As the Yakima Valley and the rest of the nation start to see positive signs in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses are starting to see some positive developments.
Here is an update on several businesses:
Pottery studio reopens
Creative Yakima, a paint-your-own pottery studio, reopened Friday.
The business had to shut down for two months after a fire in the studio’s kiln, used to dry painted pottery, in January.
The kiln fire was the latest in several challenges for the business, which opened in November 2019. While it was frustrating, owner Kelly Stuber said she was glad for an opportunity to refresh the studio, and it provided a chance to offer other projects, including wood projects and mosaics.
“We’re just making the best of it,” she said.
The studio’s reopening came nearly a year after it had to shut down the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I love that little bit of irony,” Stuber said.
Stuber pivoted by offering customers brushes, paint and pottery for at-home projects. Customers then were able to return the items to the studio to dry in the kiln.
She was able to reopen for in-house painting in August. Last fall, she also offered art classes for families looking for additional educational opportunities other than virtual school.
Stuber said she plans to retain several of the things she offered during the pandemic, such as the at-home project kits and the after-school art classes.
Looking back, Stuber said all the challenges have made her more resilient as a business owner.
“I feel like I can handle anything now,” she said.
Hours for the studio are 2-6 p.m. Thursdays and noon to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The studio also accepts reservations online at www.creativeyakima.com.
The studio is retaining finished pottery through May for people who haven’t been able to pick it up in the last year.
Chalet Place relocations
Some businesses at Chalet Place will be relocating next month.
Earlier this month, the Viking Sewing Center closed when its owner retired.
The space won’t be vacant for long: The neighboring Beads, Rocks and Candy Emporium shop will move into the space on April 7.
This is an expansion with the business, which, as the name states, sells beads, a variety of rocks and a variety of candy, including chocolates from Issaquah’s Boehm’s Candy & Chocolates. Owner Shannon Fournier took over Bead and Body, a jewelry maker shop, in July 2019. She then purchased the Boehm’s Candy franchise from former owners Sharon and Dick Vance, who were looking to retire. Fournier combined the two businesses and took over the Boehm’s space in September of that same year, which increased her space from 350 square feet to 1,200 square feet.
By moving into the Viking Sewing Center space, the shop’s footprint will increase again, to 1,700 square feet, providing plenty of room to stock jewelry supplies, rocks and candy. There will also be space for jewelry-making classes.
“We’ll be able to do what we’re doing, even better,” Fournier said.
The ability to expand was welcome news after challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Fournier wasn’t eligible for federal business aid, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, as a new business. Fournier was able to secure local business grants, which helped her stay afloat.
She also credits loyal customers for her continued survival.
“They come in and check on us and say, ‘Give me $10 of that (candy),’” she said. “This (one) lady, she was calling in having me ship licorice all over the country.”
Eyelash Divas, another business in the same building at Chalet Place, will relocate to the Beads, Rock and Candy Emporium storefront. Owner Tricia Boggess said she was offered the Viking Sewing Center space but felt it was too large. She approached Fournier about relocating to the Viking Sewing Center space.
Boggess said the extra space would allow her to better conduct her eyelash extension classes for licensed professionals and provide room for additional estheticians.
Her current spot “worked well for me, but there’s no room for growth,” she said.
Like many other businesses, Boggess had to shut down for several months during the pandemic, but she has recovered since reopening.
“As soon as I was open, I was booked solid,” she said. “People just come back.”