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VOL. 116 | NO. 191 | Wednesday, October 2, 2002

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Pottery studio poised to market to communities creativity

New pottery studio fires imagination

By SUE PEASE

The Daily News

When Collierville resident Jennifer VanDyke visited a pottery studio in Franklin, Tenn., a few months ago to paint dinnerware for her family, the trip sparked an idea.

Why not open a pottery studio in Collierville?

I didnt go with the idea of opening a business, but it didnt take me long to know this hands-on creative contemporary pottery studio would be just the right thing to open in Collierville, VanDyke said.

A space in Colliervilles historic town square became available, making the business venture even more attractive.

So, together with her sister Candy Craig, Van Dyke will open Courtyard Clay Monday at 122 Mulberry St.

The two sisters are not new to business projects.

Their entrepreneurial spirit pushed them to open CJ Enterprises, which not only owns Courtyard Clay, but also CJ Lilly & Co., a floral and gift shop established in 2000. It is located in a nearby space on the historic square.

The full-time business owners and moms took just two months to have the new shop ready to open.

Craig and VanDyke, along with their mother, Nancy Williams, took Duncan certification classes and are now certified to teach pottery-finishing classes.

The 2,400-square-foot shop includes a kiln, numerous pottery pieces, non-toxic paints, chairs and worktables, and is ready for customers to paint their chosen pottery pieces.

To begin their creative session, customers pay a $6 studio fee, which covers the paints, glazing and firing, along with paying for the raw piece, which could range from $6 to $100.

Up to 60 varieties of pottery pieces are available to choose from including plates, cups, popcorn bowls, vases, platters, coffee mugs and figurines.

The store joins the ranks of a handful of pottery studios in the Memphis area.

One such store, Paint A Piece, opened in Cordova in 1998 and has been gaining in popularity since. Manager Laura Kersbergen said business has grown every year and carved a niche in the marketplace by being a pottery business geared toward children.

While the store caters to all audiences and has customers of all ages, she said storeowner Kami Hatley wanted the business to be very kid-friendly.

The store contains a pottery selection just for youngsters and hosts many childrens birthday parties.

There are lots of kids and a lot of families, Kersbergen said.

Another pottery business, Seize the Clay, is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Recently it moved from Poplar Avenue to 555 S. Perkins Extended in the Oak Hall Building.

The business, where customers can not only paint pottery, but also make their own, has been growing in popularity since its opening, said owner Kelly Bauch.

The business is a success because it has become the opposite of what people thought it was at first a fad, she said.

Instead, making and painting pottery has become a venue for people to spend one-on-one time with each other, where there are not many entertainment outlets for quality time such as that, Bauch said.

Also, the business caters to all ages, Bauch said, mentioning the store has had birthday parties not just for toddlers, but also for seniors.

We are really lucky because most businesses dont cater to all ages from 2 to 92.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 56 9,658
MORTGAGES 0 49 10,665
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 12 1,301
BUILDING PERMITS 0 548 21,505
BANKRUPTCIES 0 256 6,219
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 64 4,003
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 60 2,952
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 52 2,073