Ten local businesses open in The Churchill

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Ten local businesses open in The Churchill

10 local businesses have taken up residence in the newest community complex in downtown Phoenix, The Churchill.

Owners Hartley Rodie and Kell Duncan used a popular business model in which many businesses are in one center to draw in more people. The Churchill offers restaurants, bars, shops and community tables for seating.

The Churchill is made up of 19 shipping containers and each business occupies a container. The courtyard lies in the center of the businesses and offers a place for visitors to play corn hole, eat, drink and greet others in the community seating.

Rodie explained that the site is 14,000 square feet and the shipping containers are what make it possible to fit so many businesses in one area.

“The use of shipping containers makes a lot of sense, because our site is very small. We use the shipping containers to divide up the space. It allowed us to build density onto a relatively small lot,” said Rodie.

The businesses in The Churchill are The Brill Line, The Bread Winner, Foxy Fruit, Provecho, Probecito, Freak Brothers Pizza, Gather, Sauvage, State Forty Eight, and Cosas.

Marketing agent Angelica Ripson, 29, a customer of The Churchill, said she likes the concept because it offers a variety of choices for customers.

“It feels like you’re walking around the mall cafeteria outside. You can get a couple of different things,” Ripson said. “It probably gives stores an opportunity for foot traffic.”

Shop owner Julie Oberholtzer agrees. She and her husband just recently moved to downtown Phoenix after living in Guadalajara, Mexico, for four years and now own Cosas. They chose The Churchill as their businesses’ location, because they hoped the concept of business diversity would bring in an influx of people.

“My husband had the chance meeting Hartley and Kell at the very beginning stages and they were explaining this concept. In Guadalajara, there were four of these concepts so we were very familiar with the communal seating, with the different choices for food and beverage,” said Oberholtzer. “We liked the concept so we were in very early.”

The Churchill provides convenience for customers to support many local businesses in one place. Due to the close proximity, customers can go to multiple businesses in a short period of time.

“There’s different hurdles, whether it be a personal guarantee on the lease or the expensive rent that deters a lot of small businesses from taking that next leap,” Rodie said.

The rent for a shipping container at The Churchill costs between $500 and $2,400 per month, Rodie said. The average square footage of a shipping container is 320 square feet and a lease for a restaurant in downtown Phoenix of that size is between $1,500 and $10,000.

 “We wanted to be business friendly. We were setting the rates to where we knew people could be successful. In terms of a lease, if someone does fail, we’re not coming after their house or their car,” Rodie said. “It makes it a little bit more risk-friendly for the businesses.”

And Rodie and Duncan would know, because they have both had other businesses. Rodie is a former co-founder of Plus One Transportation, former managing partner of the Rodeo Ranch Bar and former managing operator at The Montauk. Duncan’s family owns Duncan Family Farms. Rodie said they know the difficulties of starting a new business and wanted to make it a possibility for aspiring local business owners.

“We wanted to create an atmosphere for which small local businesses could succeed. It’s so, so hard when you’re first starting a business to get that initial spot,” Rodie said. “I had other businesses, but maybe they’ve sold or I’ve sold my shares in them so this is the complete focus.”

 

 

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