New basics

‘It used to be such a lively place with about 38 different shops,’ recalls a local. But as foot traffic began to dwindle, so did storefronts. And with inheritance taxes so prohibitive that it forced younger generations to sell their properties ‘now only 6 shops remain.’ But a local design firm is trying to change things and breathe life back into the street.

Owan Inc is design firm headquartered steps from the shotengai. They specialize in web and graphics but their real bread and butter is what they call ‘creative business design.’ In their own words, ‘Owan’s objective is to create businesses that the we want to be involved in.’

In 2011 they opened Pedra Branca, a cafe that was born from the simple desire ‘to create a space.’ It was located along the Miyakawa Shotengai. In 2012, again along the same shopping street, the team launched Mr. Coffee. And now their third venture, a rice shop called Okomeya has opened for business.

‘We don’t need a big shop,’ said Owan, perceiving the limitations as an advantage, rather than a disadvantage. ‘We would rather have a modest-sized shop to maintain one-staff operation.’

And so became Okomeya, a shop that integrates with the community and finds sustainability in its passiveness. When staff has to leave the site for a moment they ask neighboring storeowners to keep an eye on the shop. ‘Such small help between shops is crucial in maintaining small-sized businesses on local shopping streets,’ explains Nagasaka. ‘these small shops are supported by the shopping street, and simultaneously the shopping street is reactivated by their success.’

Spoon & Tamago, Okomeya: a new specialty rice shop that wants to bring an old shopping street back to life

Love this, interested to see if it works out.


Also, this:

Everlane hosted its first annual Black Friday Fund, where instead of running a traditional post-Thanksgiving sale it decided to invest 35 percent of the day’s revenue in ‘improving the lives of the workers at our silk factory.’ The brand had raised $113,928, and the money, per the workers’ request, would be going toward greening their recreational area and installing a basketball court.

The Fader, How Everlane turned hipsters basic