It’s hard to let go

Clay­ground busi­ness for sale in Wolfville

Annapolis Valley Register - - FRONT PAGE - KINGSCOUN­TYNEWS.CA WOLFVILLE, N.S. Sara.Eric­s­son@kingscoun­tynews.ca

A safe haven and creative space for crafters in Wolfville has been listed for sale but will stay open un­til the right buy­ers are found to carry on the beloved busi­ness.

At the age of 62, Linda Bark­house has de­cided she is ready to re­tire and will sell the Clay­ground, a ce­ramic paint­ing stu­dio she co-owns with her sis­ter, Me­lanie Godon, in Wolfville.

Bark­house says the de­ci­sion was ‘ex­tremely dif­fi­cult,’ and was not one she ar­rived at eas­ily, since she and her sis­ter love their busi­ness dearly.

“I started writ­ing a lit­tle story about our Clay­ground, and I got more and more sad and thought, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ There are so many mem­o­ries here,” says Bark­house.

A spe­cial con­nec­tion Bark­house and Godon have owned the busi­ness for 11 years and say they orig­i­nally bought it be­cause it re­minded them of mak­ing ce­ram­ics with their grand­mother.

Now, the women have cre­ated their own mem­o­ries with cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees with whom they’ve shared new fam­ily mem­o­ries, and who’ve been reach­ing out to share their own ex­pe­ri­ences at the Clay­ground, and what it has meant to them.

“There are so many good mem­o­ries, and some­times you get busy and for­get that. We’ve been talk­ing about our shared mem­o­ries here, and it makes it hard,” says Bark­house.

Bark­house says she ex­pects who­ever takes over the busi­ness to change and up­date it to suit their unique ap­proach but still hopes to find some­one with a sim­i­lar per­sonal con­nec­tion to it.

She and Godon still use ce­ramic molds made by their grand­mother – some­thing Bark­house says has added a spe­cial touch to the busi­ness over the years.

“It’s the kind of busi­ness that at­tracts cer­tain kinds of peo­ple, and it’s al­ways felt like it con­nected us to our grand­mother. So for that to carry on would be nice,” she says.

Still open for busi­ness Bark­house wants to re­as­sure her cus­tomers the busi­ness will op­er­ate as usual and will stay open for any­one want­ing to paint ce­ram­ics un­til it is sold.

“When peo­ple heard it was for sale, many as­sumed it was also closed. But no – we have no in­ten­tions of clos­ing, and will stay open so long as we own it,” says Bark­house.

Bark­house says she has down­sized her house since her chil­dren moved away and feels the next step is to down­size her pro­fes­sional life.

This means step­ping away from own­ing a busi­ness, and to­ward things like vol­un­teer­ing, gar­den­ing and trav­el­ling – things she hasn’t had much time for since be­com­ing a busi­ness owner.

“I in­tended on run­ning it for only five years when we bought it. Now, more than a decade later, it seems like it’s gone by so fast,” says Bark­house.

“It’s hard to put into words – it’s a won­der­ful lit­tle busi­ness. I love the Clay­ground, and I will al­ways have the mem­o­ries we’ve made here over the years.” build­ing was fully en­gulfed, crews worked hard to min­i­mize the dam­age.

“You’re try­ing to save as much as pos­si­ble for in­surance pur­poses so they can do an in­ves­ti­ga­tion if they feel they need to, and sav­ing ex­posed build­ings,” Wade said. “There were sev­eral build­ings there that were at high risk of be­ing lost.”

The chief said he’s not aware of any sort of in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“I’ve done my re­port and sent it off to the Fire Mar­shal’s Of­fice and I’m ba­si­cally wait­ing to hear back from him,” Wade said. He said he did not know if the house was in­sured.

Trucks from Kingston, Mar­garetsville, Mid­dle­ton, Nic­taux, An­napo­lis Royal, and Bear River were also on the scene. Nova Sco­tia Power was also called and an RCMP of­fi­cer was there.

Fire­fight­ers were still on scene late into the night.

The home­owner and his daugh­ter are stay­ing with nearby rel­a­tives for now, and are be­ing helped by the Cana­dian Red Cross with emer­gency pur­chases like cloth­ing, food, and other essen­tials, said Red Cross spokesman Dan Bedell. the

SARA ERIC­S­SON

Linda Bark­house, right, owns Wolfville’s Clay­ground stu­dio along with her sis­ter, Me­lanie Godon. They each hold a ce­ramic mold de­signed by their grand­mother, with whom they used to make ce­ram­ics when they were kids. The sis­ters have de­cided to sell their busi­ness but will re­main open un­til it is sold.

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