June 10--Handmade plates, soaps, books, jewelry, kids' items and artwork hang from the walls and adorn tables made of old doors and fence posts in a new gift shop that prides itself on its "made in the U.S.A." inventory.
About 95 percent of the store's products are made by artists in the U.S., said the store's owners, Kim and Mike Hite. The remaining few products are from India and Istanbul, through free-trade agreements.
Art and Soul, at 1101 N. Wilmot Road, in the Trader Joe's shopping center, has between 350 and 400 works by 45 artisans, 10 of them from Arizona, available for sale. The majority of the shop's products are priced at less than $25.
Kim, who also owns and runs the Mane Street Salon next door, acts as the shop's buyer, hand-selecting each artist.
"I'm not trained as a buyer," Kim said. "But I'm a gal, and I love to shop. What could be better? I have equipped myself with knowledge of other stores and enough variety, so it's fun for everyone."
The couple opened the gift shop after renovating the space for about $6,000. To keep costs down, all of the display tables were made by them out of old doors they got at the Goodwill, Habi-Store or wherever they could find them.
"The first art that came in the store, we did," Mike said. Items are also hung from tri-fold doors and even a bed frame attached to the walls of the nearly 1,000-square-foot shop.
Art and Soul accepts art submissions from local artists to sell on consignment. The shop and the artist each get 50 percent of the sale. And Kim gets to know each of the artists she features, so she can share their stories.
"It's just so cool because you can come in here and I know a story about each of the artists," Kim said. "It's been such a fun experience, and a lot of work."
Contact reporter Angela Pittenger at 573-4137 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @CentsibleMama or on