Amanda Swanson was tired of moving her products around from craft show to craft show. She was making flowers and floral arrangements but wanted a permanent spot for herself.
Swanson was at a holiday party when she was asked if anybody there wanted to rent a space at the Westgo Square complex in West Fargo. Swanson, who was working right nearby with her mom at Priced Right Optical, says she didn't even connect the dots right away but then the wheels started turning in her head.
With not much time to prepare, Swanson took up the opportunity. She opened up Crafters Square last November.
"I thought maybe I could rent that space and do this," Swanson said. "It came really fast, but it's been really fun."
Crafters Square, a 2,400 square-foot space in Westgo Square, is a home for local crafters to display their products like woodworking, crochet, flowers, gift baskets, handmade painted items and a variety of other things. There's about 20 different booths with different crafters who have contracts for different amounts of time, but Swanson said people come in and want to stay. Even Girl Scouts have come to sell cookies to customers.
Swanson still makes her flowers and wreaths. She also makes live flowers and live floral arrangements. She said products change depending on the season. After getting done with Valentine's Day, she said she and others have moved onto creating for spring and Easter. Swanson hopes to start crafting classes on the weekends soon.
"If (people) want to find local, special and unique handmade gifts," Swanson said, "we're the place to go."
Swanson, who's from Fargo, moved back to the area three years ago to help her mom at Priced Right Optical, which her mom has owned for 29 years. Swanson was running her own optical location in Colorado for about 20 years until her mom needed help back in her home state. Her brother, Swanson said, is now helping out as Swanson turns her focus to Crafters Square.
"Running a business is nothing new to me," Swanson said, "but every adventure you're on is a little scary."
December provided good profit but January was slow, Swanson said, which made her vendors nervous. However, February picked back up, so Swanson said she was breaking even after about three months. In fact, Swanson sees herself possibly opening a Fargo location in the future.
The most challenging part of running the location, Swanson said, was getting word out about Crafters Square in a less traveled part of West Fargo. But the location, Swanson said, was optimal because there's nowhere in that part of town that offers similar kinds of shopping.
"We're trying to have a lot of variety," Swanson said. "It's a little something for everybody."
Swanson didn't have much time to think out a business plan for Crafters Square and wondered if she could pull it off.
But Swanson said she's thought about her own location for a while after going to other local crafter locations. She believes she's on the right path.
"I thought about it for a long time, but I never thought I could get it going," Swanson said. "It all just seemed to fall on my plate. I think it was something I was meant to do at this time."
What: Crafters Square
Where: 405 W Main Ave, Unit 5C, West Fargo
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Phone: (701) 388-9109