By Brandon Gould

For two years the space sat vacant.

Most walked past it without a second glance, not even noting its existence. While others ignored the empty storefront, which used to house the Under the Moon restaurant, one Bordentown resident saw opportunity.

Walking around town, Marina Echavarria said the storefront at 316 Farnsworth Ave. had always caught her eye, and now she’s hoping it will catch everyone else’s when she and her partners open ShowCase! A Holiday Collective, a holiday pop up shop.

“Holiday pop ups are huge in urban areas like New York,” Echavarria said. “You also have Microsoft popping up with stores now, Nike does it as well, and I’m like, ‘Why can’t we pop up?’ I just said let’s bring this concept to Bordentown.”

Echavarria, who is originally from New York, is hoping that the shop, which will be open from Friday, Nov. 23 to Dec. 31, will bring together local artisans and the Bordentown community as a whole.

“I wanted to do something community-based because I was embraced by this town and I have embraced this town,” Echavarria said. “I never thought me, a New Yorker, would acclimate the way I did and I just love it and I want to give back.”

The location is set to feature jewelry, pottery, knits, furniture, home décor, candles and other gift items created by local artisans, artists and crafters from Bordentown and the surrounding areas.

After having an epiphany, Echavarria posted her idea online and was connected with one of her partners, Roya Alaie, via Facebook. Alaie shared a similar post to Echavarria’s with Bordentown residents and the two decided to “meld” their ideas.

Once they came together, Echavarria said there was no doubt that she would call her other partner, Cindy Bassett. According to Echavarria, Bassett is a “visual design genius and can transform any space into magic.”

With over a dozen vendors already in place, who specialize in everything from jewelry to alpaca goods, the trio is working on creating an environment “where items and people can shine,” according to Alaie.

Bassett has been leading the charge in accomplishing this concept and although she “has no nails left,” the shop is starting to take on an identity.

“(The design) was just taking highlights of the space and taking into account all the different kinds of products and vendors that we have coming in,” Bassett said. “We’re trying to make it so that this space doesn’t outshine what (the vendors) have to bring, but were also trying to keep it modern and make it so people enjoy the space.”

All three partners have been on the lookout at craft shows for local artisans who would like to have their work displayed on a consistent basis. Everything in the shop will be for sale and will be presented so that they pop out and engage customers.

“I think the idea is that you’ll come in, be surprised and then want to walk further into the store and see all that products that are here,” Bassett said.

On opening day, the doors to ShowCase! were set to be unlocked at 10 a.m., where the store was set to feature music, food, face painting, a cotton candy machine and other activities throughout the day.

Moving forward, Echavarria hopes that the store can host meetings, children’s activities, tea parties, wine tastings and any other events that allow residents to socialize. While ShowCase! is only being tested as a holiday pop up shop for now, Echavarria says she and her partners will gauge the interest and ultimately aspire to make the shop a permanent fixture in Bordentown.

“We want people to get out and socialize,” Echavarria said. “This town gets a little sleepy at night and I want it to be an excuse for people to come out.”

Showcase, A Holiday Collective is located at 316 Farnsworth Ave. in Bordentown City.