Danville city officials joined officials from several organizations, including the Danville Regional Foundation and Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, on Friday afternoon in celebrating the grand opening of River District Artisans at 411 Main St. in the heart of the River District.
Operated by The Arc of Southside, the store will offer items such as handmade sock monkeys, quilts, dog blankets and other products made by the center’s intellectually-disabled employees.
“What better way to celebrate the holiday season than the opening of this store on Main Street,” Mayor Sherman Saunders said in a keynote address. “They could have chosen anywhere in Danville or Pittsylvania County, but they decided to locate here in the River District. In doing so, they showed their support of the development taking place in this district and their desire to be part of the momentum that is being experienced.”
The building at 411 Main St. was built in 1920, and it was most recently used to house the second location for the Meredith Gravely School of Dance. The Arc purchased the Main Street property in order to relocate its Hatcher Center Outlet Store in Blairs.
Martha Walker, board president for The Arc, thanked the Danville Regional Foundation for its guidance and financial assistance in the purchase of the building and the needed renovations.
Walker talked about the history of The Arc, which provides educational, occupational and residential services for the intellectually disabled. In 1954, the Hatcher Center opened on Shelton Street. In 1989, it moved to the Blairs campus and expanded its product lines, including sock monkeys and dog blacnkets.
“All of these products were made by individuals who some people had discounted, but not The Arc,” Walker said. “And now today, we have this gorgeous Main Street boutique.”
In addition to the boutique, shoppers will be able to come into the store and watch the artisans make the products sold there, Walker said.
The store’s hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.