In a quirky, old building with the color scheme and architecture of a homey ranch house, Kelly Tuit has designed a retail store that you could practically sit down and read a book in.
From tabletop décor to creatively designed kitchen supplies to handcrafted candles, jams and artwork, Gather-d, at 46 E. Bridge St. NE in Rockford, is the perfect place to shop for all your party-hosting needs. Plates, coffee mugs and cheese boards are displayed on tables with each detail and design carefully chosen to create the welcoming vibe that Tuit wants her customers to feel.
“To me, it’s about gathering people and helping you gather, so whatever we put into the store for retail is to help you gather with others,” Tuit said.
Gather-d also offers a rental space and a studio to give people the opportunity to host an event in an environment curated for the perfect party. Whether it’s a bridal shower, birthday party or an art workshop, Gather-d offers a unique space to bring friends and family together. Tuit has always been a huge supporter of local creativity and wanted to create a place for people to allow their inner artist to shine.
So far this summer, the studio space has been used for art workshops led by local artists with another one scheduled for Tuesday called Sculpting 101.
“I was an art teacher for many years. I am also a local maker and that’s what I’ve done for almost five years with my dad,” Tuit said. “I’m all about supporting small businesses and local makers.”
In partnership with local artist Theresa Anderson, Tuit plans to debut an art gallery as part of the gathering space and studio to showcase and sell local artwork. Tuit said she hopes to have the art gallery open by late fall with plans to hang local and original artwork for six weeks at a time.
“The word ‘gather’ has been my word forever,” Tuit said. “I love the idea of getting people together. So, when I opened my store in September, in the middle of a pandemic, I was like, ‘OK, this just has to be the word.’ I was trying to give people hope that we would still be able to gather.”
With the uncertainty and craziness of opening a business during a nationwide shutdown, Tuit certainly has made Gather-d a place that emulates comfort and companionship.
“I feel like we’re outgrowing our space already, but we’ve got lots of cool things up our sleeve yet,” Tuit said.