Exciting things are happening in historic Old Town Peoria. There is an art-forward movement and the area is in the midst of major revitalization. Visitors and locals alike are treated to more diverse dining options, entertainment, shopping, arts and culture.
Two local creative entrepreneurs—Stacy Martinez and Tracey Bentley—have been an integral part of the revitalization. The two women opened The Grand Project Shoppe, a retail store-front that welcomes local artisans to converge, create and sell their wares. The store features 2500 square feet of space including a retail gallery and a studio where they hold workshops and classes.
“We were inspired to open the Grand Project Shoppe to create a gathering place for creativity, a place where these talented folks could make and sell their wares,” said Martinez. “We have a desire to give the community an opportunity to support their friends and neighbors and keep their dollars in their own communities and we also want to provide hope, light and inspiration through the arts.”
The space currently features the works of about 50 artisans and vendors. Shoppers will find eclectic and colorful pieces such as furnishings, fine art, pottery, handmade jewelry, apparel, accessories, vintage pieces and culinary goods, all beautifully merchandised.
Martinez and Bentley met two and a half years ago when both were vendors at Past Present Decor and More, a nearby shop that has since permanently closed. Their meeting was fortuitous and the pair quickly discovered that they shared a joy for creating and a passion for art. Each had the idea to open a new creative retail space and both had an interest in the the space that would eventually become their first location. They took the leap and in August 2019 they opened up the first Grand Project Shoppe location on Grand Avenue, a second, pop-up location followed at Park West. The Grand Avenue store just celebrated two years in business last month with a weekend full of festive activities.
Entrepreneurship and community revitalization seem to be the Bentley family business. Her son, Luke, owns the nearby coffee shop, Driftwood. Her son and daughter-in-law, Micah and Ashley, own Mod Desert, a high end décor and furniture store just a few doors down from Grand Project Shoppe.
Bentley began a career in interior design and worked in her mother's firm. She'd always had a creative side and found a kindred spirit in Martinez. Both women enjoy refurbishing furniture and decorating, which translates well into their business. They work tirelessly to create a beautiful space of art and inspiration. Their passion is evident in the store's merchandising displays and curated pieces. They enjoy meeting local artists, hosting classes and even creating their own work to sell.
“Our shoppers have a one of a kind experience and can expect to see amazing art,” Bentley said. “We focus on curating very unique pieces.”
The Grand Project Shoppe proudly carries Fusion Mineral Paint, a much sought-after paint product popular within the art community. Bentley notes that their store is the only place in the area that carries the paint, and one of just a few who carry it in the greater Phoenix area. They revere this paint so much that they hold regular workshops to teach customers how to use it.
Other classes held in the studio space include ceramics, decoupage, and a variety of other hands-on, craft-oriented workshops.
In addition to the workshops, both locations host monthly story times for children in partnership with Axion Church and Peoria Public Library.
“We also work with local author, Anna Lynn Sardella, who reads to elementary aged kids every third Saturday of the month,” said Bentley. “We do it because in order to revitalize a community, you have to create a community.”
The Grande Project Shoppe is definitely worth the drive to 8217 West Grande Avenue. The Park West Pop-Up is located at 9744 West Northern Avenue.
For a full list of classes and more information about The Grand Project Shoppe visit TheGPShoppe.com.
We were inspired to open the Grand Project Shoppe to create a gathering place for creativity, a place where these talented folks could make and sell their wares.
The Grand Project Shoppe proudly carries Fusion Mineral Paint, a much sought-after paint product popular within the art community.