When Alainah Paul works with her hands, she remembers the smell of sawdust in her father’s workshop.
Growing up in the Pittsburgh area, she’d smell the lumber from her father’s hobby of making furniture.
“It reminds me of home,” she said.
Paul’s fond memories inspired her to open Corks ’n Crafts in the Downtown Summerlin shopping center in July.
Corks ’n Crafts customers work with fabric, wood, leather and other materials. They create items such as decorative signs, beer caddies and keychains.
Her business is part of a trend of painting and crafts workshops that let patrons sip wine and eat snacks while they gab with fellow aspiring artists. The valley is home to franchises like Pinot’s Palette and Wine & Canvas.
Like all shopping centers, Downtown Summerlin wants more tenants that draw shoppers, interact with them and give them a reason to take a photo and share it online, marketing director Halee Harczynski said.
It’s why places like Boulevard Mall have added an aquarium and the Linq Promenade is adding a zip line.
“Corks ’n Crafts is a strong new addition to the property,” said Downtown Summerlin marketing director Halee Harczynski. “It appeals to both adults and families — two key audiences for the property.”
Paul’s menu includes popcorn, a cheese platter and an Italian Parmesan dip with grilled ciabatta.
Paul offers a wine menu of reds, whites and champagne, as well as craft beer and mimosas.
The mother of two also wants kids to take part in crafting classes, giving parents a break to walk around and shop. Her husband, Steve Mardirossian, is her partner in Corks ’n Crafts.
She has five instructors and is looking for more. Paul envisions multiple Corks ’n Crafts locations but wants to build the reputation of her first studio before expanding.
One clientele she wants to cater to: people on first dates.
“Restaurants can be awkward,” she said. “This is how you get to know someone.”