SWS Newcomers: Joseph Gouse & Analena Provost, Strongbox
It’s been vacant for a number of years, but the establishment of 802 St. Paul Street, or as many Baltimoreans may know it, that building next to the old Red Emma’s, has a new tenant. And it’s one we hope stays put.
Strongbox, the new shop on the block that sells local artisan and vintage goods, came about when owner Joseph Gouse and his friend and business associate Analena Provost were on the hunt for studio space. On the search, the artists realized they needed to venture into something more than a personal work space to help pay for where they would work, and as Gouse put it, “all of the usual costs associated with adulthood.”
It was only after “many unofficial meetings with a laptop, a pad of paper, and a lot of beer,” they came to the conclusion that there also needed to be a spot for other artists to showcase, and even sell, their talents. Et voila, le Strongbox.
Of course, we all wished it was just that simple, but concreting the idea of the collective-type concept was just a foot in the door to what was an obstacle course of legitimizing the business. But, when we stopped by the shop, the Pennsylvania native happily reported they needed to restock merchandise. “And that’s such a good thing,” Gouse said.
Only a few months in, Strongbox is starting to feel the Baltimore charm, and Gouse shares with us his experience, so far.