Longtime vintage shop in downtown to close; Arts Center gives details on planned annex

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

The Blackbird Trading Post, 8 W. Ninth St., is pictured in August 2021.

There are many side effects of the pandemic, and at least one of them involves a calendar, a longtime downtown retailer has found. The Blackbird Trading Post is closing after nearly three decades in business, and its owner said the pandemic definitely played a big role.

“We were closed for a coupe of months,” owner Cynthia Trask said of the earlier days of the pandemic. “I slowed down during that time, and then I realized how old I am.”

Now, Trask will close the antique shop, located at 8 W. Ninth St., at the end of day Tuesday. Trask said the store has been open for 27 or 28 years. The store got started as a booth in the Lawrence Antique Mall, then had its own space on Massachusetts Street near the Urban Outfitters building. It has been in its Ninth Street location for the last 17 years.

Not bad for a vocation that actually started in junior high school.

“I just feel like I have grown up doing this,” Trask said. “In junior high, I would buy and sell to friends, mainly vintage clothing.”

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

The interior of the Blackbird Trading Post is pictured in August 2021.

The store today does carry some vintage clothing, but that is just a small portion of what Trask packs into a relatively small space. This week the store’s shelves included items such as antique silverware, feathers from a really large bird (half off, although the bird would argue they are all the way off,) bead work, fossils, old photos, a basket full of road maps and a shadow box of mermaid art.

“I’m all over the place,” Trask said of the store’s offerings. “I try to respect everything and every form of vintage.”

But for the final days that Trask is in the building, she is switching it up. She’ll be featuring new pieces of art. After the store’s closing on Tuesday, she’s going to clean out the building and then host paintings from her husband and local artist Gotfred Beardshear.

Plans call for that showing to last from Sept. 12 to Sept. 25. And then, the Blackbird — yes, Trask’s birdwatching hobby inspired the name — will roost somewhere else. However, Troost said she doesn’t plan to migrate from Lawrence.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she told a customer. “I’m just not going to be downtown every day.”

•••

People who love the arts — especially performance and dance — will have one more place to go in downtown Lawrence.

As we reported earlier this month, the Lawrence Arts Center has filed plans for an annex location at 1000 Massachusetts St. I’ve since heard back from executive director Margaret Weisbrod Morris and now have a better understanding of the project.

The annex will be in the old Laugh Out Loud Children’s fun center, which has an address of 1000 Massachusetts, but the space is really on 10th Street, around the corner from Massachusetts.

Morris said the Arts Center has rented space for a number of years to host some programs that it currently doesn’t have room for at its downtown home at 940 New Hampshire St. In the past, the center has rented space in the old Eagles Lodge building, and it currently has space in a converted warehouse building near Ninth and Delaware streets.

When the space near 10th and Massachusetts became available, Morris said the Arts Center became interested in seeing if it could strike a longer term deal to occupy the space to host both theater and dance classes.

“This will be a longer term situation for us,” Morris said. “We always have been roaming around looking for commercial space that fits. We need to have a space that is safe for kids, and a place where parents can wait. This just really nailed it. We are excited about being there long term.”

The location is just around the corner from the Arts Center, with the city’s large parking garage near each building.

The plans filed with the city show one classroom for performing arts and another specifically for dance, which will include special flooring, Morris said. The plan also shows a lounge area for parents or others to wait during classes.

Morris said she hoped to have classes in the facility by January, but she said the timing was uncertain given some supply-chain issues in the construction industry.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World photo

The space at 1000 Massachusetts St., which is slated to become an annex location for the Lawrence Arts Center, is shown in August 2021.

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