Seaglass studio to relocate and add café
Seaglass Studio in the Town of St George is getting ready for its biggest change in 14 years.
The shop, which is halfway along Water Street, is about to relocate to the other side of the street.
It is taking over part of the former CV café, which closed earlier this month.
Once the seaglass shop settles into its new location, owner Kelly Diel intends to open a café in the other portion of the premises, the section that was once Café Latte, run by former town mayor E. Michael Jones.
For Ms Diel, the addition of a café will make things easier during the traditionally quieter winter months when the Seaglass shop sees fewer tourists breezing in.
She said the shop does well for seven months of the year, but when the quiet months arrive it has to survive on previously saved income.
Seaglass Studio will relocate at the beginning of next month, while the café is expected to open in November.
“The only problem I have is the five months of downtime each year when there are no cruise ships. I have to save money in the summer to get through. But with a café there will be some winter income,” she said.
Ms Diel is a beachcomber. She collects detritus that washes up on the sand and finds a new use for it.
The many shades and shapes of seaglass found on the beaches are combined with copper, silver or gold wire and turned into jewellery, such as necklace pendants and earrings.
Some pieces become key chains or fridge magnets, others are added to larger designs, including picture frames, or hung decoratively from pieces of driftwood.
The shop is a treasure trove of assortments. Ms Diel sits at a work station creating new pieces to sell, while also greeting customers as they enter and browse.
Larger pieces for sale include decorative pieces made from netting, old rope, metal, bleached driftwood, and other discarded items. Some have been used to create shelves, which are popular with locals.
Elsewhere, a wedge of wood that may have come from a shipyard has been now repurposed as an unusual tea light holder decorated with broken shells and seaglass.
Wherever you look in Seaglass Studio you find surprising and innovative refashioning of flotsam and jetsam that has washed up to the island’s shores, including many pieces of ocean-smoothed seaglass.
“Nearly everything has something from the beach incorporated in it.”
She also sells a variety of her own hand-painted glassware.
Tourists wander in and out and are often on the lookout for something they can say is genuinely made in Bermuda.
Repeat customers are an important factor in the success of the business.
Ms Diel said that in the 2000s the town was regularly visited by the cruise ship Norwegian Majesty, which sailed from Boston and docked at the town between Tuesdays and Fridays. When that service ended, the next generation of larger cruise ships had to be accommodated at Dockyard.
However, Boston visitors now come on the Norwegian Dawn, and with the addition this year of a Norwegian Cruise Line-operated shuttle ferry it means the Town of St George is serviced by two ferries, four times a day.
“It has made a fantastic difference,” said Ms Diel, explaining that many of the repeat visitors who love the town make a point of returning to the shop.
“Repeat customers are the key. They go back home and tell their friends who then come out.”
Ms Diel enjoys spending evenings and weekends with her “better half” wandering on local beaches searching for items that she can turn into something to sell in the shop.
At Seaglass Studio, in between serving customers, she sits and creates the smaller pieces to sell. She enjoys the entire process, from the initial searching on the beaches to the creative process and finally interacting with customers.
“It is very peaceful and relaxing. At weekends at home I paint and bake the glassware and that’s where I make all the wall art.”
Ms Diel said she is looking forward to the possibilities that the shop’s relocation, followed by the opening of a café, will offer.
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