And Big Thanks go out as well to travel guide Hip Green Scene which did a great multi-neighborhood Asheville article! Take a look in the West Asheville section & you'll see us & many of our neighbors as well!
Damond Gallagher didn't just open a business in West Asheville.
He's staging a show.
and his partner, Nora Yockey, have backgrounds in theater. So it's easy
for him to see a retail shop as a stage: You hang the lights, build the
sets, he noted.
Yockey and Gallagher recently debuted a new play
in West Asheville: Whist, an independent gift shop on Haywood Road. This
piece's cast of characters include fun and festive greeting cards, as
well as just-because gift items like jewelry, candles and pictures
The store is really a second act for the duo, who were
proprietors of Scaredy Kat, a card and gift shop in Brooklyn. "We just
jumped into (business ownership)," Gallagher said. "We both have design
background; have collected stuff. We started from scratch and built it
up over the last 14 years."
They will celebrate Whist with a grand
opening from 5-8 p.m. Friday. The event will include Permanent
Vacation, an exhibit of vintage arcade tourist photos from the duo's
Gallagher got his first taste of North
Carolina when he moved to Winston-Salem to attend University of North
Carolina School of the Arts. He studied lighting design and stage
management at the prestigious school, and worked in theater
professionally in New York after graduation.
His art background
shaped his aesthetic eye and introduced the Tar Heel state to this
Colorado native. "I traveled around a bit, but I never came to Asheville
during that time," Gallagher said. "I had a really great time."
after two decades in New York, Gallagher and Yockey sought a change --
and looked South to the state that had been his home once before. The
surrounding mountains and the vibrant community in Asheville called to
them, they say, especially reminding Gallagher of Colorado. They came to
visit friends last year, went to an Orange Peel show, and when they got
in the car, they felt like they should be driving to their house,
"We wanted a new adventure," he said.
of the lines have migrated with Gallagher and Yockey from Brooklyn, but
Gallagher also aims to incorporate more local artisans in the shop's
"For us, Asheville seemed to be the perfect combo of a creative community with the right-sized town," he said.
which is in the former Ship to Shore design studio, is smaller than
Scaredy Kat. This change has forced the duo to essentially streamline
the business and focus on what they do best, Gallagher said. "The space
itself really caught our eye," he said. "We wanted to try to build a
And they are that local clientele: They found a
house that's just three blocks away. "We get to walk home to make
lunch," he said.
Whist "has an emphasis on greeting cards, and
then some general gifts," he said. "It's a little bit of everything that
catches our eyes. We really look for the design of an item. ... We want
something that looks fresh and modern, and something that you haven't
seen in other places."
They also strive to keep the prices low: Cards range from $2.50-$5; candles, for instance, will run you $10-$20.
price tags welcome the sort of everyday gift, the kind of
I'm-thinking-of-you gestures that have so much value. I love it when I
get postcards in the mail and have made a habit out of sending my
boyfriend letters (mostly so he will be forced to check his mail).
think we all need more excuses to show people that we care with little
treats. I delight in the process of gift-giving; if I made a lot more
money, more of my salary would be dedicated to doing things such as
sending flowers to my mom.
Whist, with its fun, fab selection with
the right price, certainly encourages me to do more of those priceless
nice, little things. Two bucks at a time.