Conspire: Contemporary Craft: A home away from home

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The word conspire, meaning “to bring together” inspired J.D. Grove’s contemporary craft store that came to life in 2016 in a tiny shop on the square in downtown Greencastle. Not only has the location of the store changed to a bigger space at 14. E Washington Street, but it has also expanded into a soon-to-open apothecary to expand Grove’s soap-making business on the square as well. 

Despite physical changes to the store itself and the addition of another store, Grove’s goals and mission have stayed the same. 

6 years ago Grove was going to a lot of art festivals in the midwest to showcase her work. She owns GranolaGirl Skincare which carries her all-natural oil soaps, lotions, and facial care. While going from festival to festival, she decided that she wanted to bring that type of community, a community that not only encourages people to shop local but is a safe and welcoming space for everyone, to Greencastle, IN. 

Originally, Grove’s focus was on showcasing local artists. However, in the past 6 years she has also decided that the store will not only be a place for local artists to sell their art, but also serves as a safe space for members of the Greencastle community and DePauw community to feel wanted and welcomed because, according to Grove, Greencastle lacks inclusivity. 

“I love how we are able to create a space for people that might feel alienated. Greencastle LGBTQ people, people of color, people with mental illness, people who are houseless…  all the folks that kind of need space, I feel we can help them. We can serve them [through] a beautiful place for people to go to,” Grove said. 

Since 2016, the company has gone from representing 35 local artists to 150. The shop also holds community events and will have art classes, pop-ups, and art shows. “And just have something cool, you know, cool space for people to show their art and a way to bring more artists here,” Grove said. 

According to Grove, Conspire is, “a pretty chill place to be,” which is an opinion her employees share. 

“Conspire is the chillest place in all of Greencastle and anyone can be anything here. People can come and hang out. People have felt safe here. So they'll come here all the time,” Jenna Mills, one of the employees of Conspire, said. 

Mills has been around since the beginning of the store in 2016 and currently sells her stickers and pins along with helping out in the store. 

Another employee, Samar Weeks, started working for Conspire a year and a half ago when the store moved to its new location. “It's a very diverse crowd that comes through and I've had a lot of very interesting talks and like conversations with people that you don't normally get to have,” Weeks said. “And that's been very eye-opening and very nice to actually have instead of just being like I'm surrounded by people that I always know and always understand. So it's been really cool to meet all the very interesting people around town and people that come in here.” 

Grove, her employees, and her store’s main goal is to provide support through art and community. “Today it's more broader in the support in our community, in whatever needs people bring to us. We're trying to provide space to organize and hear people,” Grove said.