For Lisa Davis, David Kulikowski, and Karis Peake, the Greenville area has long lacked a niche for purveyors of vintage and antique items, producers of handcrafted and repurposed goods, and artisans to meet in one space.
“There’s antique stores. There’s consignment shops… but there wasn’t really a place where you could mix all of these things together at a consistent location,” Davis says. “You’ll have markets here and there, but there’s none that’s at one place, constantly, all the time for vendors to be able to show up of all different types of crafts.”
Enter The Main Collective, a new marketplace located at 1 E. Main St. in Taylors. Founded by Davis, Kulikowski, and Peake, the collective includes an indoor-outdoor market held every other Saturday and a brick-and-mortar store with select vendors that is open by appointment.
Currently, The Main Collective has 23 outdoor market vendors and five permanent vendors in the brick-and-mortar space. The indoor vendors sell antique and vintage items, refurbished furniture, and small collectibles, while outdoor vendors carry goods ranging from handmade candles and soaps to handcrafted jewelry and homemade food.
“We wanted a good mix where someone could walk in and find something,” Peake says, regarding the vendors housed in the brick-and-mortar space. “Not all midcentury, not all farmhouse, not all salvage. We wanted a really good balance, and we were very fortunate to have the right people apply and get in.”
Davis, Kulikowski, and Peake hadn’t originally planned on opening the collective as a trio. In fact, they had never previously met until just a few months ago. A mutual friend and a few others first brought them in for the project, but they all ended up backing out, leaving Davis, Kulikowski, and Peake on their own. Despite that, the three decided to move forward together and signed a lease for their building on May 1. It was a fairly quick turnaround; the first Saturday market was held June 17.
“We didn’t know each other well, but we got along, so it worked out,” Peake says.
Founding The Main Collective gives Davis, Kulikowski, and Peake the opportunity to not only provide a unique platform for local artisans and makers but also expand their own personal ventures. In addition to their full-time jobs, the three co-founders each have creative side projects. Davis has previously collected antiques and wants to revisit her hobbies of woodworking and repurposing. Kulikowski is a carpenter and constructs furniture and cabinets. Peake sells vintage items on eBay and Etsy.
Although the trio didn’t actually select the building that houses The Main Collective — that move was initiated by their mutual friend — they all agree it’s the perfect location.
“It’s so close to Greer, so close to Greenville. It’s really easily accessible without tons and tons of traffic,” Peake says. “It worked out to be what we probably would have chosen had we hand-selected after careful planning.”
The three decided to open the brick-and-mortar store by appointment only for two key reasons: They didn’t want to hire someone to constantly be at the store, and limited hours keep overhead costs down, which is ideal for both vendor and customer.
“We’re trying to make it to where we’re not charging fees on what people sell, so they’re not having to put a huge markup on their items,” Davis says.
“We want them to run their business from our business, instead of us run the business and have to charge them,” Peake adds.
To make an appointment, an interested buyer contacts the vendor based on what they have listed on their individual Facebook, Instagram, or Etsy page. Then the vendor gets in touch with one of Davis, Kulikowski, or Peake to open the store.
Future plans for The Main Collective aren’t yet solidified, but the three co-founders are already “getting a lot of feedback from vendors and customers,” Peake says.
Suggestions for future opportunities have included opening the brick-and-mortar store during the same hours as the First Fridays art gallery crawl and the Thursday evening Taylors Farmers Market. But for now, the major focus is to make the community aware of The Main Collective’s presence and introduce people to the Saturday markets.
Ultimately, the trio hopes that The Main Collective contributes to the revitalization of Taylors and complements other neighboring community entities like Taylors TownSquare and Taylors Mill, Davis says.
Greenville, she adds, is “growing very fast, but beautifully, and keeping a lot of the integrity. That’s what we hope for this area — that it expands this way as well, and that we piggyback together.”