Kindergarten for grown-ups is back in session.
After a successful six-month lease as a pop-up shop at 2535 Broad, Five in One Social Club, which offers art- and craft-making sessions for adults, has decided to take up permanent residence there. The new season of classes began last week.
As one of three businesses chosen by the Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team this past April, Five in One received subsidized rent and free business consulting from the MEMShop program over the last six months. But co-owners Alice Laskey-Castle and C. Michael Andrews never approached the pop-up as a temporary location.
"We really dug our feet in from the beginning and approached this like we would be here longer than the initial six-month lease," Laskey-Castle said. "Things were slow at first, but every month over the summer, it's grown, not just in sales but people attending the classes."
Five in One offers hands-on, affordable craft nights (called Social Club) twice a week, at which patrons learn to make everything from woodcuts and screen-printed T-shirts to plastic-bag wallets and aluminum-can flowers.
The new three-year lease will allow Five in One to host artist workshops and exhibitions, as well as more time to plan for bigger events. That doesn't mean Andrews and Laskey-Castle are abandoning their old curriculum. The popular crafts nights all have spots on the calendar this upcoming season. The calendar can be viewed at fiveinone.org.
Formerly located in a basement in Crosstown, Five in One's location on Broad is larger than the old space and features a storefront selling screen-printed T-shirts and goods created by local artists. Laskey-Castle said the move to a more accessible location has made a difference in business.
"The old space was very speakeasy style. People who came felt like they knew about something that others didn't," Laskey-Castle said. "But we have so much more foot traffic here. Social Club has grown from a bunch of art kids sitting around with their sketchbooks to a significant group of people. There are dads bringing in their 14-year-old daughters and everyone from architects and accountants to homemakers coming."
Five in One Social Club will also be organizing events outside of their doors on Broad Avenue as well. In addition to helping with the successful Broad Avenue Night Market this past August, Five in One is planning a swap meet in the alley behind the businesses in early October. Laskey-Castle said that the infrastructure on Broad is what made the MEMShop program so attractive.
"We just came in and added to the energy that was already growing in the neighborhood," Laskey-Castle said. "For the six years I've lived in Memphis, Broad Avenue has been an artsy place. But people would only come like twice a year [during art walks]. To see the way Broad has grown, I'm just really excited to be a part of it."