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ArtROX! Holiday pop-up brings local cheer

Fran Cronin | 12/13/2012, 3:15 p.m.
ArtROX! Holiday pop-up brings local cheer Fran Cronin photos

The ArtROX! Pop-Up Holiday Shop in the heart of Dudley Square at 2201 Washington St. is a holiday mash-up: Full of good cheer, cool holiday tunes and quality handcrafted goods. It’s all local. And with the items for sale all well-priced, it’s all good.

Inspired by an offer from Madison Park Development Corporation, Discover Roxbury’s Executive Director Derek Lumpkins, 38, has made the most of something that wasn’t.

For the past eight months this vacated Foot Locker store — 7800 square feet of retail space — has languished empty on a stretch of Washington Street.

But on a recent Saturday, a crimson-suited Santa stood outside the pop-up like a beacon of holiday cheer. Extending his hand and a candy cane he said “I’m Ray, ray-of-sunshine Dias.” He had a little un-Santa-like beard, but no matter. True to his character, he was all smiles. It was his first time playing this important role. “I’m having fun,” he winked.

Inside, the deep retail space was clean, organized and inviting. Color abounded on table tops displaying the handcrafted goods.

Six weeks before opening for the first time on Nov. 30th, Lumpkins negotiated with Madison Park, insurance agencies and local businesses to hash out details and drum up in-kind donations from local businesses.

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Equal Exchange and Union Park Press came through, as did Arthur J. Hurley Co., whose donated cable spindles made serviceable table rounds and stools cloaked in red felt.

During the weeks leading up to the grand opening, Lumpkins and local residents created a space that would be a showcase for a rotating installation of craft vendors. Each vendor gets an 8-by-10 foot space; doors are open Friday through Monday and close Tuesday through Thursday for vendor switch-outs.

The week leading up to Christmas, the pop-up will peak with 25 artists on hand selling their crafts. The store will close Christmas Eve at 2 p.m.

Last year, Lynda Hester was laid off from her job at a software technology company. Rather than pouting, she went home, ordered fabric and “made lemonade,” she said.

She now is full-time at her part-time hobby designing and manufacturing 100 percent cotton aprons and wristlets. When asked how business is, she said smiling, “It’s all good.”

More information can be found at the Discover Roxbury website: www.discoverroxbury.org/holiday-gift-show.