A Passionate Letter to the Mayor of Raleigh

We love our customers. 
We have struggled to get local coverage and we appreciate whenever our fans go out of their way to support us.

I just had a customer march into my shop hopping mad. Why? She mentioned an article about another leather designer that was featured in that days paper and was upset that we were not featured.

As a result, she wrote this letter to the mayor.

Dear Mayor McFarlane,

I’ve read that you’re interested in helping to make Raleigh a destination city. Having lived in Raleigh almost 25 years I’ve seen the vision, positive action and influence of Mayor Meeker who helped the transformation of Raleigh from a boring little town to an exciting little city. True, we don’t have a river running through our city, but we do have yummy restaurants and some world class museums and artists. So maybe our ‘river’ is our streets that lead to our charming squares? If you’ve ever been to Philadephia’s Rittenhouse Square you’ll know what I mean. There’s a vibrancy at Rittenhouse Square that is missing from our squares, squares like Moore Square.

On Thursday, 2/27/2014, I took some friends to Busy Bee Cafe for lunch. My friends usually eat at restaurants within 5 miles of the Bedford subdivision where we live (North Raleigh). After lunch I walked them around some of the shops at City Market. We stopped by Lisa Stewart’s Shop at Blake Street Shops at City Market and were stunned by the artistry of her designs and the high quality of the leather she uses for her purses and computer cases. She talked to us about what we most value in a bag and she took notes. She’s going to email us when she finishes her new bag design so we can give her feedback. Lisa designs bags for her customers; size, color, type of leather, and design. It was a fun afternoon for three retirees—we got to talk to an artist and the best part is we know we’re going to love our Christmas presents this year.

So now to the bummer part. The morning of 2/27/2014 I remember seeing an article in the News & Observer in the Life, etc. section (page 1D) about a handbag designer in Durham. The article was interesting, it explained how the artist worked from home, was self taught and how she created her business. But you know something? She doesn’t pay rent. I can’t easily visit her studio. So for me her studio isn’t a destination. Besides, why would I want to go to Durham? My favorite destination is Raleigh. That’s why I wish Raleigh could find a way of capitalizing on its hidden people assets like Lisa Stewart. It’s likely she’s going to have to leave her space because her rent is high and her customer traffic is so low. Also. the women-owned art store across the street from the Blake Street Shops told us they’re closing in March. Is there anything you can do to help these local artists? Could you help to make a place like the empty Greenshields into a city sponsored/subsidized Torpedo Factory (in Alexandria VA, http://www.torpedofactory.org)? Are there plans that are in the works that will help Raleigh artists to stay in the city and help to make our squares fun shopping destinations?

Thank you very much for listening.


Robin Wright, President
Bedford Garden Club

Thanks Robin, for your beautifully written letter. Let’s hope your passion and conviction makes a difference.

If you’d like to see us get better-broader exposure, please feel free to write editors of magazines, newpapers, TV who would be interested in our story.

We love you all.

Lisa & Andrew

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