Last summer, Jenny Bendis Goe, artist and owner of Jewelry by Jenny
, was touring Coventry with Angie Hetrick, director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District
. Goe, who has lived in the area for her entire life, was heartbroken by the amount of vacant shops at the top of the hill.
So, Goe made it her mission to transform the vacancies to thriving storefronts, starting with her own. She contacted landlord Lewis Zipkin in August, and after some persistence and a business plan, Zipkin agreed to lease Goe former Phoenix Coffee space.
In January Goe opened In the 216
, a store that features not only Goe’s artwork but the work of nearly 60 other local artists.
Last Thursday, May 28, Goe officially held a grand opening for In the 216 – offering more than 200 guests food, drinks and a look at some of the works for sale at the store. “There are 58 small businesses represented here,” says Goe. “I have works from $2 to $3,000.”
Goe decided to postpone the grand opening until she had her bearings and the weather improved. “It was a little nerve wracking when we first opened up, but all of the Coventry veterans are right, it’s gotten increasingly better,” she says. “I feel like Coventry is just the perfect place for this. Business has doubled, if not tripled since we first opened.”
next door served food at the grand opening, and encouraged guests to come have a drink on the patio, while burlesque star Bella Sin
welcomed people on the street. The event was a success, with both familiar faces and strangers in attendance. “It was fantastic, it was wonderful,” Goe says.
In addition to her husband, Steve, Goe has two of the artists helping her out in the store, and just had two high school seniors interested in pursuing art perform their senior projects at In the 216.
Now Goe is moving ahead with the next part of her vision for the empty space on Coventry. “I’d really like to see exhibits in the [former] Strickland’s Custard space,” she says. “Not just for artists. I hope anything we do will encourage businesses to open in the empty spaces.” Goe has a few artists in mind who would like to exhibit in the space and is talking to Zipkin about her plans to implement exhibits or studios in the area.