Rock & Shop Market Founder Brings Creative Cool to Downtown Cary

Indie-Hybrid Space Will Support N.C. Artisans with Unique Work / Shop / Learn Space, and Kick Off with Aug. 30 Grand Opening

CARY – After founding spaces and events to support North Carolina designers in downtown Raleigh and Durham, Michelle Smith is set to open a new coworking space to support indie makers, in a handsome storefront in downtown Cary. The hybrid space, named Gather, will support creative entrepreneurs, artisans and makers through collaborative work spaces, business and design classes, in addition to a boutique and coffee shop open to the public.

“DowntownCary is a charming rural oasis in the middle of the otherwise thriving Triangle,” said Smith, the founder of popular annual event The Rock & Shop Market and the short-lived but inspired downtown Raleigh space Kindred. “Downtown Cary is a sleepy, walkable area to house our space, with less competition and more room to create a dynamic environment that appeals to creatives.”

To celebrate, Gather will host a grand opening in its store and patio garden Friday, Aug. 30, from 6 to 10 p.m., kicking off a pop-up shop featuring local designers Jordan Grace Owens, Christina Nicole Studios, 440 Gentleman’s Supply and Haand Ceramics. Food trucks Chirba Chirba and Lumpy’s Ice Cream will be on hand, along with coffee cocktails from Gather’s in-house coffee shop, Grounds.

After the grand opening, Gather will house the office studios of Vieux Vintage prop rentals, Amaris Photography, Salty Oak quilts and seamstress Becca McCoy, and the showroom of Michelle Smith’s own products. In addition, creative artisan entrepreneurs (photographers, web designers, event planners, product designers, etc.) can register as coworking members for access to space, free Wi-Fi, 15% off classes and use of conference and classroom space. Gather’s lineup of classes will cover DIY, gardening, food and business and promotion intensives geared towards niche artisan entrepreneurs.

“Emerging artisan entrepreneurs have different needs than fledgling tech companies, and Gather is meant to be a space to foster, promote and train these niche artisan entrepreneurs,” said Smith. “However, these niche entrepreneurs still benefit from networking, collaborating and training, but in an environment that reflects their own artistic natures as they work to get their products sold in stores such as Anthropologie and touted by Martha Stewart.”

After the opening, the public can shop the space during public hours from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. daily, along with access to coffee and tea from Raleigh Coffee Company and Tin Roof Teas. Details on hours, class details and registration can be found at or