Staff Photo: John Bohn Painted pottery decorates the entrance to Creative ClayHouse, a business owned by Richard and LaDonna Greiner. The business is located at 593 Main Street in Suwanee. Clay pottery instructional classes and parties are some of the many artistic services offered.
SUWANEE -- For at least five years, Richard and LaDonna Greiner searched for a business they could both engage in.
After they painted with their granddaughter in Springfield, Mo., they settled on a painting and pottery business that's been open on Main Street in Suwanee since 2006. Creative ClayHouse offers the chance to paint your own pottery, clay and glass.
"It's the least stressful job I've ever had," Richard said.
A former credit manager and bookkeeper, Richard was forced into retirement by a heart attack, but LaDonna, who works full-time for a nonprofit that works with orphans, calls this his post-retirement business.
The 1,500-square-foot house where they keep the business was built in 1876, and it still has some original floors, walls and doors. The house, which is down the street from Pierce's Corner, was originally built by a doctor, but later used as the Suwanee Post Office, the Greiners said.
LaDonna said they enjoy the historic nature of the house because it offers character that they couldn't find in strip malls.
"People come in, they feel very comfortable, very relaxed in here, and that's what we want," LaDonna said. "We want to give people a place where they can get away and enjoy themselves, whether they're by themselves or with their families."
The Greiners have five part-time employees, and a daughter who lives in Atlanta to help run the business. Richard said one key is to keep a fresh product base.
"You can't just keep the same items all the time just because they're popular," he said. "Because popularity is like waves in the ocean, they come and go."
One recent product is repurposing glass bottles as what they call, "bottle blinging." They melt wine bottles in shapes to hang as decorations or make them into cheese trays.
Creative ClayHouse caters to all types of groups, including bridal showers, family reunions and corporate retreats.
"It's rewarding to be able to provide something people enjoy doing," LaDonna said. "It's affordable, and they have something to show for it afterward."