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Idaho Falls couple open business for customers to connect over coffee and crafts

Small Business Spotlight

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IDAHO FALLS – A local woman is celebrating the grand opening of her new coffee shop and DIY craft store in Idaho Falls.

Brandi Erickson of Idaho Falls is the owner of AR Workshop and The Nice Spot, two separate businesses at 395 Lindsay Boulevard.

The AR Workshop is a franchise offering a variety of home decor and boutique items and allows customers to enroll in classes to create their own projects. The Nice Spot gives customers a place to hang out while they enjoy a cup of coffee, soft-serve ice cream, flavored soda, homemade biscotti, muffins or other snacks.

There is also a section of The Nice Spot that highlights local art and books. Take a look inside in the video player above.

Erickson, a mortgage lender at Idaho Central Credit Union, tells EastIdahoNews.com both shops are a labor of love involving multiple members of her family.

“My husband, Michael, is a realtor at Voigt Davis. We’ve used what we’ve learned from our current careers to invest in … this business,” Erickson says.

nice spot employees
Employees at The Nice Spot getting ready for the grand opening. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

The inspiration for AR Workshop stemmed from Erickson’s enrollment in numerous classes during what she calls that lonely, transitory time between high school and marriage. She remembers taking numerous classes during that time that helped her connect with others.

“I’ve always thought about that time that I’ve met people … and talked to them about things and we were from totally different parts of the country. That was 15 years ago. Now I’m in a position where I want to have a space like that for people,” says Erickson.

The Nice Spot was inspired by a place Erickson and her friends would visit on Taylor Mountain in high school. They’d go there to hang out and have a cup of coffee in front of a fire and they actually called it, “the nice spot.”

Having extended family members involved in the business allows them to be together as much as possible, which is what Erickson wanted.

brandi building
The building at 395 Lindsay Boulevard in Idaho Falls. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

The building was formerly occupied by Terry & Sons Upholstery, which was destroyed in a fire in June 2019.

RELATED | 8 vehicles, including classic cars, among items destroyed in fiery explosion

Erickson’s husband told her about the building when it was listed for sale early last year. She says she wanted nothing to do with it when she first saw what it looked like.

“It was awful. There was upholstery burned up and cars in the back all burned up. There was stuff dripping from the ceiling. I mean, it was embarrassing. The place was condemned and all the windows were boarded up,” Erickson explains. “I was like, ‘Absolutely not.'”

But Michael saw the building’s potential and had a vision for what it could be and convinced his wife to give it a chance. Someone else won the bid when they made the initial offer.

“He (my husband) couldn’t sleep at night. He would toss and turn about all the things he could do to this building. He just could not get over it,” Erickson recalls.

Somehow, through an unforeseen turn of events, they were ultimately able to purchase the building.

“I really feel like he willed the building to himself because I don’t know how else we got it. It’s one of those things where I feel like everything happened for a reason,” she says.

After 18 months and many hours of intense labor and renovations, Erickson couldn’t be more proud of their investment.

“It’s a space where I feel like people will feel cozy being here to paint, being here to drink a cup of coffee, have a soda, and hang out for a bit. The main thing we really wanted to accomplish was to be inviting,” Erickson says.

Erickson is hoping to turn The Nice Spot into more of a cafe with an expanded menu in the near future. But for now, she’s excited to unveil both sides of the business and begin serving customers.

She and her husband own AR Workshop. Her mom, Brenda Stanley, sister-in-law Britney Bair and mother-in-law Janet Erickson are co-owners of The Nice Spot.

The AR Workshop will open at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday with classes available throughout the day that you can sign up for online. The Nice Spot will be open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with an 8 p.m. closing time Saturday.

craft store pic
The interior of AR Workshop. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

If you want your business featured in the Small Business Spotlight, email rett@eastidahonews.com. Please use “SBS” in the subject line.

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