An Artisan Market is a daily craft show. It is a year round showroom for crafts, paintings, furniture, jewelry and anything handmade. And one has just opened in St. Augustine, Florida. It is called the Coconut and is owned by Kori and Steve Smith.
For a very long time, I have wanted to open up an art gallery. What artist hasn’t? A place to show your own works of art in the best light with throngs of adoring followers purchasing with abandon! But, it takes guts and heavy work and a solid vision to venture into parts unknown. Soooo… instead, I decided to become one of the many artists joining the adventure at the Coconut Barrel.
A call for artists went out on Facebook in April and out of pure curiosity, I responded. I have been successfully selling my handmade oddities and paintings and prints on the internet for years and wasn’t sure if I wanted to venture into a storefront situation and visions of my own gallery lurked in the far corners of my mind. The owner, Kori Smith, and I had a few conversations on Facebook and on a day full of appointments and many other obligations, I decided to take a break and see the Coconut Barrel for myself.
Situated in an old carpet warehouse on busy US 1 in South St. Augustine, construction was still going on inside and out when I arrived. Kori greeted me like an old friend and I was smitten! She gave me the tour, explained future plans and answered all of my questions with the confidence of someone who had done their research. I have owned many businesses in my professional journey and was aware of some of the pitfalls that happen to many startups. But Kori had everything covered and I felt comfortable enough to choose a booth.
This Artisan Market is a new concept in this part of St. Augustine, a town known for the arts and for the art galleries. But the concentration of these galleries is in the downtown market, and along with the hordes of tourists and lack of parking spaces, it can be difficult to enjoy these places. So, opening The Coconut Barrel in an area that has easy access, plenty of parking and is one of a kind in the field is unique and possibly the start of a trend.
The interior of the building has a two story ceiling allowing large mobiles and other interesting pieces of art to hang from the rafters. It also gives a wide open feel to the floor space which is designed to have almost 100 booths. There are plans for a food vendor, classroom space and outdoor art shows on the weekends. With 27,000 vehicles passing in front of the Coconut Barrel daily, there is visibility like none other in town. The opportunities are endless and the creative ideas of Kori, Steve and all of the artists involved flourish.
So, I gather my paintings, my pillows, my furniture and other little artsy things I have made and head to my booth. I envision it to be my art gallery, the one I have long sought. The Coconut Barrel is helping make my dream come true! With the Smith’s vision and this opportunity brings great excitement to a new part of town!