Rachel Baird and Krista Melone have worked hard to breath new life into a business that has been serving the Lincoln City area for more than four decades.
Late last spring, Baird and Melone purchased the Red Cock Craftsmen Outlet at 1221 NW Highway 101, and since then, they have made it their own, rebranding the business as the Red Cock Artisan Marketplace while at the same time, retaining the original flavor of a shop that features the unique work of artists and craftsmen.
The Red Cock was originally opened in 1972 by Laurel Dannen, who operated it until her death in 2016. The business had been up for sale for quite some time before Baird and Melone happened to walk through the door in May of this year.
“I had never been in the store, but the name had intrigued me,” said Baird, who had moved to Lincoln City from the Boise area. Her good friend, Melone, also from Boise, was coming to the coast for a visit, and the two decided to visit the Red Cock.
“When we walked in, that incense smell and all of that reminded us of one of our favorite stores in Boise,” Baird recalled. “So we were oohing and aahing and looking at all things and then came around the corner at the register, and I said, ‘I need a job here.’” The clerk behind the counter slid a flyer in front of them and said, “‘It is for sale, you can just buy it,’” said Baird. “We talked with her and jokingly discussed what we would do if we bought it, throwing out random things about what we would do.”
Baird said she kept that flyer and put it on her refrigerator at home. The following day, Baird and Melone, who are both photographers, did a photo shoot on Siletz Bay, after which they returned home exhausted and muddy.
“We came back and started drinking whiskey and planning,” Baird said with a laugh. “We got the flyer off the refrigerator, and we started writing. We mapped out where we would put things in the store, where the coffee social corner would be. She (Krista) designed a new logo with a peacock feather instead of a rooster, and we fiddled with the name, throwing out words and came up with the Red Cock Artisan Marketplace.”
The next day when they woke up, they looked over the business plan, map and logo. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Even sober, this sounds like a very good idea,’” said Baird.
“It was six weeks from the day that we found out it was for sale that we closed on the purchase. I went home and started packing,” said Melone. Baird added, “The ball just started rolling and never stopped. When she went back to Idaho, we were on the phone or emailing every day.”
When they first took over the store, they worked on selling off the remaining merchandise. Then on Oct. 1, they closed the store to do a complete remodel, spending at least 10 hours a day over the next several weeks to bring their vision to life. “We immersed ourselves in the store and each other, and we’re still very good friends,” said Baird.
On Oct. 25, they reopened as the artisan marketplace.
“We knew going in that we wanted to cut back a little bit on the clothing,” Melone said of their plans for the store. “We think it’s really important to keep the clothing and the jewelry, but we wanted to refine it a little bit. One of the big things is we wanted to be able to offer new things seasonally for people, and when you have too much, that’s not a possibility. With a smaller selection, we’ll be able to bring new things in every quarter, which was important.”
As far as identifying who and what they wanted to bring in, “we kind of made a list of what we saw working, existing in the store, what we might change,” Melone said. “We knew we wanted to add some children’s items, like clothing, handmade toys. We are able to connect with companies for items that are still handmade by a single person or small family, and get their products at a wholesale price, which we thought was really neat.”
Baird and Melone wanted to bring the Red Cock back to its roots, featuring local and regional artisans. In recent years, the store had began selling more imported items, and although they may still carry some imported goods, anything brought into the store will have to be a fair trade item.
“We really focus very strongly on, besides just aesthetics, the Bohemian, modern hippy look,” Baird said. “We also are very strongly attracted to the raw and the natural, and that more organic look, so that’s something we’ve tried really hard to bring in.”
One of the first items they searched for to bring into the store was handmade macramé, which they later learned was the same type of crafts created by the original owner, Laurel Dannen. So in a way, that kind of brought the shop full circle.
“That was a really fun connection for us because we had never met her,” Melone said. “We wanted to get a really unique mix of things in here. We have items that normally people might have to drive to Portland or Seattle to get, and we really wanted to bring that to the coast and give people something a little bit of different. We looked specifically for people with handmade stuff that didn’t have a visible presence in a store and asked them if they’d be willing to sell wholesale or consign to us.”
One section of the store is being devoted entirely to Lincoln City artists. “Since we have so many tourists, we thought it would be neat to feature artists of the area,” said Melone. “Rather than just coming in and getting a Lincoln City T-shirt, they can get something that is unique to this town.”
They also have plans to feature children’s artwork. “We’re going to let kids come in, and each one’s going to be able to specifically make a piece of art and sell it in the gallery,” Melone said. And the children who create the artwork will be given the money when it sells.
More information about the Red Cock Artisan Marketplace can be found online at www.redcockmarketplace.com and on Facebook. Melone is also working on the website to include bios of the individual artists, as well as a listing of their products.
The Red Cock Artisan Marketplace is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 every day except Wednesday. The telephone number at the store is 541-921-2750.