Wake Forest business owners Amanda and John Giustiniani are launching a second business in Downtown Wake Forest this week that aims to fill that gap between, “I wish I knew how to [insert skill here]” and a five-week course at a local community college.
The idea started to form as John and Amanda, who own
, were building a side business selling items on eBay. At first, eBay was a way to sell items and make some extra money. John was laid off from his job, so every little bit helped while he was putting himself out there on interview after interview. Then it occurred to him he might be able to make a living at the very thing he was doing to stay afloat.
“Instead of putting my tail beteween my legs and crying, I created a job,” he said.
John became a certified eBay sales instructor and started to look for spaces to offer classes, and “and the space two doors down from us came available,” he said. The idea was to about eBay, then suddenly more ideas came up, and now they are offering about 20 classes on topics for small businesses, writing memoirs, standing up to bullies, and improv.
“It’s essentially crash courses, or overviews per se,” John said. Classes will aim to find that middle between YouTube tutorials and multi-session classes. Most of the classes will be one session.
“A lot of people don’t want to ask questions,” John said. When someone does, “A person might say, ‘I have that question, too.’”
And there’s been no shortage of ideas for classes to teach, too. They range from broad, to hyper-focused.
“Somebody asked me if I would do a class on how to use a very specific Verizon smartphone. Some people, they want these specific classes,” John said.
The hard part, though, has been getting people to know what to expect from Pick A Class. It’s not adult education in the way normally offered by local civic centers or recreation departments. It’s not community college. It’s in between.
“Once people get there they understand what we’re we doing,” John said.
In addition to the classes, the PAC Gallery will feature revolving installations by local artists. As owners of GC5, Amanda and John have long supported the arts scene that is burgeoning around the Triangle. They have hosted artists’ work in their store and had gallery openings during Art After Hours, the monthly downtown get-together.
“The gallery is beautiful, and I’m not just saying that. It looks like a big city art gallery. It’s really nice,” John said.
Right now there are works by local artists such as Ginger Meek Allen, a local metalsmith/jewelry maker who has her own business next door to Pick A Class at LEDE Studio and Gallery. Additional artists include Donna Campbell Smith, Marie Lawrence, Nathan Wellman, Tabitha Morris, and John Giusitiniani.
What’s unique about the gallery is that the artists’ works will be chosen by a panel of people from the community, John said.
“It’s not really an art critique,” John said, but a panelist might say, “‘Yeah. This is pleasing to my eye.’ I just didn’t want it to be stuff I like.”
“Sometimes you have a vision for something, and it comes out they way you thought … It’s like ‘Hell, yeah!’”