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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Artistic Independence

After taking a trip to Orlando, Florida, last year, Evansville native Jesika Ellis stepped off the plane back home and sent a text message that would change her life.

For years, Ellis and her close friend Amber Knight, the text recipient, shared the same dream of opening a retail shop featuring local and independent artists, but the timing never was right.

“We would always say, ‘We should open a shop together,’” says Knight, a fellow Evansville native who attended North Posey High School and Ivy Tech Community College for interior design. “We were sort of joking about it and then it started to be, ‘No, really, we’re going to open a shop together.’”

“I had gone to Orlando, and visited several shops similar to what we were going for with the aesthetic,” says Ellis, a Bosse High School graduate who holds both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Evansville. “Seeing it actually in front of me and being able to walk through it, I saw that it could be done and we can do this. I sent Amber a text right away and said ‘business meeting now.’

“I had a now or never kind of feeling. I had been through a divorce (in 2014) and a lot of things had changed.”

In August, the pair leased a house owned by The Rug Merchant, which had previously been used as storage. During the next five months, Knight and Ellis cleaned, painted, and rebuilt parts of the space before opening Ellis & Knight Curated Goods on Dec. 5 at 1015 Lincoln Ave. in a block sometimes marketed as Old Towne.

“Seeing it come together throughout the last several months has really been fun,” says Knight, who also splits her time working as a training and development specialist at Woods and Woods Attorneys. “When we finally got it together and saw the reaction from people, it was really satisfying. The shop has far exceeded what they expected.”

Ellis & Knight Curated Goods sells small inventory, one-of-a-kind fine crafts, art, home goods, jewelry, accessories, stationery, and more from around 30 local and regional artists. The store is open 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

“In making our own art, we never had a place we could go that wasn’t a craft fair or a temporary show,” says Ellis who works part-time as a development assistant at the Community Foundation Alliance. “People can enjoy this in more of a traditional shopping setting.”

For more information about Ellis & Knight Curated Goods, visit facebook.com/ellisandknight.

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