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Shepherdstown storefront to ‘Evolve’ into marketing space, antique shop

By Staff | Apr 19, 2019

Evolve will open this month in the former storefront for The Now and Then Shop, 106 W. German St. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN – As Shepherdstown prepares for an increase in tourism with the arrival of warmer weather, one empty storefront is being filled with a new business along German Street.

In January, The Now and Then Shop vacated its location at 106 West German Street in January, leaving its prominent storefront near town square in need of a new occupant. The space was quickly taken off the market by Shepherdstown residents Jan Hafer and Elise Baach, and will soon open its doors to the public, according to Hafer.

“Elise Baach and I are opening a shop on German Street, and I think it’s kind of a unique concept,” Hafer said. “We’re going to have a marketing space, and we’re going to rent the space out to people who want to have an art show, who want to have a pop-up shop of their own or who need space on Gemran Street where they have a business where they want walk-in traffic. The sky’s the limit!

“The concentration of foot traffic is right here, so we think it will be a coveted space and the fact that it is accessible is important,” Hafer said, mentioning the business will be set up to allow room for a wheelchair to maneuver inside, and will also have a wheelchair ramp at the front door.

The overall business will be called Evolve, recognizing the space’s ability to be rented for a variety of purposes. Renters of the space will be able to advertise their business on a black board in front of Evolve or place signs in the store windows.

“We’re going to have a grand opening and a ribbon cutting cermony, actually, on April 27,” Hafer said. “Our grand opening is the weekend of the House and Garden Tour, which thousands of people go to. We picked that weekend to open our shop, because we get a lot of traffic anyway.

“We have two houses in Shepherdstown that will be part of the tour this year – the Ayraud house and Trinity Episcopal’s old rectory. Our church sold the rectory about a year ago, and the couple that bought it has been asked to put it on the house and garden tour,” Hafer said, mentioning having the new location of the rectory added to the tour should ensure traffic to the new business.

While Evolve will accept reservations throughout the year, it will open its doors next weekend as the home to Hafer’s and Baach’s antique pop-up shop, Contemporary Heirlooms.

“When we look at an item, we look at price, quality, visual appeal and something that’s probably a priority for us, is portability. That way, packing up the pop-up will take only a few hours,” Hafer said. “We go to all kinds of tucked-away shops and buy things online. We don’t take consignments, but if someone has something they think we’d like to buy, we might buy it.”

While Contemporary Heirlooms is hoped to be a successful venture, Hafer said she hopes the space will be rented out the majority of the time. And, considering the increasing popularity of pop-up shops, which are less-expensive alternatives to renting out a permanent business location, Hafer thinks Evolve will become a sought-after, affordable location.

“Our hope, as more entrepreneurs and artisans learn about the space, is that they will want to try it out. We have so many creative people in Shepherdstown,” Hafer said, mentioning the space can also be rented out for parties, classes and meetings.

For more information about renting the marketing space, email janhafer52@gmail.com.