Small business turns online store into in-person, after facing pandemic hurdles | Community events


The art of Sarah Ogles

A small business in Athens has gone from an online e-commerce business to an in-person store.

“It’s SO Art.” opened its doors on Friday, but it did not come without obstacles.

The building has a lot of history. It was built in 1910, originally as a shoemaker’s workshop.

Building renovations were a project in themselves, then came labor shortages and supply chain issues, pushing opening day back almost 4 times.

“So many original opening dates,” said Sarah Ogles, owner of That’s SO Art.

Opening around Thanksgiving quickly turned into February and before she knew it, April 29 was the set date.

“It’s been a shoe repair shop for longer than I’ve been alive and there haven’t been any major updates since 1970,” Ogles said. “Everything had to be gutted and replaced and we really tried to restore it.”

Supply chain issues also impacted its own inventory.

“A lot of my products take a while to arrive,” Ogles said.

Most of his drawings are made digitally. She sends her work to a company to be printed on a product.

“This all took months longer than expected,” Ogles said.

Obstacle after obstacle didn’t prevent Ogles from seeing the big picture.

“You can never have too much art,” Ogles said. “This city reinvests a lot in its arts community.”

Ogles’ passion for art was still there, but in 2017 she hit rock bottom mentally.

“I just started trying to come back up,” Ogles said.

The art has kept its head above water for years.

“I started online in 2019, created the website and Instagram,” Ogles said. “I started TikTok to post something I do every day.”

The pandemic has actually intensified his online activity.

“I’ve been following her on her Instagram for a long time,” said Erin Smith, a customer.

During the pandemic, shopping online was really the only option for shoppers.

“It went viral a few times and I got a lot of orders, where I was selling hundreds at a time,” Ogles said.

This gave him the idea to go further, coming out of his studio room.

“We started to outgrow my studio and started thinking about exploring somewhere downtown,” Ogles said.

Those in the community, happy to see a small business in downtown Athens.

“It’s exciting to watch her grow, but also to have the chance to see and feel things,” Smith said.

The big picture, well worth the wait.

“Looks like it has a lot of history, an art gallery but also a shop,” Ogles said.

“It’s SO Art”, is on Market Street and will be open only on Fridays.

Find Sarah’s art here.


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