Occupying a space that is only 12×12 feet, Dirty Clay Co. is by its nature a small business.
Dirty Clay Co. is part of the Batavia Boardwalk Shop Incubator Program in downtown Batavia. The incubator program allows shop owners to test the feasibility of their business and products before signing a long-term lease.
Local businesses like Dirty Clay Co., which sells handmade small batch pottery along with products of other local artisans, saw brisk business on Small Business Saturday. Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to do their shopping at local businesses. It is held each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and after Black Friday.
“A lot of people said they came out to support local businesses,” said owner Megan Wilson, who grew up in Batavia. “We also saw a lot of business on Black Friday. I think the nice weather helped.”
Dirty Clay Co. moved into its space in May.
“The program itself was interesting because it was a chance to learn and grow your business alongside another nine small businesses,” Wilson said. “So within even just the program, we created our own little community in our boardwalk family of small businesses here. But also, just the support the community gives the boardwalk shops is really encouraging.”
Like other businesses, Dirty Clay Co. is seeing the impact of inflation.
“A lot of our products are handmade, so that means we’re sourcing a lot of the materials to make these things,” Wilson said. “So you have to price your things higher in order to have a profit. But we’ve been managing. I think it helps that inflation is everywhere and it’s not just affecting us, it’s affecting everyone. So we’re all living it together. People aren’t balking at prices necessarily because they expect it at this point.”
Wilson’s lease at its current location is up at the end of December and she is looking to moving into a space that offers a long-term lease.
Peaceful Parlour in downtown Geneva also saw a steady flow of customers on Saturday. The store, located on Third Street, bills itself as an eco-chic boutique.
“It’s been very consistent,” said employee Shannon McGregor. “A lot of customers are coming in. It’s been wonderful.”
McGregor was working at the store with fellow employee Jaclyn Turner. Owner Shari Ralish opened the store in 2010.
Longtime customer Cristina Rico and her boyfriend, Emmanuel Cerda, were among those customers at the store on Saturday.
“I like the atmosphere of it,” Rico said, in talking about the store. “They have different ornate fairies that I like to buy.”
Cerda enjoys the teas the store sells.
“The first thing I notice is how they smell,” he said. “After I buy them, I give them a taste test to see how they are. And every single time, they have been good.”
The number of people coming through the doors at Trend + Relic in St. Charles on Saturday exceeded the expectations of owner Heather Corcoran.
“We’ve had an absolutely busy day,” said Corcoran as the store closed for the day on Saturday. “It’s been fabulous. We’ve had lots of customers coming in for their holiday purchases, gifts and decorations. We’ve had a lot of furniture purchases as well, things that you wouldn’t anticipate. But a lot of furniture came in and out today. We were very pleased with the turnout and it exceeded the expectations that we had.”
Trend + Relic sells new and vintage decor, including handcrafted items.
“We have 50 different vendors,” Corcoran said. “And so we’re a vendor operated business. Everybody has their own space and we just have the most amazing vendors.”
The store has seen its share of challenges since it has been. Trend + Relic opened in 2020 shortly after the start of the pandemic.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” she said. “We have a very loyal following. We just appreciate the loyal customers that we have. People really appreciate what we’re trying to do.”