Penny Reihl has been in retail for the majority of her career, so perhaps it was only a matter of time before she found herself the owner of a fantastic shop on Main Street in Bayfield.
Penny purchased Clay and Gourmet in July 2011 from the previous owner and longtime Bayfield business owner, Karen McNairn Dallas. She spent last season getting acquainted with her products and her clientele, and realized that, in order to best serve her customers, she would need more space.
This past March, Penny rented a mysteriously open spot on the eastern corner of a quaint courtyard that opens onto the South side of Main Street, and moved from the back of the courtyard to the front (Hive moved into the spot left by Clay and Gourmet).
Now, Penny has been working on filling the extra space she has to display all the pottery, sauces, jams, and other tasty goodness that she sells.
Last week, weeks after taking possession of the new space, she had to order even more display furniture! The move allowed her to bring on two more potters, so that she now shows the work of eight potters. She has also added a few more food lines, including Huron County’s own Robinson’s Maple Syrup, which is sold in delightful glass jars:
The 2012 season promises to be one of Clay and Gourmet’s best, what with the prime location and extended product list, not to mention Penny’s plan to feature food demonstrations on the gorgeous (soon-to-be-renovated) front porch!
I asked Penny if she had a favourite piece of pottery in her store, but she couldn’t decide:
“I love it all. I took a pottery class this past winter and it gave me a new respect for the work that goes into each individual piece. All pottery is a work of art.”
When I breezed through her store to take some snaps recently, I noticed this delicious Cardamom Mate Chai, which I happen to have in my cupboard (actually, I drank a cup last night!). Penny told me she drinks only Yerba Mate tea… and I took a moment to reminisce about my visit to Argentina, where I was introduced to the cultural custom of sharing cup after cup of sweet hot bitter yerba mate.
I was curious about what a shop owner in one of North America’s favourite getaway towns does to get away. Penny does what many of us would like to do but perhaps don’t get around to often enough:
“I enjoy going for long drives and discovering unique shops in out-of-the-way places: there are many talented artists in quaint towns and villages in Ontario.”
Don’t miss Clay and Gourmet on your next trip to Bayfield: you’re sure to be captivated by something to eat or to eat from!