DANVILLE -- Marie and Jon McCarty have a unique business arrangement that has expanded to Danville.
Jon is an attorney who moved from Chicago to Covington, Ind., where he opened a law practice. He later opened an office on Gilbert Street in Danville, his hometown.
Marie opened Potter's Alley in the back part of Jon's office in Covington three years ago. Many of Marie's customers were from Danville who were thrilled when she decided to expand into her husband's office building in Danville.
She has taken the front part of the building, while her husband maintains space in the back for law clients.
Marie admits the arrangement is unique.
"They are two different businesses," she said. "It is like a Mom and Pop operation, but we are different. We fit together. It is our space."
Potter's Alley is unique.
"It is experiences with a good memory," Marie said. "You come in and create something. You create it yourself."
She features Bisquewear, a type of ceramic in her pottery and ceramic studio. Customers pick out a piece, paint it and design it.
"You can spend a couple hours or come in several times to work on it," she said. "There is something about ceramics."
This is not a made-to-buy store. Customers create their own designs.
"You can walk in during the hours we are open," Marie said. "We will walk you through the steps."
Party time is the big thing. Children's groups, mom's groups and church women all have used the shop as groups. Parents find it is a blessing for children especially during the cold months, Marie said.
Recently a woman brought her grandchild who put her handprint on a dish that was glazed as Christmas gift.
"There is nothing like this," said Marie, a native of Hoopeston. It is especially popular during the winter months.
Deb Duncan said the idea started at the former art gallery that she ran on the east side of the square in Covington, where Marie came in and taught classes.
"It started at the art gallery and we had the idea to expand it," Duncan said. She and McCarty opened Potter's Alley in Covington, but McCarty bought her out after a year.
"She is enormously talented," Duncan said. "She is so energetic, and Jon is supportive and pushes her."
Duncan said so many ages can participate.
"There are so many things kids can do," Duncan said. "It is a great place for families. Ladies like to get together for a ladies' night out."
Marie plans to be in the Covington store most of the time. She has hired a college student to run the Danville store, but she expects to be there a couple of days a week.
She has been working on getting the new studio ready since August. She said the holiday time was a good time to open. She is planning a grand opening after the first of the year.
"Art was my passion," Marie said. "I took it three times a day in high school."
She is a graduate of Hoopeston-East Lynn High School and the University of Illinois. She is a part-time art teacher at Covington Christian School.
"I have had classes in Covington during the summer," she said. "It gives me a chance to teach again."
McCarty loves her work.
"There is nothing like this," she said. "Every day is different. You make it your own."