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Our Origin Story

Every business has a beginning.


Our story started as an idea in 2020.


I was working as an event planner for a doggy daycare in Seattle (yes - you read that right. Think corgi meetups, doodle parties, mutt mixers, etc).


While event planning came easily to me, I didn't love that world. And honestly - I'm a cat person.


My husband, Cameron, and I, moved to his hometown of Anacortes right after we got married in July of 2019 - and while working remotely was wonderful, I was hunting for other job options.


Instagram has some wild targeted ads that always pop up - and 2019 was no different. There was an ad for this super cool laser called a Glowforge. I would watch the full video and drool over all of the things that could be created. When I finally showed Cameron the video - we agreed that we would find a way to make it work! I quit my job - bought the laser - and started my art business called RhinoCat Designs.


It was a trial by fire learning experience as I had no experience with lasers before it arrived. I began looking for local markets to participate in and found it challenging to find ones near by! I eventually found two in Oak Harbor and participated in their holiday markets - but was disappointed by how poorly they were run/advertised and lack of communication with vendors.


We all know what happened to the world in 2020 - which only gave me more time to learn how to use the laser and learn the world of online sales. I was participating in a self development and leadership course online and kept having the idea of creating a community space for artists and makers. Obviously, in 2020 - that wasn't going to happen - but the idea lingered.


When the world started to return to normal and markets were a thing again, I participated in an outdoor market where the weather was awful and attendance was low. It motivated me to reach out to a local business owner I had met who had a building that was currently vacant. On July 23rd, 2021 - he happened to be in town so we chatted about my vision.


While I still wanted to create the community space - I figured I would get it started by hosting a pop-up market. He handed me the keys that day and 8 days later I hosted my first market with 27 vendors that I had met through farmers markets or had found online.


The markets at Buxton's was the beginning. Creative Avenue Markets were held monthly from July of 2021 at Buxton's for the first year and a half - then at the Port of Anacortes, the Depot Art Center, and Azusa Garden Center in 2023 and the start of 2024. I loved hosting the markets, but was finding it challenging to find a regular venue to host at. Plus, hauling all of my market equipment around Skagit Valley was not my favorite thing.


February of 2024 was the pivot point. I had been talking with the owner of a local coffee shop about managing his retail area and hosting pop-up markets in a small space he had attached to the shop. It was a blast to host, and it came as a huge surprise in mid February when he asked if I would take over his lease. Never in my life did I think I would run a brick and mortar space or a coffee shop.


After a lot of thought and talking with Cameron, we decided to jump full in. The previous coffee shop owner was eager to retire his business and move on. And I was hopeful that we could turn the building into a community space, where markets could happen regularly - along with so much more. Thus - the Creative Hub & Coffeehouse was born.


We signed a lease with the building owner, got the keys on March 11th, and immediately went to work! With the help of our community, we were able to host a soft opening on March 16th and worked the following weeks to remodel the space and fix things that needed repairs.


Maybe this was a crazy decision and adventure to take on, but our vision is so much larger than the challenges we've faced in the process. I'll share those stories in future blogs. This truly is our beginning and we are so excited to create this community space to grow and to nurture all things creative.


This is the first blog post I've ever written and hope to continue to document our journey. Stay tuned for more!


Be amazing and spread joy,

Frannie



Pictured below is my little family, who I couldn't do this wild life without! My bonus daughter, Jade - husband, Cameron - and myself






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