The first ArtSpace tenant is now one of the last to vacate . Friday’s sale at marks the last day teachers, parents, artists and anyone in need of recyclable materials can stop by to find treasures.
When Owner Sue Blandford first moved into Crestwood Court, she truly believed the opportunity was like Christmas and the mall was Santa Claus. She was in a small 675 sq. ft. space with 5 ft. ceilings in an alley. Mall representatives and the Regional Arts Commission allowed her to pick whatever space she wanted in the mall. She chose space 108. She now is housed in a different 6400 sq. ft. space that used to be occupied by Victoria’s Secret.
“The rent is very cheap—a fraction of what I paid before,” Blandford said. “For me to be able to store all this stuff and to pay (a minimal) monthly fee, in customers helping themselves, they are helping me. They have allowed me to grow and continue to offer my program. You see everything as a resource that other people think is trash.”
As tenants who moved in after Blandford have vacated one by one, she said that she tries to keep occupied so she doesn’t get sad.
“I feel like I needed to be here with these people and we just started being a collective that really cared about each other,” she said. “As people left it was really hard to watch them leave. As much work as it’s taken for me to get out of here I haven’t had time to be sad.”
After Friday’s sale, which has an admission fee of $25 for a no-pound limit (prepay admission fee online by clicking here), SLTRC will have two centers open to the public located in St. Patrick’s Center in St. Louis City and in Chesterfield. Private locations will continue in at Sperreng Middle School in the Lindbergh School District and in University City. Other items not taken on Friday will be recycled or donated. Blandford also hopes to travel with a local walk-on recycling center.
But for this week, Blandford is concentrating on the sale and reminiscing a bit about her past at Crestwood Court.
“This kind of was an incubator for first-time business owners. The seed that was planted here was humanity,” she said. “Goodbye and thank you to Crestwood Mall. With their help and generosity we have grown by leaps and bounds.”