By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — A new local art gallery and event space that also sells vintage clothing, records and other merchandise has opened in downtown.
The 662 Collective is the brick-and-mortar version of owner Chris Hare’s entertainment and news website 662online.com, which features an online store that has been selling vintage clothing, art, records for more than a decade. Hare, who previously managed The Bubble Hive Downtown, also offers CBD products from Chicago-based Planet Three and THCa cannabis products from Atlanta-based Exotic Premium.
“The retail is pushed to the back so they walk all the way through, but the art is the main attraction,” Hare said. “Art is the universal language that brings people in, then they’re like, oh you have CBD products, oh you have vintage, you have records.”
The store fills the former Minglewood boutique space in a building owned by a limited liability company tied to NBA star Fred VanVleet and his family. Minglewood closed its downtown space in September 2022 and moved to 1300 Broadway. Hare left The Bubble Hive Downtown in August. The downtown store is currently closed. The Bubble Hive is open in Loves Park.
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The large storefront windows and canned lighting make it an ideal space to showcase art, Whitacre said.
“Wherever I show, I don’t like there to be a whole lot of other noise. Just white walls and good lighting, because it features the art better,” Whitacre said.
Whitacre said he’s working on a solo show that would incorporate visual and audio elements.
“I’ve had this idea for several years, five or six years, and when I was standing in there I was like, ‘this is where I could do that,'” Whitacre said.
Hare, who spent about 15 years working behind the scenes in the music industry managing various artists, said he sees potential for events like Whitacre’s or fashion shows like what Candie has put on in other locations.
The store also has an in-house DJ for events, DJ Billi Hendrixxx.
About | The 662 Collective
Where: 331 E. State St., Rockford
Hours: noon to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
On social: @The662Collective on Instagram
Booking contact: 815-791-0033