It’s time for another Customer Corner Feature here on the blog. For today’s episode, we are VERY excited to be featuring Volume One & The Local Store in Eau Claire, WI. It’s hard to sum up all of the incredible good these guys are doing for their community, but we asked manager Lindsey to try her best. Read on to see what she said, and don’t forget to visit their website, Facebook, & Instagram pages!
Volume One is a publication, online presence, event company, video production company, retail store, and more all focusing on culture, entertainment, and happenings in the Chippewa Valley. All the moving parts of the organization interact and work together towards the mission of bringing culture and presence to our community.
The idea was conceived by two local guys, Nick Meyer and Dale Karls, in November of 2001 with a series of heated discussions about Eau Claire arts and entertainment, what to do with their free time, and the publishing world. Work began on the first issue (a small, 24 page, black and white magazine) right around Jan 1st of 2002, with 2,000 copies hitting the streets in mid-March of 2002.
Since then, the look, content, and goals of the magazine have gone through dozens of changes with one thing remaining constant – its mission. Volume One is here to help people enjoy the cultural riches of the Chippewa Valley and to entertain them in the process. Now residing in a great downtown space, printing 14,000+ copies, distributing at more than 400 area locations, and reaching an industry estimated 45,000 readers – Volume One is poised to make its mark on the Chippewa Valley and help launch a creative revolution.
We also serve up more than 3 million page views online every year through VolumeOne.org. Publishing since 2002, Volume One has an enthusiastic and engaged readership, and has always been focused on bringing interesting local culture forward in the Chippewa Valley. Our signature events are outside-the-box concepts that consistently bring out thousands of people hungry for something new, and our downtown retail space – The Local Store – offers thousand of local products and hosts more than 100 events each year.
The Local Store
The Local Store was originally opened by Volume One in November of 2010, as of the summer of 2012 The Local Store was relocated and now occupies the first floor and courtyard of Volume One’s World Headquarters at 205 N. Dewey Street in downtown Eau Claire, WI. It’s a full-on retail store featuring apparel, books, music, art prints, glassware, gifts, garden gifts, foodstuff, local beer/wine/spirits, and more – produced by, for, and/or about people in this community. All merchandise somehow evokes a sense of place in the Chippewa Valley, Wisconsin, or the Midwest in general. Many artists, writers, businesses, and creators of the Chippewa Valley use The Local Store as a retail outlet for their goods, and Volume One’s own creative team creates many of the products we sell. Wherever possible, our own product lines are designed, sourced, and printed in the Chippewa Valley.
Take a hip historic space and fill it with fun products and friendly staff – that’s the formula. With more than 5,000 items – products either created by local craftspeople or products simply evoking a Wisconsin way of life – The Local Store has become THE stop for authentic local shopping. An impressive array of unique gifts – all with a high ratio of exclusive product lines you just can’t find anywhere else, period – all produced by, for, and/or about people in this community. Love Eau Claire? So do we. Love Wisconsin? Yup. This is your shop.
Basically, The Local Store started as just an idea for our front desk/office space in our old building when people were looking for some of the locals’ books/music we were writing about in the magazine. We also had some great designers on staff that had ideas for some cool local T-shirts and those are the things we started to sell. When we moved into our larger office building in 2012, the concept of The Local Store blossomed from there and we had space to really start turning it into its own thing.
Visitors and shoppers can expect to be greeted by a friendly staff in an amazing historic space filled with a unique array of items evoking a strong sense of community pride. We really focus on the experience as a whole for people shopping at or visiting The Local Store vs. just the items we have in the space. We also love to promote and feature the makers, craftspeople, and artists that we get to work with via ‘meet the maker‘ signage, videos that play in the store, and in-store visits as often as we can.
Its really about the whole encounter from start to finish and ensuring that everyone is coming and going on a positive note. We really try to go above and beyond to ensure that everyone not only feels welcome here, but also has a great experience discovering local makers, exploring the space, and feeling like they’re truly a part of our community.
The gallery space in the store also serves as a spot to showcase local/regional artists and provide a space to support local creatives. It’s a multi-use space hosting art shows and receptions, music performances, book readings, film screenings, and a variety of talks, parties, and meetings.
The vintage space features high ceilings, old wood floors, exposed brick walls and full A/V capability including an in-house sound system, adjustable room and stage lighting, and a projector/screen combo. We also host an annual print sale in the space focused on selling affordable, mostly unframed works, the sale features more than 500 pieces of 2D work on paper from nearly 100 artists. It includes screenprints, woodcuts, mono-prints, and other traditional print forms, as well as quality digital prints of illustrations, photos, and more.
What makes Volume One / Local Store special?
Besides the unique gift/locally made items we offer plus the overall experience of shopping at The Local Store, I think that Volume One as a whole organization has a distinctive ability to propel our community forward.
We have, along with countless partnerships and collaborations from other local groups and individuals, have been able to bring new ideas and experiences to our community that it hasn’t seen before. I think that we’ve been able to enrich the way this place exists and bring the talent and culture that is substantially present here to the forefront. We rely heavily on our community contributors and other groups/individuals in town to make that happen and couldn’t accomplish anything without that support. And we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
We just wrapped up a major expansion of The Local Store in the past few months by nearly doubling the shop-able space in our building and adding a ton of new product categories such as beer/wine/spirits, cheese/sausage/snacks, pottery/home goods, outdoor items/plants/garden gifts, pantry goods/giftable foodstuffs, kids stuff, and more. To our prior product selection, we’ve added 25+ local food vendors, 15+ local beer/wine/spirit makers, and 15+ local makers of goods such as pottery, glassware, wood turned items, and more. We’re so excited to have the space to recognize all the local talent! We’re also planning on continuing that expansion into the holiday season with further expansion into our gallery space (just for November & December)
As for Volume One as a whole, the sky is the limit. Right now, we have a major focus on expanding the offerings/capabilities of our video production department so we’re continuing to grow there in a serious way with big projects.
We’ve also been focusing on expanding the community events we create and/or sponsor. With the addition of a full-time event coordinator in the past couple of years, we’ve been able to do that by adding three more large scale annual events (among those listed above) and will continue to do that where we see the need.
MORE STUFF WE DO HERE:
Video Services / Volume One Tickets / For the Win (Giveaways) / Partner Content
Volume One Events: Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, Chalkfest, Winter After Hours, Chippewa Valley Restaurant Week, True North, Food Truck Friday, The Best Night, The Great Big Hullabaloo
Volume One Publications/Guides: Volume One, Chippewa Valley Family, Eat Scene, Student City Guide, Check Out Chippewa Falls
Other Yearly Things We Do: Best of the Chippewa Valley Poll, Chippewa Valley Vanguard Awards