One area — or street, to be specific — in downtown Phoenix has businesses teaming up to benefit, cater to and converge the community via consignment goods, community gardening and recycling.
It’s called Roosevelt Row, home of the GROWop Collective, the Greenhouse and Butter Toast.
GROWop features items you wouldn’t find in your local retail store, including home décor, handmade lights and candles. The vintage collection includes shoes, purses, jewelry and more. Open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, the snug, inviting boutique has something new and innovative each visit.
Ashley Eaton, one of three owners of the GROWop, established it as a collective where artists could showcase their work.
“My two partners, Kenny and Josh, came up with the name GROWop; it stands for growing opportunity,” Eaton says. “The whole idea of the place is to be somewhere small businesses can start and grow.”
During First Fridays, the boutique offers courtyard space to vendors with no permit required and just 25 percent of their earnings go the boutique. This new idea is called arts markets; vendors will be able to sell their goods and services on empty lots around the neighborhood. This also promotes cleaning of the lots.
“We are all separate, but we work together a lot to see what our street needs and what we need for our community,” Eaton says.
Members are typically the vendors that come out on First Fridays, but anyone can email the collective to get involved.
The collective started with a simple garden in the front yard, and lead to a store in the living room of the house. Although a resident currently lives in the home, the owners are hoping as they acquire more items to sell, the rooms will be cleared and made available for more shelf space.
The vegetables — greens, spinach, and others — that are planted in the garden are sold at the farmers markets in the local area, helping to bring in natural, local produce and create revenue for the area.
Aside from the garden, the clothing sold is considered one-of-a-kind, provided by local designers.
“We bring on designers that share our viewpoint and style,” Eaton says. “We are all into recycling, the planet and handmade stuff. Our concept is community oriented.”
If you journey across the street, you will find the Growhouse, a garden and gallery with a collective garden. They invite community members to join the garden and local artists to present ideas for the gallery on a rolling basis. They hold diverse workshops and events throughout the year, host gallery shows, provide live music and host garden tours on First Fridays.
The goal of the Growhouse is to become self-sustainable with collective, shared grow lots. Members are able to come in and grow their own fruits and vegetables and learn how to grow them at home.
A door away from GROWop is Butter Toast, a small boutique that made its way into the row November 2008. Owners Traci Nelson and Jasmine Jarrett do more than make crafty clothes and soaps; they recycle items into vintage clothes and organic personal items.
They bring in consignment clothing and make them new again. Butter Toast uses recycled plastic bags and reuses items from buildings to promote a cleaner healthier environment.
“Our floors are from an old high school gym,” Nelson says. “They were going to throw them away, but we took them.”
With a unique variety of hand-picked clothes, housewares and locally-made, natural soaps, the shop creates an unusual atmosphere that promotes health, well-being and a cleaner environment.
GROWop and Butter Toast have vintage clothing in common, but the two stores are different in many ways.
For instance, Butter Toast is more of a retail clothing store specializing in vintage clothing.
“We changed locations from around the corner because we have grown,” Nelson says. “We have one local fashion designer based in New York that sends us her pieces.”
The owners say they were concerned customers would think it was a breakfast cafe, but the name has caught on.
Roosevelt Row has style, grace and dozens of boutiques from which to choose. With a vital mix of residential and commercial properties, the area has continued to grow since 1948.