At For The People (, Aaron Stouffer’s colorful prints of Phoenix mid-century architecture line a wall, near a slim and stylish Blu Dot sofa. Nearby, a flock of Chilewich runners are there for the choosing, while shelves are ladened with architectural tomes. For design aficionados, the carefully curated store in Midtown Phoenix is pure nirvana.
“We like to offer our customers a sense of discovery,” says Shawn Silberblatt, who co-owns the store with Chad Campbell. “We support at least 30 local artists at any given time, and we like to pair their work with notable design brands from around the world. We go for the unexpected.” The store was originally started in 2012 by designer/retailer Lew Gallo (formerly of Haus) as a 500-square-foot space within Biltmore Fashion Park’s Union Shops, which featured a collection of local retailers and makers. Campbell and Silberblatt, who founded the vintage furniture shop Modern on Melrose, took over the store in 2015, about the time the mall scrapped the local concept in favor of a Sephora location.
“We needed to move, “ explains Silberblatt, “and we needed more space.” In 2016, the pair found a 2,500-square-foot space in a mid-century office building on Central Avenue near Camelback Road owned and renovated by architect Wendell Burnette, a Sources for Design Icon, who also has his office there. Against a backdrop of sandblasted block walls, concrete flooring, and an open beamed ceiling, Silberblatt and Campbell were able to add more furniture on display and tuck in Kream, their small coffee bar, which encourages visitors to sip an espresso, work on lap tops, and test drive sofas, tables, and chairs that are for sale.
Desk accessories, sculptural jewelry, lighting, books, and art are among their offerings. There’s always the local angle. The well-rounded selection of design books includes odes to Corbusier, Alto, and Neutra side by side with selections dedicated to the work of Jones Studio and Burnette. The jewelry? Made by area artists. “We’ve sold Al Beadle sculptures here, too,” says Silberblatt of the work by the late Arizona architectural icon.
Pre-pandemic, For The People regularly hosted design-oriented events and gatherings, such as book launches and speakers presenting their latest projects during evenings hosted by the Phoenix Architecture Forum. “We recently hosted a beta launch for someone developing a sneaker-design app,” says Silberblatt. “We hope to get back to a regular schedule of events soon.”
Shoppers at For The People don’t just come in for a few accessories or gift items. “We have people who come in looking to furnish an entire condo or house,” Silberblatt says. “We also help local restaurants with furniture selection. Two of our lines, Blu Dot and Gus*, have soft contract-grade pieces that can hold up in light hospitality applications.” The store also offers courtesy to the trade.
In the meantime, Arizona architects, interior designers, and design lovers regularly circle through For The People, checking out the newest additions. With the explosive growth of housing in downtown Phoenix and Midtown, the owners are seeing a lot of new faces exploring the store’s offerings. “I think people enjoy our contrasts between work by locals and internationally known designers,” says Silberblatt. “It’s all about the juxtaposition and balance. We’re always evolving.”