Heidi Kruger is bringing a bit of home to downtown Flagstaff.
Kruger moved Flagstaff General Store, the shop that she started with her mother and husband, from the edge of town to Leroux Street this summer.
From the outside, the shop -- tucked into the historic Raymond building next to Alpine Pizza on Leroux Street -- looks small. But once inside, the incredibly deep building features a kaleidoscope of vintage furniture, signs, home décor, books, art, kitchen stuff, kitschy stuff, jewelry, candles, soaps, canned foods, and new and used items.
They plan to sell beer and wine as soon as they get the permit from their old location on Highway 89 transferred to the new location. Kruger also carries paint from Anne Sloan that she uses to refurbish many of the tables and other unique pieces of furniture in the store.
Most of the new items come from more than 35 local artists, from woodworkers to painters and candle and soap makers. Each artist has to apply to have their items sold and displayed in the store, Kruger said. The store staff vote on each artists work to determine if it’s the right fit for the store. If it’s not the right fit, Kruger said she usually suggests other stores or locations that the artist might consider.
“It’s really a team effort,” she said.
Kruger, her mom and her husband opened the store on Highway 89 just outside of town in 2014. The store was modeled on the small town general stores that her mom grew up with. These types of stores carried a little bit of everything: hardware supplies, food, décor, etc. Her mom no longer works at the store.
“We just wanted to start with simple stuff,” Kruger said -- a mix of new and used items, furniture and stuff made by local artists.
She said they decided to focus on local artists because there’s “so much talent in town” and they wanted to support those artists. She estimated that about 70 to 80 percent of the store is items from local artists. The trio also wanted a mix of local artists, not just painters, but potters and sign makers and woodworkers, something that would showcase the variety of art that’s made in town.
Over the last three years, the eclectic mix of items in the store has adjusted and changed to what customers are looking for and Kruger expects that mix to change again now that she’s downtown. She’s still trying to figure out the right mix of business hours for the shop’s new location.
In its new spot, the store gets more foot traffic and more tourists shopping for knickknacks and small gifts to take home. At the old location on Highway 89, the clientele was more local and looking for the perfect item to finish decorating their kitchen or bedroom. Kruger said a number of people encouraged her to move the store downtown and the downtown business community has been very welcoming.
She hopes to restart the workshops on refinishing and restoring furniture, paint classes and other craft projects soon.