Just up the street from the now fenced-in corner where Westville’s Delaney’s Tap Room and Restaurant once stood, stands Barrage Designs, Westville Center’s newest business.
Owned by Alysia Southern, the enterprise was introduced to the area in conjunction with the Project Storefronts Urban Seed [ ] Ponics Lab pop-up last March. The shop, which held a grand reopening celebration on Sept. 5, specializes in “a unique blend of vintage, up-cycled and aesthetic materials”—primarily items which have been curated from society’s consumption and discard cycle, which are then re-purposed and given new life.
Southern said many objects that seem to have exhausted their usefulness, when re-imagined, become more purposeful and beautiful than they were to begin with.”
Southern’s ecology-centric approach to up-cycling was the subject of a recent WTNH Good Morning Connecticut segment, in which she expounded on a philosophy that goes beyond aesthetics. “In the world of design, I believe the solution is found in the reallocation of goods and materials already available to us within our local communities,” she said.
Southern said that she learned a lot since the “incubation period” following her initial, abbreviated Project Storefronts introduction last spring, and is coming to the business from a “fresh angle.” Sandwiched between The Sixpence Pie Company and Soho Hair at the intersection of Whalley Avenue and Blake Street, Barrage Designs promises to be more than a gift shop or place to discover one-of-a-kind furnishings and accessories.
Starting in October, a series of “how to” classes will be offered at the shop, as area artists and artisans demonstrate and teach their specialties in a dedicated space at the shop. Emblematic of Southern’s community engagement is a small, colorfully painted “leave one—take one” bookcase that sits outside the shop. Southern said she was approached by someone in the community with the idea and materials; books are already being exchanged.
Elinor Slomba,Project Storefront’s program director, attended the grand opening. She said that Southern’s introduction and inclusion of other Project Storefront vendors, as well as the work of local artists and artisans, will have a “multiplier effect” as it creates new opportunities for entrepreneurs to feature their creative work and ideas. One of Barrage Design’s specialty items resulting from the networking, will be shop’s custom gift baskets featuring fresh coffee, handcrafted soaps, growable seed papers, hand crafted relishes, condiments, and postcards, part of the growing list of goods and services by Project Storefront entrepreneurs.
Southern is a recent recipient of the “Creative Capitalist” award from the Business Insider New Haven. Her home design consultations will also extend to merchants wishing to tap her design expertise. Interested parties can also contact Project Storefronts for help with merchandising and beautification of existing storefronts.
“We are seeing local warehouses and manufactures beginning to link up with community action groups and non-profits to help evaluate and redefine what gets discarded and how,” said Slomba. “Alysia has managed to bake that idea into her business model.”
For more information about the store visit the Barrage Designs website.