ABERDEEN — When store owners Bob and Heather Sweet decided to open a pottery gallery, they wanted their management style to be as hands-on as the artists who created the works for sale.
Sweet and his wife, Heather, recently opened Seagrove Pottery of the Sandhills, a space that has allowed the pair to bring parts of an area they love to where they already work and live.
“We did it because we admire the talent that’s in Seagrove,” Sweet said.
Seagrove has always been a favorite place for him and his wife. He thought the gallery would give good exposure for the artists and that the store fit well “with the fabric of the community,” saying customers from Laurinburg and other Scotland County areas have walked through his shop’s doors, as well those in Aberdeen and Pinehurst.
The gallery is connected to a retail store the Sweets also own, Lori’s Golf Shoppe 2, located at 1608 N.C. 5 in the Food Lion Plaza, just outside of Pinehurst. The stores are sandwiched between a Chinese restaurant and a party supplier.
The Sweets were inspired to start Lori’s Golf Shoppe 2 when they saw that local female golfers didn’t have many options when shopping for attire. After establishing the store, they realized that right next door was a large, empty space and thought opening the pottery gallery would entice current shoppers to walk over and snag a gift for a loved one.
Heather said that she and her husband had talked, for years, about opening a pottery or studio of some sort and began discussing their idea with the local Seagrove potters and eventually “it just kind of came together.”
“We’ve really focused on the pottery artists and we try to give a nice variety of styles,” she said. “Utilitarian, decorative, functional — it’s something for everybody.”
Although Sweet has always been in business, his wife was a history major and has a background in teaching. After years of watching and learning on the sidelines, Sweet ended up joining her husband.
Sweet, a Massachusetts native, and his wife, originally from upstate New York,moved to North Carolina about five years ago to “get out of the snow” and to someplace warmer.
Each of the 24 artists who contribute to the gallery usually have 20-25 pieces for sale on consignment.
“It gives people a chance to see a variety of artists and a variety of styles in one location,” Bob said.