This Saturday, the artist formerly known as M. Fink will venture into a new partnership with her newlywed husband Vince Paixao (pronounced Pie-Shawn). Together, Vince and Morgan will open Meridian Books & Games in Larkin Arts at 61 Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg. The duo met while working together at local eateries and participating in the art and music scenes downtown. They quickly became friends and recently married in October.
“Harrisonburg is full of a lot of wonderful people,” gushes Morgan. “I haven’t moved since college, and we want to dig our feet in even deeper.” Vince, having grown up in Waynesboro, feels the same and wants to stay locally (especially after meeting Morgan and grabbing dinner on one of their first official dates at Food.Bar.Food).
Morgan had dreamed of opening a business with her spouse. “I always knew I wanted to do this with my partner, and the opportunity came along,” Morgan states. As newlyweds and new owners, there’s a lot of excitement around their joint venture, and this far outweighs the anxiousness. They can’t wait for the community to see what they have to offer.
While the theme for the store will be animated or graphic novels, this won’t be a standard comic book store by any means. Vince explains that they will have something for everyone, including bilingual books and card and board games. “We will have trade paperbacks, which will be compilations of a series. A lot of the books we will have won’t be in the vein of superheroes, it will be more…” he trails off.“It will be more about people, and their circumstances that will tell a story through words and pictures,” Morgan says as they both smile. This is their story. They’ll also carry some really great gift ideas for kids, including DIY embroidery kits and locally-made woodland critter dolls.
Larkin Arts is equally excited to have the Paixaos in the space. “Having Meridian here will be a gift for both businesses,” says Valerie. “We have a fair amount of crossover in our customer base and can benefit from one another’s traffic while offering those customers the opportunity to see more arts-related goodies all in one place!”
While visiting with Morgan and Vince, I perused the space at Larkin Arts. Admittedly, I’m blown away with the variety of merchandise you’ll find in their retail space: from canvases and paint, to pottery and coloring books and journals. Along with all the items for sale, the Wine-Riner Galleries are lined with local artists’ work.
As I take in the surroundings, I notice the “Wall of Fame” that is prominently displayed above the hallway. I see the names of local leaders, entrepreneurs, friends, and a few names I don’t recognize. All contributed to the efforts of supporting and encouraging arts in this space through money, time, materials, a kind word, or all of the above. This hallways leads to Meridian Books & Games and to several studio spaces that are occupied by local artists. This is what makes Larkin Arts so special. In one space, patrons can watch artists work, shop for local art, and appreciate their creations in a gallery setting – all at the same time.
Meridian Books & Games is a welcome addition. Together with local artists, these businesses are a creative force that are striving to diversify downtown’s growing arts community. Stop by their grand opening this Saturday from Noon to 5pm to check them out and welcome them to downtown!