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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Fourth Avenue in the new year

Aquamarine+Daydream+offers+a+variety+of+crystals%2C+gemstones+and+jewelry.
Jordan Chin

Aquamarine Daydream offers a variety of crystals, gemstones and jewelry.

As begins, there are many stores in the Fourth Avenue District getting ready for new merchandise and events. With businesses still in the throes of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, things are looking up as they get back into a new sense of normalcy. One of the many stores is &gallery, located at 419 N. 4th Ave., where business owner Cynthia Naugle is ready to get started.

“We had our shutdown, and I feel like a lot of us are still navigating what opening up looks like. Luckily everyone has been safe enough to start again. I am excited to see this new Fourth Avenue with the things we’ve learned from the shutdown, as well as the community events coming up,” Naugle said.

&gallery has just celebrated its first anniversary under Naugle’s management with panels geared towards the art community. Their Bad Religion show is coming up in February, a Toy show in March, April is geared towards Air Force 1’s and more. Panels, markets and the Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair are also in the future.

Naugle’s goal is to host different themes for the shows as a way to connect with the many different parts of the art community. She is also hoping to get the community heard through the art shown at the gallery.

“We are planning on doing more conventions and things outside of Tucson […] one of our goals has always been to take Tucson outside of Tucson. So doing these conventions outside of Tucson is really going to help everyone grow. We have a few things lined up for that,” Naugle said.

To Naugle, as long as people keep spreading the word about &gallery, the business will grow and be able to keep supporting local artists as more people hear about the shop. The upcoming Bad Religion show will have an opening reception on Feb. 4 and be on display until Feb. 28.

Just across the street lies Aquamarine Daydream, located at 408 N. 4th Ave., a metaphysical shop that houses crystals, jewelry, tarot cards and more. What started out as an Etsy business is now a blossoming business that is still expanding as the owner Lovisa Axtell has goals set entering the new year.

“We actually just moved all of our back of house and online sales into a new warehouse, which is something that I’ve been trying to do for nine months, and it’s just been really hard to find a space close to the store that was affordable. We’re going to be expanding the store another fifteen feet or so and adding some new surprises to the mix,” Axtell said.

One of the goals with the expansion is to host jewelry-making classes, tarot readings and other events. Axtell was gearing up for the gem show coming to Tucson as that is a big time of year for business and finding any more new items.

New arrivals include emeralds, rutilated quartz, tangerine quartz, smoky quartz and Lemurian quartz, to name a few. Axtell is also getting new jewelry and hopes with the expansion to have another jewelry case in the store.

“This year, I’m excited to step back a little bit and really see how we can make things better and more efficient for our team. In the back, when we were working at the store for all of our online sales, we were working in less than 400 square feet of room. Now we’re working out of a 3,200 square foot warehouse,” Axtell said.

Axtell is also glad she was able to give benefits like health care to her employees. She’s also excited for the Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair.

Right on the corner located at 411 N. 4th Ave., is Antigone Books, one of the oldest Fourth Avenue businesses. Founded in 1973, the business is coming up on its fifty-year anniversary with new goals and releases, according to Kate Stern, one of the owners.

“One of the authors I enjoy the work of, Fernanda Malchore, just or will soon come out with a new essay collection. Luis Alberto Urrea is coming out with a new book this year, which I think will be huge. He’s the author of “The Hummingbird’s Daughter.” It’s been a while since he’s come out with books, so that will be exciting,” Stern said.

One of the first events that Stern mentioned Antigone Books was hosting is an event with local author Mary-Frances O’Connor. She has released a new book titled “The Grieving Brain.” O’Connor will be reading and signing the book as it is being released in paperback format.

Stern also mentioned that there would be a “Blind Date with a Book” promotion soon for Valentine’s Day. She said that tentatively with every purchase over $10, the customer gets a free book.

The new year brings new hopes and goals for many local businesses as they continue settling in to a world affected by a pandemic. Some business owners, like Stern, are excited for try new things.

“New year’s resolutions: Probably to be a little bit more involved in the community in the aftermath of [COVID-19] just because we haven’t been able to do as much in-person stuff. I’m really hoping to be able to say yes to more things this year, even if it’s just a few things,” Stern said.


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