Chris and Laura Camp, owners of Simply Fair, are also the new owners of Studio on 6th, an artists’ co-op in downtown Springfield. While the two retail businesses each have a different business model, Laura Camp said there is actually some overlap.
“We have folks come in and ask if they can put their handmade items in Simply Fair,” she said. The boutique store at 2357 W. Monroe offers fair trade items from 40 different countries, ranging from coffee and chocolate to clothing and gifts. “Now we’ll have an opportunity to create income for people on this side of the pond. We want to be able to support Illinois artisans, as well as artists around the world.”
Camp explained that she was friends with Alicia Bibb, the prior owner of Studio on 6th, and the two initially had a business arrangement which involved selling clothing items from Simply Fair at Studio on 6th. Camp said the large number of tourists who patronize Studio on 6th helped move some of her products, but she soon realized there was a greater opportunity.
“Alicia was at a point where she was ready to travel and have fun and be a bit semi-retired,” said Camp. After talking it over and realizing it could compliment their existing business, the Camps decided to purchase Studio on 6th from Bibb.
“It’s legendary, a 15-year-old retail business that was well-started and has been well-moved forward,’ said Camp. Other than some painting and “freshening up,” she said she doesn’t envision any major changes to the downtown business.
“We’ll have a chance to highlight and lift up the artisans in our area,” said Camp. “The heart and soul will remain the same, just the crazy manager will be different,” she said with a laugh.