HUDSON — There’s a new place to gather and create something fun and decorative for the home: AR Workshop Hudson, 85 S. Main St., Suite B.
Susan Daniels and Mary Katherine Donnelly, both do-it-yourself home décor enthusiasts and co-owners of the shop, first learned about the brand during a ladies’ night out in Raleigh.
"After attending a workshop, I was so inspired by the lively atmosphere and I just couldn’t take it off my mind," Daniels said. "I started looking at the corporate website and social media to find out more."
Daniels was visiting a friend in North Carolina and attended an AR Workshop. Donnelly said when Daniels got back to Ohio, she was inspired by the experience.
"She immediately said, ‘This is what I want to be when I grow up.’ She invited me to go to one in Worthington and that’s when she asked me if I’d have any interest in opening one up. And I told her absolutely."
"It didn’t really take much convincing after she experienced a workshop herself," Daniels said, "she was hooked, too."
Donnelly and Daniels are longtime friends who live in the same neighborhood in Sagamore Hills. They did their research and decided to open a franchise, chosing Hudson because Daniels attends Christ Community Chapel.
"Hudson was at the top of our list," Donnelly said. "We know it’s such a great place."
Daniels, who is the majority owner, said the workshop is community-oriented.
"And I’m very DIY," she said. "I started my career at the Sherwin-Williams headquarters here in town and worked there close to 15 years. I feel like DIY is in my DNA."
Daniels enjoys creating projects with wood and said she wanted to open her own AR Workshop to bring people together.
"I think this is the best way to do that," she said.
During instructor-led workshops, participants prepare their custom design, assemble and finish projects with non-toxic stain and paint colors hand-chosen by the founders. The instructional approach enables visitors at any skill level to produce beautiful artworks and ensures consistent, high-end results for the home, office or as a personalized gift, say the owners.
A grand opening took place April 29, with more than 200 people turning out to make and take home a DIY mini-sign.
And during a VIP party May 1, Daniels, Donnelly and staff welcomed members of the Hudson Chamber of Commerce and the media into their new business where long work tables were set with supplies and tools required for the evening’s DIY mini sign. Those who took on a project sat on a metal stool and painted a piece of wood already stenciled with an Ohio or Hudson design.
Employees at the workshop made their way around to each person, helping them with their make-and-take mini-sign. AR Workshop Hudson has one full-time employee (Daniels) and 11 part-time employees (including Donnelly). The shop is 1,500-square-feet in size.
The workshop is decorated with many of the projects that can be made there, including plank wood signs, serving trays, lazy susans, framed signs, chalk boards, centerpiece boxes and photo signs, as well as canvas pillows, bags and wall hangings.
In essence, the AR Workshop looks like a live version of someone’s Pinterest board. Themes run from country to farm to industrial. The room is long and large and well lit by hanging lights and track lighting. The building faces west and receives light from the setting sun through its front windows.
Jim Bucks of Hudson and his 11-year-old daughter, Alyvia, were busily dabbing paint on their mini signs May 1. Bucks said he had never been in a DIY workshop boutique before.
"This is a good place for the community," Bucks said. "Good for family and kids to get together and do projects."
Bucks said he considers himself a creative person but found it helpful to have a template with which to work and help from AR assistants.
Laura Martin, Daniels’ sister, works evenings at AR Workshop as an assistant. She got involved with her sister’s business as a way to spend more time with family.
"There was nothing better than coming out here and helping with the build-out," Martin said. "We’ve been here just about every weekend. My son and I just love it here. I love the people — everybody who walks through the door is just so nice. And I like helping them."
Laura Otrusina of Huron said she has participated in many DIY home decor workshops but had never been to an AR Workshop until now.
"This is a very cute store. Probably one of the cutest I’ve seen. It’s well put together," said Otrusina.
To view AR Workshop Hudson’s schedule of workshops, and to register, go to www.arworkshop.com/hudson/. Private events can be scheduled. Gift cards are available. Call 234-602-1015 for more information.
Reporter Steve Wiandt, can be reached at 330-541-9420, email@example.com or @SteveWiandt_RPC.