Back in July, Sandy Cadle sat on the patio of her floral shop on Ridge Avenue, away from the bustle of the going-out-of-business sale’s final day.
But as Cadle watched her business die, another one was born.
“I said, ‘Nope, I’m going to do something with this shop that’s going to give this community something special.’ All of a sudden it hit me. A friend of mine needed a storefront. I started formulating the concept.”
Cadle decided to divide the space and rent out rooms — and in some cases, corners of rooms — to vendors and dealers who offer everything from art and jewelry to garden accessories and used furniture. The new business, called House of Unforgettable Shoppes, also features a minibakery.
“Unless you’ve been in business, people can’t appreciate the overhead that exists with any type of business. ... Things are so costly now,” Cadle said.
The business now has about a dozen tenants.
“They can either be down here all day or we’re here all day to manage it and help the customers,” said Cadle. “It gives everyone here a storefront.”
Pam Bryan works at a doctor’s office across the street while also peddling homemade soaps in her Simply Southern Soaps shop at the business.
“I can work my other job, and I can do this at home and bring it up here,” Bryan said. “It’s kind of the best of both worlds. We can work our own jobs and do this without the full-time hours.”
The soaps are made from shea butter and goat’s milk. Some of them look like cinnamon buns and cakes — and smell like them, too — which only adds to appetizing aroma wafting through the shops from the minibakery.
Till Lott worked for Cadle at the flower shop until it closed.
He volunteered to help her get the new business off the ground and has proven to be a more than capable baker.
Till’s Treats serves up such baked goodies as World Peace Cookies and the top-selling MiniBundt Walnut Brownies.
“I wanted this to be a place where people could relax. We don’t have a bakery in the area,” Cadle said.
The bakery opens at 8 a.m., two hours before the shops, to serve coffee, biscuits, sausage and homemade bran muffins for breakfast. It also offers baked-to-order cakes.
“You can call at 12 o’clock one day and pick it up the next day,” said Cadle.
Tenants are allowed to decorate their rooms or areas however they want. Each area has its name painted on the wall.
One of them, Patina, occupies the front room and features two dealers who specialize in what they call “much-loved, used articles for the home,” Cadle said.
Some of the other shops include: Sugar Bugar’s, which sells gifts, accessories and jewelry; Pinache, where two artists offer gifts that include hand-painted pillows and floor cloths; Romancing the Stones, which carries stone works; and MExpressions, which sells inspirational T-shirts, note cards, key chains and more.
The dealer at Oriental Expressions travels to China twice a year, Cadle said, bringing back pieces of furniture, art, and dragon and panda figures. Goldenhagen Art Glass features hand-molded glass works.
The Gardens offers indoor and outdoor garden accessories and decor. It has become a place where customers often sit to enjoy baked goodies and coffee from the minibakery.
The business opened Sept. 14. A grand opening and Christmas open house is planned for Oct. 31.
Shopper Faye Ferguson of Macon dropped in Wednesday for her first visit and left with candles, soap dishes and a glass decanter.
“I’m thinking about that container there, too,” she told Cadle. “It’s so cute.”
Ferguson called the business “a really interesting place to shop.”
“It’s different from any other in Macon. It’s a wonderful place,” she said. “The bakery adds so much to it. You don’t usually have a bakery in a place like this.”
Cadle operated the flower shop at the corner of Ridge Avenue and Forest Hill Road for four and half years. She said she closed reluctantly after losing “several hundred thousand dollars.”
“As the economy got worse, flowers were something people didn’t have to have. My business started waning and waning,” she said. “I reached the point where I just didn’t have any choice but to shut it down.”
Cadle said once she started making plans for the new business, she had no trouble finding tenants.
“In two weeks I was full, and I have a waiting list of about 20 vendors who are waiting on space,” she said. “What’s so overwhelming to me is the talent that is in Macon. This place has so many really bright artists. The majority of them do exquisite work.”
Cadle said her only regret is that she has no room to expand to accommodate more artists.
“For some of these people, it’s the only form of a living they can make right now. Some have lost their jobs due to the economy, and they’re relying on their artistic talents to support their families.”
To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.