DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - Brooke Henningsen, a commercial real estate agent by day, wanted to help the local art community rocked by the coronavirus.
A collaborative art market came to mind, where artists could directly sell their goods.
"I was in a very unique position where I was leasing a shopping center that had a substantial vacancy available," Henningsen said.
And she decided to put that in the 25,000-square-foot former Bon Ton. It's called "The Mercantile." The project was completed in four months.
Local artist Ashara Shapiro is the creative director.
"For an artist it's really perfect. It's really a perfect place," Shapiro said.
The market houses dozens of artisans, who can do short-term three-month leases for space they can decorate however they want.
"You might find somebody painting or doing sculpting, you'll be able to take classes in the back at our makers corner. You might find a band playing in our community space," Henningsen said.
There's also food and a bar.
So far, they say there has been tremendous enthusiasm from the public and from other property owners.
"I think this is a great model for a lot of different towns and cities across the United States," Shapiro said.