Ben Carson opened the doors to his eclectic shop, The Nest in Tremont, last September, and since then has gathered items from 23 local artists for a collection that is as honed as it is hodgepodge.
"I feel like we are absolutely 100 percent a family at this point," he says. "And that includes the clientele who come in. They always point out how great it is that all of our stuff is completely local."
Chunky vintage button rings ($16.50) by Gloria Santore share space with generous wall-sized photographs of Cleveland landscapes by Greg Murray ($485). Quirky Cleveland greeting cards by Megan Donnely ($4) featuring real hometown images, such as a front door of a Tremont home, rest on a shelf.
You don't need a pedigree to show your work at The Nest in Tremont either. Carson relies on a couple of his artist friends to help curate the goods on display. "No one is out of the running to showcase their things. It's fair game for everyone," he says.
And that's exactly how Carson built up his collection — by asking around. But first came the location, which he discovered while at the Taste of Tremont last year. He was charmed by its aluminum ceilings and vintage fixtures, so he called and secured the space.
"I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with the shop at that point," Carson admits. He had befriended some artists and began to wonder why there weren't more stores to display all the talent here.
So he posted an ad on Craigslist to find artists. One of the first to respond was Karla Fitch, who creates crocheted miniature animals ($9-$30). "There's a little girl in the neighborhood who pops in to say hi," Carson says. "She has 19 of those animals."
If you hear laughing while you're there shopping, Carson says it's probably someone looking at one of Barry Gott's whimsical prints, which puts faces and legs on Cleveland landmarks ($10-$30).
"I've had a few people take those home and send me pictures of where they hang them."
When You Go
The Nest in Tremont
2379 Professor Ave., Cleveland,
Tremont Tails is the go-to for people who go ga-ga over their pets. Find doggy chaise lounges and kitty couture, or even arrange for a photo session with your fur child. 2406 Professor Ave., Cleveland, 216-443-1111, tremonttails.com
shops & boutiques
12:00 AM EST
July 18, 2012