Many mid-life purchases aren’t exactly life-changing. That’s not the case for Liz Roberts, however, who recently purchased Atlanta’s beloved Indie Craft Experience. “I was just a customer. I didn’t know Shannon (Mulkey) or Christie (Petterson) personally,” says Roberts. “I’ve just been a customer for years and just a supporter of what they do.”
Roberts spent the past 20 years working in the restaurant industry, a decade of those handling operations for Rye Restaurants, the group behind the General Muir and Wood’s Chapel BBQ. When she saw that Mulkey and Petterson, who founded ICE in 2005, were selling the business, her interest piqued. “I literally said to my husband that moment, ‘This is amazing, we have to keep it going,’” says Roberts. “It’s just too important to the community. We couldn’t let it die.”
The craft experience brings together makers and artists of all mediums. At any ICE event you’ll find anyone from printmakers, textile artists, and jewelers selling their crafts in a buzzy atmosphere with tunes playing as well as coffee and snacks on hand for purchase. Roberts has always felt smitten with the atmosphere.
“It’s just so great to see them put on a necessary event for artists in our area, and there’s always such a diverse offering,” she says. “There’s just so many talented makers in the city, and it’s just always been fun to go and see what everybody’s doing.” In today’s digital world, where mass-produced art can be purchased with the click of an Instagram ad, an event like ICE reminds Atlantans what a human connection is all about.
Roberts’s first event as owner was on September 17 at the Yaarab Temple on Ponce. Next comes a Holiday Market on November 5 at the Yaarab Temple from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and the Holiday Shopping Spectacular on December 2 and 3 at the Georgia Freight Depot from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days. Around 170 vendors will be on hand for the latter event, as well as food and beverages.
Now that Roberts is the owner, she doesn’t plan on making any drastic changes. Petterson and Mulkey left it in a good place, she says, and they were more than supportive during the transition. “People always get worried when there’s a change in ownership that things may be different, and we really wanted to keep the vibe, and just keep everything feeling familiar to them,” says Roberts. “While there might be some changes, the root of what they do is amazing, and that’s why I bought it. I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel or change what they did. I just want to add onto it.”