Throwback Outpost displays vintage clothing for women and men. (Photos by Ariel Meriwether/Carolina News and Reporter)
Vintage rock T-shirts, vinyl records and multiple owners greet customers at the entrance of Throwback Outpost.
Mingling in a maze of clothing racks are four business owners who became friends and merged their ideas under one roof.
“We all interacted a lot anyways and thought, ‘Why not put it in one place,’ and it kind of worked perfectly,” Throwback co-owner Alex Smith said as he leaned on a display case of sunglasses.
Throwback isn’t the only place that house various businesses under one roof.
For some business owners, it’s a way to launch. For others, it’s a way to cut costs. Throwback uses its shared space to save money. Other businesses, such as NoMA Warehouse, use their shared spaces to launch news businesses.
Smith and co-owner Mason Doane began Throwback with Peddlers Emporium and Blue Center Light after realizing their businesses would save on rent.
Each of them at the time were renting space at NoMA Warehouse, home to artists and creators.
“It was really to bring our cost of business down,” Smith said. “We looked around, and we were giving $2,000 in rent.”
Each business knew a single storefront was not the most effective decision, said Peddlers Emporium owner Nicolette Biran.
“There’s, like, costs like electricity and Wi-Fi and insurance, and there’s all these little payments,” Brian said. “We would be paying that separately if we all had one of these separate spaces, whereas now we have one bill and it covers everyone.”
NoMA was created in March 2021 as a co-workspace for local creators before it shifted to retail.
Many customers would inquire about having a full-time spot at NoMA even though it was not the owners’ vision for the workspace, NoMA owner Beth Lawson said.
“But so many people had asked us, we were, like, let’s just give it a try and let’s see how it goes,” she said.
With their vision moving in a new direction, co-owners Mazie Cook and Lawson offer more than just workspace. They decided they could attract people who want to launch and grow a business that would be separate.
“Our core is to be accessible not just for the community to come and shop,” Lawson said. “It’s for people who own businesses and say, ‘Oh, I think I would like to have a brick-and-mortar store.’ So this is a way to dip your toe in affordably.”
NoMA offers a flat rate of $500 a month for vendor space and $60 for a rack. It keeps 10% of earnings for administrative fees, Lawson said.
It doesn’t require vendors to have contracts.
“We just have rental agreements with everybody,” Lawson said. “Life happens. So I like to keep it a space that I would want to rent from.”
NoMA vendors take advantage of the exposure they get.
Errapel Wellness owner Tomekia Latoya has been a vendor for a year and enjoys the opportunities.
“Now I have my loyal customer base,” Latoya said. “People come here and support me all the time because I do have an actual space. People are willing to travel to me to get the things they need.”
Latoya plans to enjoy NoMA for as long she can before opening her own store.
“With my business, I do eventually want to own my own brick and mortar store,” she said.