Glass Street storefronts serve as a striking community asset, due to their historic 1920′s brick architecture, inviting neighbors to stroll along the street to great one another– but those historic frames require restoration TLC on the parts of property owners in order to attract entrepreneurs to sign leases. One building owner, Mike Long, has recently completed the facade renovation to 2449 Glass Street, and continues to restore the interior of the building to get it ready for a new tenant, Barley Bones, to set up shop in the new year. Ben Whitelaw’s plan is to start out using the space for production, but he hopes to utilize the storefront for retail space too. He’s also looking to hire someone from the neighborhood.
Back in 2013, two incredibly talented residents, Gail Mitchell McKeel and her neighbor, Daniel Crlencic, created a Pop-Up Flea Market. This pop-up shop was intended to be open for a one day block party, but instead they ran the shop for about 6 months after their grand opening, driving energy along the walking corridor. It was these residents’ energy and grassroots activism that sparked the process. Gail has been inspired to see the improvements made by Mike Long, and feels proud that the seeds of her efforts still bear fruit– making a tangible difference on Glass Street.
Teal Thibaud, Glass House Collective’s Executive Director, takes pride in facilitating and empowering residents like Gail, with the ideas and pioneering spirit to get involved in the neighborhood. “We always talk about how short-term projects lead to long-term change. Here’s a perfect example of that. A resident-led example of that no less.”