Norfolk’s Vibrant Spaces competition is bringing great ideas out of the woodwork.
One of these is George Arbogust’s proposal for an architectural salvage and upcycling center in the NEON District – a unique retail space offering distinctive, salvaged building materials. Once he has a solid footing, he hopes to grow into creative reuse of related materials, such as industrial scrap for artists, educators, and other crafters.
A salvaged building supply store would be unique in Hampton Roads, and could be a regional draw. An MBA who has always liked getting his hands dirty, George came to the idea for a salvaged building supply store while renovating 3 older homes.
“Where could I go for materials?” he said. “There’s a place in Richmond, and others in Roanoke and Raleigh. But there’s so much good stuff that ends up in the local landfill.”
As part of its Vibrant Spaces program to support street-level retail, the Downtown Norfolk Council is vetting and supporting new business initiatives. The top 6 entrepreneurs will take home $20,000 and discounted rent to help establish their start-ups.
Talking with George, it’s clear that he cares about the NEON District and a more vibrant Granby.
“I’m trying to take to heart the mission of the competition, to be more than just a store,” he said. “We’re going to build a real business, but the focus will be on community.”
Part of his phase 1 plan includes an on-site workshop, and consignment space for local artisans to showcase their upcycled efforts.
I’m rooting for George – but hope he gets healthy competition for his proposal to Vibrant Spaces (due July 8).
Also, please check out the Kickstarter page for George’s Architectural Salvage and Upcycling Center: