DIY store takes over former CVS space in downtown Concord

By JAMIE L. COSTA

Monitor staff

Published: 08-29-2023 11:39 AM

When Kiaya Gable was a little girl, her mother and grandmother taught her how to sew, crochet and knit their own clothes and garments.

They’d stockpile craft materials like markers, googly eyes, pompoms and yarn in spare drawers around the house. Her grandmother remembered the lessons of the Great Depression to save and reuse anything they might need in the future.

Through her travels as a crafter and an artist, Gable used inspiration from unique craft stores she found in Austin and Pittsburgh to launch her own “do it yourself” craft and thrift store in downtown Concord at the site of the former CVS Pharmacy on North Main Street.

“We are trying to create a space where half-used art supplies, long untouched fabric stashes and the ends of yarn skeins can go on to other homes and be made into something amazing, rather than taking up space on a shelf or in a box,” she says on her website.

In other words, DIY Craft & Thrift is part craft store and part second-hand store.

“It’s like Michaels and Savers had a baby – it’s a thrift store, so you can bring in donations of what you don’t want, and I will repackage it and sell it to people for thrift store prices,” Gable said. “The idea is to keep things out of landfills and get it back into the hands of people that want to try a new craft, or downsize.”

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Over the years as relatives died and assets were passed down, Gable’s mother inherited crafts and supplies that at one point took up the entirety of their attic, she said. Bit by bit, she and her mother liquidated the craft materials, packaged them and sold or donated them.

“Nobody wanted to throw anything away, but my grandmother didn’t have taste – she had a heart of gold but her stuff was never worth anything,” Gable said. “There were four generations in that home of Depression-era crafters. They had to hold onto everything, they didn’t know what would happen, and that transcended down to my mom and myself.”

For Gable, she hated throwing things away because it felt wasteful. Growing up in the 1990s when recycling first became popular, she aspired to live a sustainable life and later turned her idea for a Goodwill-style craft store into a business model.

“It has all of the things in the back of your grandma’s closet or junk drawer; you know they’re useful but you don’t know how to use them but you don’t want to get rid of them,” she said.

Now, the contents of those drawers can have a home where they’ll be taken care of and sold to those in need of a pompom or 12, or a little bit of yarn or yards of it. In time, Gable hopes to host pop-up shops throughout the state and expand her vision to provide studio space, classes, meet-ups and crafting parties.

The store accepts dropoff donations and though it’s only been open for a week and a half, Gable said the support and interest has been amazing as many passersby have stopped in to see how the space is being used or to drop off boxes and bags of craft materials. Though many of the materials will be resold, Gable plans to make sensory toys and spooky crafts for the Halloween Howl and sell handcrafted ornaments around Christmas, she said.

“My grandmother’s stuff is still at my house. I haven’t had the chance to get it out of the closet yet,” Gable said. “I’m sure it’ll be emotional but I’m going to have a little wall for people to put names of their family members as a way to honor the people that came before.”

Gable said customers visiting the store recount their memories of crafting with their grandmothers, their aunts and their mothers. She knows the feeling.

“My mom had always wanted to have her own arts and crafts store but it didn’t pan out for her because of the time and where life was, but she collected and gave things away or did church sales,” Gable said. “I soaked in so much of it and I have family members that are still crafting. This is an extension of that and I feel absurdly lucky.”

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