Best Inspiration in a Retail Setting - 2012
Believe it or not, the Phoenix arts district known as Roosevelt Row has been around long enough to have some actual history. And when people tell the story of how the whole thing started, they love to talk about Modified Arts, the music/arts venue that popped up many years ago in a nest of twinkly white lights that eventually put the spotlight on downtown. With all due respect to Modified's Kimber Lanning, there's another pioneer in the field (and one that's still going strong, while Modified has adopted a lower profile): MADE. Cindy Dach opened her little boutique in 2005 and — in a city where shops come and go with the seasons — she kept it going during one of the toughest economic times in history. That's because MADE isn't just a store (although that would be enough — we'd go there just for the refrigerator magnets!); it's a community gathering spot, both literally and figuratively. Dach hosts workshops and classes (full disclosure: New Times' Deborah Sussman and Laura Gill currently lead workshops there) and themed art exhibits (among our favorites, the artist-made salt-and-pepper show several years ago). The merchandise (much of it made by local artists) is constantly changing, and we find ourselves stopping by on a regular basis for inspiration – or any time we need an original gift. A bonus: In the years MADE's been there, an entire community of coffee shops, boutiques, salons and other businesses has sprung up near the corner of Fifth and Roosevelt streets, with Dach's little shop as its centerpiece. Thank you, Cindy.