Occupying a space that is only 12×12 feet, Dirty Clay Co. it is inherently a small business.
Dirty Clay Co. is part of the Batavia Boardwalk Shop Incubator program in downtown Batavia. The incubator program allows store 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 from other local artisans, saw brisk business on Small Business Saturday. Launched by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to shop at local businesses. It is held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and after Black Friday.
“A lot of people said they came 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 good weather helped.”
Dirty Clay Co. moved into her space in May.
“The program itself was interesting because it was a chance to learn and grow your business alongside nine other small businesses,” Wilson said. “So within even just the program, we’ve created our own little community within our coastal family of small businesses here. But also, just the support that the community gives to waterfront stores is really encouraging.”
Like other businesses, Dirty Clay Co. sees the impact of inflation.
“A lot of our products are handmade, so that means we source a lot of the materials to make these things,” Wilson said. “So you have to price your stuff higher to make a profit. But we manage. I think it helps that inflation is everywhere and it doesn’t just affect us, it affects everyone. So we all experience it together. People don’t necessarily worry about prices because they expect it at this point.”
Wilson’s lease at its current location expires at the end of December, and she is looking to move to a space that offers a long-term lease.
Peaceful Parlor in downtown Geneva also saw a steady stream of customers on Saturday. The store, located on Third Street, presents itself as an eco-chic boutique.
“It was very consistent,” said employee Shannon McGregor. “A lot of customers are coming. It was beautiful.”
McGregor worked at the store with colleague Jacqueline 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 Saturday.
“I like the vibe of it,” said Rico, speaking of the store. “They have a variety of ornate fairies that I like to buy.”
Serda enjoys the teas the shop sells.
“The first thing I notice is how they smell,” he said. “After I buy them, I taste them to see how they are. And every time they were good.”
The number of people coming through the doors of Trend + Relic in St. Charles on Saturday exceeded owner Heather Corcoran’s expectations.
“We had an extremely busy day,” Corcoran said as the store closed for the day Saturday. “It was amazing. We had many customers coming in for their holiday shopping, gifts and decorations. We also had a lot of furniture purchases, things you wouldn’t predict. But a lot of furniture went in and out today. We were very pleased with the turnout and it exceeded our expectations.”
Trend + Relic sells new and vintage decor, including handmade items.
“We have 50 different vendors,” Corcoran said. “So we’re a supplier-driven business. Everyone has their own space and we just have the most amazing vendors.”
The store has seen its share of challenges since its existence. Trend + Relic opened in 2020 shortly after the pandemic began.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” she said. “We have a very loyal following. We simply value the loyal customers we have. People really appreciate what we’re trying to do.”