After a delay that pushed back its opening by a few months, a new pottery studio is on the verge of launching in the Rountree neighborhood.
Artistree Pottery LLC, co-owned by husband and wife Bo and Rachel Barks, is set to open before month’s end. Rachel Barks said the business’ opening was delayed from a targeted spring debut due to longer-than-expected construction, which involved renovation of a vacant, nearly century-old Spanish Mission-style building.
Barks said the visual look of her paint-your-own pottery shop, 1423 E. Cherry St., Ste. 103, was worth the wait.
“I’m so excited to get open,” she said. “It has a simple elegance to it. It is absolutely falling within my vision.”
Ross Construction Group LLC was general contractor for the building renovation project, while Red Rock Renovations LLC handled infill work. Barks declined to disclose startup costs or the three-year lease rate with Pickwick and Cherry LLC.
Artistree Pottery marks the first business venture for Barks, who has 20 years of experience as a freelance interior designer. She told Springfield Business Journal in October 2019 that a career move was necessitated after vision loss due to pseudoxanthoma elasticum, aka PXE, a genetic disease. However, monthly visits and treatments with her eye doctor have restored her vision to the point where she can do daytime, in-town driving again.
“That’s just happened in the last month. I never thought I’d drive again,” she said.
Barks said the four-employee shop will have set hours Tuesday through Saturday and be open Sunday and Monday by appointment only. Private classes will be offered, with pieces on display available for purchase. Special events, including baby showers, birthday parties and ladies’ nights, will occasionally be held at the shop, with wine, beer and other drinks available on-site. Outdoor patio space with picnic tables also will be available, along with curbside service.
Pottery costs range from $12-$80, but the majority fall within $20-$30, she said, adding there is no painters’ fee.
“The price of the piece is the price that you pay, regardless of whether it takes you an hour to paint it or three,” Barks said.
The shop fills roughly 1,250 square feet on the main level of the two-story building and another 350 square feet for storage space in an unfinished basement. Greens, a full-service flower shop, was scheduled to be a neighbor in the building after announcing plans in November to move to Rountree. However, the company, which shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, announced in May via a Facebook post it was closing permanently. Barks said the next-door space remains vacant.
As her family has long lived in Rountree, Barks said the convenience of working and living in close proximity was appealing.
“The only place we would open Artistree Pottery was in the Rountree neighborhood,” she said.
At the active intersection of Pickwick Avenue and Cherry Street, Artistree Pottery joins other nearby business ventures that launched this year, including market and cafe Culture Counter and The Royal, a live music and bar venue.
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