CHAMBERSBURG – Hammer & Stain (31 S. Main St.) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, November 18 to celebrate the opening of its new Main Street storefront. The DIY creative studio’s new location features a large retail space in the front and an even larger studio space in the back for hosting public workshops and events.
Along one side of the retail portion of the shop, underneath large letters that spell out “MAKE & TAKE,” are dozens of blank specialty items for customers to choose from and design as they see fit during “Open Paint” sessions (these times can be found on the events calendar on their homepage). There year-round decorations like trays and platters waiting to be decorated by creative customers, and there are seasonal items like houses, campers and trees that would be perfect in a Christmas village scene.
On the other side of the room is an array of pre-made items for customers to walk in and buy off of the shelf.
Co-owners Ashley Peters and Kyla Symonds are excited about the new retail space, but visitors will quickly get the impression that the real magic happens back in the studio space. Here, Peters and Symonds combine the fun of arts and crafts with the excitement of social gatherings to create one-of-a-kind pieces – and experiences – that participants will cherish for a long time.
“We host public workshops with specialty items,” says Peters. “We do blankets, wood projects, and ceramics. We also do private parties. We host events like bridal showers, bachelorette parties, baby showers, birthday parties, and we do kids events, too.”
They are also equipped to host permanent jewelry parties at either their downtown location (for parties of six or more) or offsite (for groups of 15 or more). Permanent jewelry, true to its name, will remain on the wearer until they decide to remove it.
“We measure your wrist, and then the chain is cut to fit you perfectly,” says Peters, “and then it is welded together. It is semi-permanent. It would stay on until you cut it off.”
Symonds says that people bond differently when they gather to perform a dedicated action – especially when it means trying something new.
“We get people all the time who come in and say, ‘I’m not crafty’ or ‘I’m not artsy,’ and you don’t have to be,” says Symonds. “It’s an experiment, and we get to help guide you through it.” The real success is “leaving feeling proud of what you did and that you did it.”
She adds that events like bridal showers and baby showers are opportunities for guests to create signage for the wedding day or the baby’s room. It adds a layer of meaning to the experience when a group can feel included, and they can actively participate in the celebration.
“It’s great for kids, too,” she says. “We get a lot of kids’ birthday parties. It’s fun for them to have a space where they can be creative.” For many kids, this might be their first opportunity to create something permanent that has their own name on it.
For the parents, Hammer & Stain presents a rare chance to let someone else take the lead while the kids have fun and explore. It’s also a great way for the parents to get ideas for activities to do with their children.
“Our hope is to inspire creativity in our space,” says Symonds. “It’s definitely an experience.”
Peters and Symonds purchased Hammer & Stain one year ago, and the business is now in its third year overall. They say that the new start on Main Street puts the company more in line with their own vision. The business had previously been located in the Coldspring Square shopping plaza on Wayne Avenue.
They had initially been looking at a different space on Main Street, and when that one didn’t work out, they happened to stumble into what turned out to be their perfect location.
“We were like, this is where we want to be,” says Symonds. “This is our home.”
Peters adds: “It all fell into place.”
They had a lot of help from friends and family members to get the space ready for opening day, many of whom were also present during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“Before things started,” says Symonds describing how she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, “I walked out and seeing the space filled with people – I literally turned around and went right back into the office and cried before I came out.”