Just across Oak Street from Homeward Realty is Branch Out. I sat down with the owner, Mike Waters, to see what this fun place is all about….
Homeward: How did Branch Out get started?
Mike: Well, there was a family that had owned it before us. They had taken a trip to the Denver area and while they were there, they went to a paint class and ended up talking with one of the owners about this neat idea. That was about 5 years ago, before a lot of paint studios had come to Central Arkansas. So, they came back and opened this up and had the idea of the little boutique in the front. It’s kind of nice because a lot of paint studios don’t offer that. It’s nice to have the boutique for when we are not doing paint classes, and also have it here for when people do come to paint they can shop too. We offer painters 20% off when they are here. Anyway, we got into Branch Out a little over two years ago. I think it was the very beginning of December when I saw they had posted that they were shutting down. I read all of the comments that were posted of people being disappointed that they were closing their doors. So, I emailed them and asked if they were considering selling it. I got a response that yes, they would be taking names for interviews and I told them I would be interested. I had the interview and after the pool was narrowed down, we placed our bids. I know the previous owners really wanted to keep it close to the same business. They were big on community service and other things, so I shared with them my ideas I had on that. They called and said they chose us to take over, so we stepped in and here we are! Kind of funny how it all worked out. Here I went back to school all those years, spent all of that money, and here I am. I really like this because people who come in here are happy and it’s a fun atmosphere to be in.
Homeward: Have you had any interesting clients?
Mike: Not yet. We have John Daly’s Steakhouse coming in behind us, so I am hoping that maybe someone comes by to see what’s going on. I have had a lot of people come through here that I’ve known in the past. One lady came in and told me “hi” from an old Fraternity brother of mine in the 80′s.
Homeward: What do you like about being downtown?
Mike: During the summer, or on a good weather day, there are a lot of people walking around downtown. We are not really a final destination for people as far as clothing needs, but we do get a lot of people that are just walking around to other places. The Downtown Conway Partnership does a lot of little events that bring quite a few people in. We do pretty good on small business Saturday and the holiday open house events. And of course, Toad Suck Daze. That’s a really good week for us.
Homeward: How many different options are there to paint at Branch Out?
Mike: We have about 250 canvases and probably 80 or so different wooden ones. We usually try to add at least 2 or 3 new ones a month too.
Homeward: Wow! That’s a lot! Do you come in and the project is already drawn out, or is it a blank canvas?
Mike: It depends on which one you are doing. Some have the complicated parts drawn, while others are plain for you to do the background first, etc.
Homeward: Are all of the canvas paintings the same price?
Mike: Most of them are $20-$35. We also do some couple ones where they each paint a canvas and when you put them together it completes the picture.
Mike showed me around the studio and all of the different options to create. Everything from a fish bowl, to a Razorback, to a beach scene, to a colorful cow. The wooden door hangers are fun too!
There are several different ways to paint at Branch Out. They offer birthday parties, bachelorette parties, church events, sorority events, family days, and so much more! Take advantage of the open paint nights/days to fuel your inner Picasso and create a masterpiece.
Check out their Painting Calendar here to register for paint sessions.
If you come by Homeward Realty (1125 Oak St. Suite 306- In the Halter Building, above Senor Tequila’s) March 2nd and 3rd from 9:30am-1:00pm you can snag a “Buy one- Get one FREE paint class” coupon for Branch Out. This is the perfect way to try Branch Out for the first time. Come see us!