What a better way to kick off the New Year than to show a little love for our original shop, The Nat. We’ve kept the Collective mostly separate from The NAT in order to avoid confusion as we embark on our new endeavor; however, the time feels right to explain how these two companies will coincide with one another in the year to come.
The NAT, originally constructed in 1921 to house the area’s first indoor swimming pool, has operated as a marketplace for antique dealers and local artists for the past 8 years. The in between years was when The NAT became one of Amarillo’s most beloved landmarks though. It was converted into a ballroom in 1925 and hosted musicians like Guy Lombardo, Louis Armstrong, and Bob Wills just to name a few. The main entrance is through an old restaurant that was connected to the original ballroom. Once inside, the 20,000 sqft marketplace offers everything from local makers & artists to antique furniture dealers & vintage vinyl.
I’ve loved every second of it aside from the $$$ we’ve had to spend in order to get the word out about who we are and what we sell. Like I said, it’s been 8 years since I took control of the building yet I encounter locals almost daily that have no clue we exist. I’ve always joked that if our billboard could just have a slideshow, perhaps people would realize that we have SO much more than the tiny glimpse they see while passing at 75 mph. When we purchased the land for The Collective, I knew that we needed to make it a place that would assist The NAT while supporting fellow business owners in our region that suffer from the same problem.
I’m so excited that The NAT will be one of the 35 businesses represented inside The Collective. Not only will our space be a tangible sampling of the wide variety The NAT sells, but people can purchase those items without ever having to exit in case they don’t have the time that trip. We’ve already started getting submissions from area artists and makers that don’t quite fit within the requirements for The Collective. When I mention that they’d be a perfect fit for The NAT, most simply respond “what & where is that?” It’s been incredible to see the concept working even though we’re months out from opening! If you, like so many others, haven’t made the trip down to Amarillo’s thriving portion of Route 66, you’re missing out. That’s where we are most days, so please, feel free to stop in, say hello, and let us show you around.