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Popular Lexington DIY Fixer Upper style decor shop sets Forest Acres opening date

Ashley and Matt Bonte in their AR Workshop on Sunset Boulevard in Lexington. The couple will open a Forest Acres location in March.
Ashley and Matt Bonte in their AR Workshop on Sunset Boulevard in Lexington. The couple will open a Forest Acres location in March. Photo by Amanda Oswalt

Columbia residents who have longed for the opening of AR Workshop in Forest Acres can now mark their calendars.

The very popular AR Workshop that opened on Sunset Boulevard in Lexington last year has set the date of March 8 for the grand opening of their new Forest Acres location. The new location will be 1,400 square feet, a little larger than the 1,250 square foot space in the Travinia- and Momma Rabbit's-anchored shopping center at 5076 Sunset Blvd. in Lexington.

"After a successful 6 months being opened in Lexington, we knew now was the perfect time to open a second workshop in the Midlands," said owners Ashley and Matt Bonte. "We really think all our customers who took the time to drive and see us from Blythewood, Elgin and Columbia will love the new location in Forest Acres."

The new store is in an ideal location, the Bontes said.

"We're excited to partner with local businesses for our grand opening and build community relationships," Ashley said. "We're currently still running workshops in Lexington as we build out our second space. We'll also be hiring and training our new team over the next few weeks."

AR Workshop, short for Anders Ruff Workshop, is a hands-on workshop that offers DIY classes to teach participants how to create unique home decor items. The shop has become very popular with customers looking to create Farmhouse-type decorations like that seen on hit HGTV show Fixer Upper featuring Chip and Joanna Gaines.

AR Workshop originated in 2010 when Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff founded the North Carolina company as a graphic design, party styling, DIY blog and online shop. The company now operates multiple locations across 15 states.

The shop’s DIY workshops, which are accompanied by music, beer and wine, include lessons on projects like custom wood signs, wood pallet signs, canvas pillows, lazy Susans, centerpieces and more. While individuals can sign up for classes on their own, the shop also books parties for kids, girls’ nights out, date nights and team-building classes for companies and businesses.

The Forest Acres location will host an opening celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 8 that will include giveaways, sips and sweets and make-and-take projects.

AR Workshop’s Columbia location can be found at 4711 Forest Dr.

For more information, visit