Truckee’s main drag has a mixture of storefronts—an old-timey chocolate shop, restaurants for any taste, souvenir t-shirt shops, and boutiques at multiple price points. And since 2012, one of the pillars of downtown Truckee has been Bespoke. The shop, which initially found a home on the corner of Donner Pass Road and Spring Street, offers a place for local and small-batch artisans to sell their jewelry, pottery, greeting cards, housewares, and more. It’s a gift shop with intention—with things people want, made by people who build from and with their hearts.

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Three years after opening Bespoke, husband and wife owners Heather River and Brian Hess opened a second shop next door called Atelier. Rather than sell finished goods like its sister shop, Atelier Truckee was a hybrid retail and studio space that carried supplies for varying levels of crafty-ness and offered workshops in the back of the shop to connect local artists to their community. Think macrame wall hangings, embroidery, watercolors, succulents—old school-adjacent activities that were growing in popularity across generations (I’m looking at you, millennials!) well before the pandemic and even more so after. 

And because of this increased appreciation for, well, bespoke goods, the Bespoke/Atelier brand has expanded.

In late November 2020, Bespoke moved to a larger storefront just a few blocks east on Donner Pass Road in the space previously occupied by the women’s clothing side of the iconic Cabona’s. (Don’t worry, Cabona’s is still there in its original location). The new space has the same charm as the original Bespoke location but offers more room for products, a wall filled with windows that introduce a waterfall of natural light, and spruced-up-yet-original textured architecture from floor to ceiling.

The product in the front two-thirds of the new shop is similar to the original Bespoke. The backroom is a mini Atelier, filled with both niche and everyday craft supplies—colorful yarn, DIY books, sewing needles, tapestry kits, natural dye … the list goes on. River and Hess are even offering virtual or private shopping sessions upon request.

“In this new space, we will connect made and maker, skilled artisan, and beginning dreamer,” a press release for the new space said. “Within these brick walls, we will deem art essential and hold space for that truth.”

Branching out

And Bespoke isn’t the only part of this Bespoke/Atelier yin and yang shop duo that has gone through some changes in the past few months. 

The workshop side of Atelier moved down the hill to Reno, to a plant-filled space at 2135 Dickerson Road within Sierra Water Gardens, with the supply side of Atelier now fully living inside Bespoke in Truckee.

A small group gathered at Atelier in Reno in November for a workshop in making Thanksgiving table decorations with succulents and mini-pumpkins. Photo: Kris Vagner

The new Reno workshop space, operated by longtime friend of Bespoke Kelly Wallis, opened in September 2020 and has been oscillating between in-person and virtual workshops due to COVID-19. 

Wallis explained that Atelier Truckee was constantly being asked via email and social media why they don’t do workshops in Reno, and so began the search for new workshop space at the end of 2019. And because the space in Truckee was too small to accommodate COVID-19 social distancing protocols, the workshop part of the Atelier brand fully moved into a new space just 30 minutes from Truckee in Fall 2020.

Reno artist Kelly Wallis is the director of Atelier’s new branch in Reno. Photo: Kris Vagner

Upcoming workshops include a virtual, visual journal collage workshop on Feb. 1, virtual intro to mending on Feb. 7, and an in-person heart-shaped succulent planter workshop on Feb. 14. (Complete workshop list here.)

And these workshops are available at a variety of price points. For example, if you have your own supplies, the mini botanical watercolor painting workshop will cost you $30, $75 if you can pick up supplies from the space, $85 to have them delivered locally, and $90 to have them shipped to you. Private workshops are also available upon request.

For more information visit the websites of Atelier in Reno and Atelier Truckee

This article was funded by a City of Reno CARES Act grant and produced by Double Scoop and the Sierra Nevada Ally. Together, these news outlets are working to increase the amount of quality local arts and culture journalism.

Ally Gravina

Posted by Ally Gravina

Ally Gravina spends her days advising the students who run UNR's newspaper, magazine, radio station, and literary journal. By evening, she's a freelance journalist. Ally is an alumna of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in arts and culture reporting. She lives in Tahoe City. More at allygravina.com.

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