Some cool words to attract customers images:
Six Word Stories Window Graphics III
Images from the ‘Six Word Stories’ project run by Multistory in Unit 23 shopping centre window.
The Sandwell Arts in Queen’s Square project has been set up to support economic growth and aims to attract new customers and business to Queen’s Square Shopping Centre while promoting local artists and encouraging everyone to get involved in the arts.
Keep an eye out for the changing displays in the empty shop windows from local artists and community groups and get involved in some of the free arts activities organised in Shopping Centre.
Join the Sandwell Arts Facebook page – www.facebook.com/sandwellarts
Judeo-Christian Hippie Store & Art Gallery
We didn’t get a chance to go inside and meet Daniel Botkin, the artist who owns the store. I liked the name of the store and the logo when I saw it across the street while we were waiting at a red light.
Gates of Eden
129 E Washington Street
East Peoria, IL 61611-2527
Artist Opens Judeo-Christian Hippie Store, Art Gallery
By Nick Stroman, East Peoria Times-Courier
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
East Peoria, Illinois — A unique religious-themed store and art gallery has opened in East Peoria to recapture the “hippie generation” of yesteryear.
In July, artist Daniel Botkin moved Gates of Eden out of its location by Bradley University and opened a new spot in East Peoria last month at 129 E. Washington St., next to Bamboo Inn. Botkin said he was able to find the same amount of space for cheaper rent in East Peoria, but the main motivation was to attract more customers.
“With Bradley University, it’s so dead around there when school is out, and that can affect you for four months or a third of the year,” Botkin said.
He added he also lives in East Peoria and the new store is only a five-minute walk for him.
“Business was also very sporadic for me in Peoria, and I plan to do radio and newspaper advertising this time around,” Botkin said.
Botkin said one purpose of Gates of Eden is to act as an outreach center for the Messianic congregation.
The congregation of more than 50 people meets every Saturday at a Methodist church in Peoria they rent for Bible study and worship, but the center in East Peoria is still open for mid-week events, activities and meetings.
“This gives us a more visible presence in the community and a place where people can find us during the week,” Botkin added.
Botkin said he also decided to drop Messianic from the name of the store and call it a “Judeo-Christian hippie store and art gallery” instead.
“I think the Messianic part confused and was a bit meaningless to some people who didn’t know about our faith. Plus, the word ‘hippie’ catches more people’s attention,” he said.
“I consider myself to be a Judeo-Christian hippie with Biblical morals and a Protestant work ethic. I might even be one of the first East Peoria hippies,” Botkin added, with a laugh.
Botkin said Gates of Eden features many Israeli-imported items a customer would not be able to find in mainstream stores, and Christian and Messianic-themed tie-dyed T-shirts, jewelry and books.
There is also religious music for sale, including albums made by Botkin, who also plays the guitar.
“At this location, we are able to have a greater variety of items that appeal to many more people, so we can get customers in the door,” he added.
It is the Biblical-themed artwork featured on the store walls that will likely catch the casual customer’s eye, though.
Botkin studied art at Illinois Central College and Illinois State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art.
In 1995, he began exhibiting his work professionally and received several national awards and grants.
“The Bible really inspires me, so a majority of my work carries that theme, but I have some Pink Floyd stuff, too,” Botkin said.
The artwork currently on display at Gates of Eden includes oil-based canvas paintings and mixed media pieces, featuring pistachio shells, crayon, fabric and string.
Botkin said he plans to rotate local artists on the walls of the store or will feature anyone who can deliver their pieces to East Peoria, since the cost of shipping artwork is expensive.
Botkin said while he would love to turn people on to the Judeo-Christian faith, customers are also welcome to stop by and sit and read a book.
“I realize the library is right across the street, but maybe people want to have some coffee and tea while checking out our literature,” he added.
Botkin said in addition to his advertising campaign, he plans to open the store on the night of the Festival of Lights parade to bring in more foot traffic.
However, Botkin said he is hoping to attract more than just hippies like himself.
“Rednecks are also welcome to stop by,” he added, with a laugh.
Gates of Eden is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on weekends and Jewish holidays.
Stroman, Nick. "Artist Opens Judeo-Christian Hippie Store, Art Gallery." East Peoria Times-Courier. 8 Oct. 2008. <http://www.eastpeoriatimescourier.com/news/business/x1985674859/Artist-opens-Judeo-Christian-hippie-store-art-gallery>