AR Workshop to open Satuday
AR Workshop opens Saturday in New Hanover
NEW HANOVER » A friendship and a shared interest in crafts and DIY — do it yourself — has resulted in a new business.
AR Workshop is a new franchise business owned by Michelle Shilling and Kelly Elliott. The business, located at 1810 Swamp Pike, Suite 200, in New Hanover, will officially open on Saturday, May 19, with an open house scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m.
AR Workshop is a DIY studio offering hands-on classes where participants create home décor items using raw materials like wood and canvas. Among the projects are wood plank signs, framed signs, canvas pillows, round signs, lazy Susans, centerpiece boxes and canvas tote bags — all of which can be personalized.
Think Chip and Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” fame, “rustic farmhouse,” said Shilling.
“It has an industrial, rustic vibe — classic but casual,” Elliott added.
The opening of AR Workshop marks the end of a process that began in December — a process that included finding a location
and then a complete remodel of the 1,590 square foot space.
“There isn’t a lot of retail space around, so there wasn’t much to choose from. Ideally we were looking for an open shell, but we came back to this place,” Shilling added.
The space had originally been an office. Since taking possession in March, the pair — working with their husbands and some friends — took down walls, ripped up carpet, built furniture
and shelving, laid a new floor and prepped the space.
In addition to the workshop itself, there is a storage area, rest room and kitchenette.
The outside of the building resembles the other office suites in the complex. Once inside, however, customers are transported to an upscale workshop – complete with power tools, sample projects, work benches and project paint colors. Lights and decorations reflect the company’s
signature aqua color.
The overall feeling, according to Elliott is “homey.”
“It feels like you’re walking into a friend’s house — you can relax, have a good time and build something,” she said.
The AR Workshop experi-
ence is suitable for small or large groups of friends (up to 30 people) date nights and family outings. The workshop can also accommodate birthday parties, bridal showers, team parties and team building activities.
AR Workshop projects are easy to do in the instructor-led workshops, according to owners.
“You can come in with no knowledge and leave with something you never thought you would be able to make,” Elliott said.
Workshops are by reservation only: customers register online for a date and time, and select the project they want to complete.
The registration tells Elliott and Shilling what material and vinyl stencil to pull for each project.
“When they arrive, the table is already set up and the project is sitting in front of their seat, ready for them to put together,” said Shilling.
Each workshop session starts with an instructor sharing basics about the tools, while assistants at each table stand ready to answer questions as customers work on their projects. A woodworking project class lasts about three hours, while a canvas project class lasts about two hours.
AR Workshop paints and stains are water based and nontoxic, with no harsh chemicals according to Shilling and Elliott.
The new business partners live in the same neighborhood and had gotten to know each other over the years. The pair built on their own interests when deciding on a business.
For fun, they went to an AR Workshop in Newtown after seeing a Facebook ad.
“It was the vibe. We just loved the details. It was warm and inviting and every detail was thought of,” Shilling said.
At first, the pair didn’t realize the business was a franchise, but quickly began asking questions.
“On the way home we just kept talking about it,” Elliott said.
After talking it over with each other and their spouses, Elliott and Shilling decided to move forward.
Once they decided to open AR Workshop, Shilling and Elliott said they knew it had to be in New Hanover, because an experience like AR Workshop is “desperately needed,” according to Shilling.
“The reason we love this spot is there are so many new developments and there’s just nothing to do. Everything is at least a 20 minute drive,” she said. “That was a big draw to this area, because there’s such a need for something closer where women can relax.”
“There are no date night places either. You can go to a movie — but you can’t talk,” Elliott added. “At least in a setting like this you have the opportunity to talk and laugh while you’re doing a project. It’s a win-win — a romantic date night and you get to do something fun.”
The pair said there is a “buzz in the community” about the opening, which they said is exciting.
So far, their marketing has relied on Facebook, Instagram and word of mouth.
“The buzz grew quickly on Facebook — within three weeks we had 2,000 followers. It was insane,” Shilling said.
The pair said they wear their AR Workshop shirts when they go out and carry brochures with them.
“It’s crazy that we’re at the grocery store and people come up to us,” Elliott added.
Saturday’s open house will feature information about AR Workshop. There will be small projects each hour, and refreshments.
Regular hours for AR Workshop will be Wednesday through Sunday. Classes will be scheduled Wednesday and Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday morning and evening; and Sunday.
Additional classes may be added during the summer, according to Shilling. Class schedules, pricing and registration information is available by checking the website.
AR Workshop is a BYOB, so customers can bring beverages and snacks to their class.
“HGTV Magazine” will sponsor a special weekend July 20 and 21 at all AR Workshops across the country. Information and registration is available online.
For more information about AR Workshop visit https://www.arworkshop.com/gilbertsville/ or https://www.facebook.com/arworkshopgilbertsville.
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AR Workshop is a DIY studio at 1810 Swamp Pike in New Hanover where customers can make home decor items from wood or canvas. Shown here are owners Kelly Elliott, left, and Michelle Shilling. The studio officially opens May 19 with an open house from 6...
Employees of AR Workshop in New Hanover pose with some of their own creations. The staff recently held a training to prepare for the May 19 opening of the studio.
In the AR Workshop studio, customers can make home decor items using wood or canvas.
AR Workshop has a seating area and coffee station. AR Workshop is also a BYOB business.
Employees of AR Workshop in New Hanover recently held a training to prepare for the May 19 opening of the studio. The studio will host an open house May 19 from 6 to 9 p.m.
AR Workshop co-owner Kelly Elliott is seen with some examples of projects that can be done to celebrate weddings.
AR Workshop co-owner Michelle Shilling is seen with some examples of projects that can be done.