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Patchogue welcomes do-it-yourself AR Workshop with special ribbon cutting ceremony

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About 50 people ages eight to 80 put their painting skills to the test this week to officially welcome AR Workshop to downtown Patchogue.

For two hours, patrons-turned-craftspeople painted “mini make-and-take projects” — small five-by-seven inch signs boasting autumnal designs and names of Long Island hot spots. AR Workshop owner Elizabeth Rongo had the little wooden platforms out for them to design, as they ate, drank and celebrated the new addition to the community.

A nationwide DIY boutique, AR Workshop’s first brick and mortar location opened in 2016. The company now counts more than 150 locations.

At her Tuesday night event, Rongo offered free grab bags for first 20 guests. She said she was “pleasantly surprised” by the turnout, which included members of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Patchogue Historical Society.

The ceremony followed a successful first two months of operation for Rongo, who opened the DIY boutique Aug. 29.

“We’re getting very busy, which is great heading into the holidays,” she said.

The most popular project at the moment is the chunky knit blanket, Rongo explained, while noting that customers are also enjoying the shop’s countdown to Christmas calendar.

‘What’s better than that?’

Those looking to test their carpentry, painting and knitting skills can register online for a DIY session at AR Workshop. After about three hours, guests walk out the door with complete, wood, canvas or yarn projects. Examples: framed wood signs, kitchen trays, blankets and canvas totes.

Rongo discovered Anders Ruff, AR Workshop’s Charlette, North Carolina-based parent company, in 2010 when founders Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff ran a DIY blog and an Etsy shop.

Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce President David Kennedy pointed out that the workshop’s projects are suitable for all ages and skill levels.

“It’s fun for everybody,” he said. “If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

While the workshop does not serve alcohol, guests are welcome to BYOB and snack on some food Rongo has available to heat up behind the bar.

“It’s definitely a great perk,” Rongo said of the BYOB option. “You come in for a lady’s night and you can bring your own wine. I mean, what’s better than that?”

The proof is in the photos