Nearly three years ago, Jessica Greene and husband Franklin Santana were the proud parents of a baby girl and the owners of a brand new craft shop in Durham - Bull City Craft.
Today, Greene acknowledges that it might not have been the very best idea to open a new store at around the same time as you welcome your first child into the world. But, regardless, both the baby, now an active toddler, and the store are thriving.
"We saw it as an opportunity for our family," she tells me. "It's been an adventure."
Greene is a long-time art teacher and continues to work full-time at a local school. She has been focused on the shop's promotions and events, which include a slate of programs for kids and families. Her husband, with experience in the retail and wholesale businesses, runs the day-to-day operations.
The couple was inspired by a friend's store in Brooklyn. When they moved to Durham in 2006, they saw a need. It all came together three years ago in April.
"It's been a crazy schedule, but it's given us a lot of benefits," she said. Bull City Craft offers a place for kids, adults to create
Bull City Craft sells craft materials for kids to adults at the front of the store. The back of the shop offers room for a variety of special programs and classes. They include drop-in hours where kids can make specific crafts for a fee using materials supplied by the shop; family programs such as last week's Valentine's Day craft party; birthday parties and summer camps. (Click here to see a cute Valentine's Day craft from Greene).
Greene said her Preschool Playcraft remains a very popular program for kids ages 1 to 5 and their adults. From 11 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, Bull City offers age appropriate art materials, including handmade play dough and washable non-toxic fingerpaint, for kids. Kids move from one craft center to another for free play and creation. The cost is $5 for kids and $5 for each additional child.
There's also programs just for adults too, including events a couple of times a month at Fullsteam Brewery.
Greene said her daughter has grown up in the shop. At the same time, she and her husband feel like they've really become part of the community. Customers have become good friends. In fact, her daughter now attends a home preschool that a customer, now friend, runs.
"We really feel like we know people in the community now," she said. "It's a lot of fun."
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