour, he made the trip north to take on the role as creative director. The shop started small, a labor of love between him, Sam, and Sam’s wife Meredith, with a carefully curated mix of small gifts and books with antique rugs and large-scale local art. They hosted a mix of in-store events to drive traffic, including new art installation parties, tintype photographer sessions, coffee tastings, and even a holiday screening of seasonal favorite Home Alone, as Costello continued to figure out its place in the growing downtown retail scene.
“Our first year was amazing, thanks to the community support. Like any first year in retail, it had its big ups and downs, especially as more retail spaces started opening left and right downtown,” he said.
To celebrate the milestone, Holder Goods & Crafts threw a big party in September, before turning an eye to its second year.
“The face of the store changes constantly, and now we’re taking our first steps into the interior design and styling worlds,” Costello said. “The idea is we’ll be a shop, gallery, and interiors service.”
The design offerings will help customers re-create the look and feel of the shop, especially for those who “want a break from that Southern Living traditional thing,” Costello notes. “We’ll also relaunch the site with an online store and information on working with us for styling and interior design.”
In the meantime, he’s focused on stocking inventory for the second holiday pop-up shop. In addition to the shop’s bevy of Turkish towels, African mud cloths, Province Apothecary incense and primitive farm tables, Holder will host local artisan vendors like Raleigh’s Horn and Heel, feeding the same drive to celebrate backyard talent.
“We just wanted to get involved creatively in Raleigh,” Costello remembers back to the store’s opening. “What a moment we’re in. We can be advocates for authenticity, and hopefully inspire more retail to open downtown.”
OAK CITY GIFT GUIDE
Downtown Raleigh’s burgeoning retail scene continues to grow, making it a prime spot to find gifts for family and friends. Here’s a sampling of stores that’ll check off all boxes on your Christmas shopping list.
The co-worker with extreme local pride
19 West Hargett Street
The crafter with a curator’s eye
Gather Goods Co.
200 East Franklin Street
The hipster with a sense of humor
Edge of Urge
215 East Franklin Street #110
The minimalist designer
Port of Raleigh
416 South McDowell Street
The urban Southern gentleman
215-120 East Franklin Street
The fashionista who considers brunch a sport
325 Blake Street
The James Dean superfan
304 Glenwood Avenue
The jeans snob
Raleigh Denim Workshop + Curatory
319 West Martin Street
The friend decorating their first home
Ramble Supply Co.
123 East Martin Street
The boss who runs on their lunch break
401 Hillsborough Street, Suite B
The little sister, sibling or sorority-wise
207 West Davie Street
The stylish mom
20 East Hargett Street
The newlywed with a new monogram
Moon & Lola
208 South Wilmington Street