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  • Renée C. Byer / The Sacramento Bee

    Olivia Coelho and Trisha Rhomberg, owners of Bows & Arrows, are serious fans of local leather. Their favorites are 1980s patchwork leather purses, and hand tooled Mexican and American Indian leather bags and purses form the 1960s and ’70s.

  • Renée C. Byer / The Sacramento Bee

    Trisha Rhomberg, left, holds a glass of rosé and Olivia Coelho, right, holds a white beer as they celebrated in 2011 after opening their bar made of salvaged redwood at Bows & Arrows.

Eclectic shop Bows & Arrows to wrap up business at month’s end

Published: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 - 8:48 pm

Bows & Arrows, an eclectic midtown business that has become a community hub for artists and musicians, will be closing at the end of the month.

Founded by two artists who are also friends, Bows & Arrows combines a cafe/bar, a secondhand clothing store, an art gallery and a performing-arts space on 19th Street, across from the Safeway complex. It promoted the work of local artists and bands, including hosting a “makers mart” of handmade holiday gifts.

“Our last month will be January, and we want it to be the best month ever!” co-owners Trisha Rhomberg and Olivia Coelho wrote on the business’s Facebook page Wednesday.

“Although it breaks our hearts to think of losing our dream come true, we are both ready for new adventures. So please come celebrate this crazy experiment that two artists conspired to create with love in our hearts for our community.”

It was not clear what the reason was for the closure. Neither Rhomberg nor Coelho was at the business, 1815 19th St., on Thursday. Reached by phone, Coelho said she and Rhomberg would comment only if they were interviewed together, but Rhomberg was busy Thursday dealing with vendors.

Bows & Arrows opened as a vintage clothing store on L Street in November 2007, according to the Facebook page. It moved to its current location – formerly a recording studio – in May 2011 and expanded to include a beer and wine bar, an art gallery, and a cafe.

It also became a music venue with monthly concerts.

On Thursday, most of the customers who came to the cafe during the lunch hour were unaware that Bows & Arrows would be closing.

“Noooo!” was the response that David Potts, 32, of Sacramento had when told of the news.“I didn’t know that. I’m really bummed out.”

Potts and a female friend were sitting outside in the back patio, enjoying their lunch in the sun. He had been coming to Bows & Arrows for lunch at least once a month, if not more often, during the past two years.

“It really is a gem in Sacramento,” he said. “This place is unique; you want to get away from the shops that are franchises.”

Alana Jeydel, 45, a political-studies professor at American River College, was catching up on her work online. She was another regular, dropping by at least once a week, to have coffee and use the free Wi-Fi.

“I like the atmosphere, the food, the artwork,” she said. “It’s very family-friendly – I brought my daughter here once. It really is a community-based organization. I’m very sad and really going to miss it. It will leave a hole in the places that I would go for coffee.”

Jeydel also liked Bows & Arrows as a music venue, because of the different genres that are represented.

“They play classical, folk and rock,” she said. “They have a variety of great bands that come here.”

Jeydel said she plans to visit the establishment more frequently this month. “I’m going to put the word out to my friends that it’s closing,” she said.

One of the few customers who did know about the pending closure was Idris Alton, 23, who will be doing a stand-up comedy show at Bows & Arrows later this month.

On Thursday, musicians Liz Barton and Skye Bergen were trying to figure out how to arrange a web of drum heads over their interactive art piece. Dubbed “Mobile Interactive Sound Lab,” it was funded by a micro-grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

An odd assortment of objects, such as tin cans, guitar strings, cheese boxes and wooden chimes, were attached to the walls and doors of a structure being set up in the gallery space.

“We want people to touch things and explore,” said Barton, 38, of Sacramento. “I think adults forget how to play.”

A tablet will be recording all the different sounds that people will be making when they hit, pluck or move different objects in the installation. Barton said she plans to use these short sound segments as inspiration for her musical compositions.

Barton, who plays classical French horn, said she would miss performing at Bows & Arrows.

“I think this is a unique venue where art, music, food and people come together,” she said. “We’re happy they are having us.”

Carol Davydova, 54, and Jenny Homer, 30, had walked over from their nearby workplace.

“I come here for the food,” said Homer, who ordered the grilled cheese sandwich with a soup.

Davydova said she wasn’t surprised to learn that Bows & Arrows would be closing.

“I would think that since they do so many different things, I would hope that they would be prosperous,” she said. “But it’s not a surprising result for a small business.”

Paul Petrovich, owner of the building next door to Bows & Arrows, and the Safeway plaza across the street, echoed the sentiment.

“It’s a story that’s been told a thousand times, unfortunately,” he said. “Let’s not kid ourselves – the economy in Sacramento is not thriving.”

He said the eclectic nature of Bows & Arrows may have hurt its viability.

“The concept of a vintage clothing store with a cafe – how many times do you see that?” he asked. “There are certain proven concepts – that’s not to say that there isn’t room for creativity and new concepts – but you have to have an exceptional product.”

He noted that the vintage clothing market is such a small part of retail that “you have to capture a huge portion of it” in order to be successful.

Petrovich said he isn’t sure what could work in the Bows & Arrows space once they shut down.

“It will stay vacant for a while,” he said. “It would depend on what kind of improvements they make and what the rent is. If it’s low enough, someone will try to do something. They may have to market it as office space – it’s hard to predict.”


Call The Bee’s Tillie Fong, (916) 321-1006.

Read more articles by Tillie Fong



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