LAKEWOOD, Ohio — It's been hard for local vendors to find venues to sell their products as large events like flea markets and craft shows have been canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns.
But a Lakewood pop-up shop owner is pushing through the challenges of the pandemic to lend them a helping hand.
For Maureen Koopman, supporting local artists and makers is just second nature.
“Way back, I started as a maker myself,” Koopman, owner of Home for the Holidays Lakewood, said. “I still continue doing that with felt florals and succulents, but through that I met so many wonderful people in the creative community.”
Then, she had a light bulb moment five years ago.
“I was at a stoplight in Lakewood and saw a giant for-lease sign and just thought I should do a pop up shop,” Koopman said.
Two weeks later, Home for the Holidays Lakewood was born and has been open every year since from October until right before Christmas. This year, it's inside a storefront on Detroit Avenue.
“We have clothing and accessories and jewelry. Again, all from local artists and makers. Skincare and beauty,” Koopman said.
There’s also food and home decor, but Koopman said this year she almost didn’t set up shop because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There was a time earlier this summer where I thought, should I? Is this a good idea? Is that the responsible thing to do?” Koopman said.
But then she thought about local artists, many of whom were unable to sell their goods at canceled craft shows and other events earlier this year.
“I really owed it to them to continue this,” Koopman said. “Having a space like this for them to bring the goods to was sort of their path of least resistance.”
So she’s enforcing strict mask-wearing and hygiene guidelines inside the shop, as well as offering online and curbside shopping options. She’s keeping people safe, while also supporting the community she sees as family.
“I feel like this is a commitment I've made to my makers and the artists in this community to put this together and put this out to our community and make it a success,” Koopman said. “So, if I need to do that little shift, that pivot, that favorite word of this year, then so be it.”
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