Once a Bank, Lawrenceville Market House Gears Up for Grand Opening

The co-working retail space includes up to nine business stations, including Black Cherry Design, Storehouse Neutral, and Shop Emily M.

Lawrenceville is about to experience the ultimate in retail mania.

Lawrenceville Market House — a former bank turned collective retail hub — is holding its grand opening from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday. The celebration includes live music, food and cocktails to welcome the plethora of small businesses to the co-working retail space on Butler Street.

Once a Citizens Bank, the building has been divided into nine business stations of varying sizes, including one located in the former money vault. Companies will be able to rent a station on a month-to-month basis and customize their section. Each space also will have its own lockable storefront.

Brian and Irwin Mendelssohn — the brothers behind property development company Botero Development — imagined the project three years ago. Brian Mendelssohn says the idea was born when he and his brother were brainstorming ways to keep local retail alive in Lawrenceville, noting it has become increasingly expensive for retailers to have their own space in the trendy neighborhood.

“As an investor in the neighborhood and a resident of the neighborhood, I really wanted to make sure that local retail thrives,” Mendelssohn says. “If we removed all the barriers that come with small retailers renting a space, it would enable them to prosper.”


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Although the building has nine stations, seven retailers will be present for the Market House’s grand opening. The retailers — including Fat Cat Chocolates, Authentically African by Moa, Black Cherry Design Shop, Oliver’s Donuts, Storehouse Neutral, Shop Emily M. and Material Books — specialize in home goods, food and beverages, fashion and art. Mendelssohn says he is excited to spotlight the retailers, among them the business founded by local illustrator Emily McGaughey.

“Shop Emily M makes these Kawaii stickers that are adorable. They’re almost video game-style,” Mendelssohn says. “Every product [Emily] makes is so cute.”

One of the most noteworthy features of Lawrenceville Market House is that its architecture remains that of the original 1980s-era bank. Mendelssohn says he admired the building for years; when his company redeveloped the building, he made sure to maintain its Mid-Century Modern vibe.


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A post shared by Lawrenceville Market House (@lvmarkethouse)

“When we were able to take the building all apart, we complemented the bones of it with a lot of woodwork to add to the Mid-Century Modern feel,” Mendelssohn says. “To me, the woodwork makes Lawrenceville Market House look like it was built in the ‘60s in Sweden in Stockholm.”

Mendelssohn says he hopes to create a lively atmosphere at Thursday’s event, adding he is thrilled to revive old-fashioned, in-person retail through the Market House.

“As a small retailer, you’re kind of told that you have to go online. But that’s not why everyone wants to do retail,” he says. “People still want to have that direct customer interaction. Some of our retailers have an online retail presence, but that’s not their focus — they want to be a traditional retail store, which is cool.”

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