Inside Business: ACO - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Inside Business: ACO

The white bicycle in the window is the first sign that ACO isn`t your typical retail store. Instead of showing off clothing or accessories, this store, otherwise known as A Creative Outlet, shows off ideas. Owner Stephanie Smith says she did not want to open a traditional retail store, but rather a different kind of marketplace.

"When you come downtown to shop you`re looking for that unique experience, something that you can`t find anywhere else and that`s one of the things that we wanted to focus on is that unique shopping experience."

Think of ACO as a blank canvas that will showcase the work of different artists on the days they`re open.

"We`re looking to host different artists as well as uniquely made items from myself as well as other people in the area," Smith said.

Smith`s business associate and fellow architect-in-training, Blake Preszler, is operating a somewhat more traditional retail outlet in the same space, but with a different twist. Some items you can find in stock and purchase are these t-shirts and hats with a simple word, but a deeper message, embroidered on them.

"A lot of our stuff that you see is kind of invoking the sense of the prairie and trying to get younger people in North Dakota to start thinking about what is North Dakota to us and really trying to advertise it`s good to stay here and think big," Preszler said.

When Preszler first started PLOW, he and his partners weren`t sure what it would turn into. But it`s taken off, and new prairie-inspired products are constantly being developed. Smith and Preszler hope to use their new downtown store space to showcase locally produced artwork and market it to a younger audience.

"Steph and I collaborated on this space and we`re kind of using it as a venue to experiment and actually have a physical venue. The tangibility of online, you can`t compete with this," Preszler said.

The two creative minds hope this small space will bring big ideas for people. Whether they`re looking to buy something unique, market a product, or just come away with a few ideas about something, they too can stand out from the crowd.

The first event at ACO will be May 2, 3 and 4. They`ll be open just three days a month, but will offer completely new products every time.

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