“We actually didn’t go through that hard time at first,” she said. “I think now it’s in the last couple of years when we need this real community support to really show up again.”
What you need to know
- Beach House 5317, which Jamie Edwards opened in Gulfport during the COVID-19 pandemic, is home to 30 artists
- The company opened in August of 2020 and recently celebrated its second anniversary
- Edwards launched an online store to help increase sales
Beach House 5317 sells painted furniture, art, vintage clothing, jewelry, crystal, home decor, and other gift items. Edwards said her specialty is furniture painting, and she shares her experiences with others.
“I taught several of the artists in the shop how to paint furniture as well, because I can’t do it myself,” she said. “It’s very therapeutic paint furniture.”
Edwards said she loved helping people thrive and renting space in her shop to about 30 other local artists who didn’t have anywhere to sell their crafts.
“I love bringing out new, young and unique talents, as well as well-known artists, to give everyone a chance to have stone and mortar for sale in them,” she said. “We’ll be introducing featured artists for a month. We’ve had people who have been here since we opened.”
Artist Hannah Kirkpatrick said she was grateful to rent a corner in the store to sell her coordinated clothes.
“It definitely really helps, because people can come in and try things out, rather than just having to get out of the measurements and look at them online,” she said. “I think it was a great move to open up a space to host other artists to help them.”
Edwards said in August of 2020, she saw the building available and spoke with his wife to sign a lease.
“I happened to be driving past this store and saw the ‘Rent’ sign and called my wife and said, ‘Hey, do you want to open a store?'” Edwards said. Do you think it is time to do this? “I said, ‘If we open now and can get through this crazy period of time, we’ll be great on the other side of it.'”
She said business has been rising steadily since it opened, and last month Edwards launched an online store to help drive sales. She said it’s an unusual move in the industry because all the items sold are “one of a kind” and uploading photos takes a lot of work.
“Most of the companies in the industry, they don’t have a website like this because it provides a lot of extra support for artists,” she said. “Most people don’t take the time to do that.”
With so many artists sharing the space under the same roof, Edwards said she checks everyone to make sure they’re a good fit for the art store.
“I don’t believe in competition – I always believe in collaboration, as well as anything else,” she said. “So, to be allowed into the store, you have to agree that you are not in competition with anyone else. You are your own person. You will participate, you will learn.”