Only in Louisville: 5-0-Lou

Profile by Glad Doggett

Ask any Louisvillian what makes their city great, and you’ll quickly get an earful about the growing trend for homegrown products and services that are available.

Whether they boasting about the city’s eclectic restaurant scene, the abundant farmers markets, or the emergence of shops that support the city’s buy-local movement, one thing is clear: Locals love Louisville.

This grassroots pride for the products from local artisans and producers is what ignited artist Terri Ross’s entrepreneurial spirit to open 5-0-Lou, a gift boutique that celebrates Louisville and Kentucky with a collection of locally crafted apparel, gifts, jewelry, food, and artwork.

“We have a unique city with city-wide pride, as well as neighborhood pride. There are few places in the country that enjoy what we have here with our locals.”

And according to Ross, the local fever is spreading. The large number of innovative artists and crafters who reside in or near Louisville gave her and her daughters the confidence to open and fill a shop with locally made wares. 

“We love the Crescent Hill/Clifton area and take a lot of pride in being the newest thread in the rich fabric of local businesses that make up ‘The Avenue,’” she said.

Fresh product ideas come from vendors, as well as from customers who make suggestions on local items to carry or designs they would like to see in the store.

“Our willingness to act on their suggestions fuels their local inventiveness,” she said.

The idea of creating a space dedicated to selling local, functional art was one that had been incubating for most of Ross’s life. She said she had always envisioned a place where local artists could sell their original, usable art as a way to make the money they needed to survive. The money they make from the functional art enables them to create their fine art.

“I love art and I love to eat,” she said, laughing. “So I needed to figure out a way I could do both. Like most artists, I like making art for its intrinsic value, but the truth is, you have to be independently wealthy to survive as an artist,” she said.

Out of that spark of an imagination and initiative, 5-0-Lou was born.

“Our store is a great space for artists to feature their work and get more exposure. We feel it’s important to support Kentucky artists and encourage people to buy and gift local.”

The store features a variety of items, including T-shirts, ceramics, mugs, jewelry, candles. They’ve recently started carrying a line of bourbon barrel furniture and lamps, as well.

“We are dedicated to the success of our vendors. We invite featured artists or crafters of the month to sell their work commission free, with only a 3 percent merchant charge on credit card purchases,” Ross said.

In spite of the ever-evolving inventory, their biggest seller by far are their T-shirts designed with the local flair. Each design is printed in house in small batches because even the most clever, original ideas will run their course and lose their novelty.

“But you never know which design will take off and be popular,” she said. “Sometimes it’s our most quirky ideas that end up being top sellers,” she said.

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