The Makery on Mill has built a following in its first few months
Jody Fogle has always enjoyed getting together with friends to work on craft projects. The conversations and creativity that flowed during these gatherings inspired the idea for her new store in Utica, The Makery on Mill, which just opened this past May.
The unique corner store sells gift items handcrafted by local makers and provides a cozy location for people to stop by and work on a craft to take home. Visitors can grab a seat at the “make table” located in the center of the store and work on projects of their choice. Right now, the popular crafts are string art and custom signs.
Whether you’re wanting to make a keepsake souvenir after hiking Starved Rock or just come in with family and friends to string a design you think would go perfect in your home —The Makery on Mill offers the supplies and guidance for these sort of fun opportunities.
“I knew I wanted to do some hands-on things in the store, but the make table was a last minute thing. I thought, I want people to have a place to sit and visit, too. It’s not just a store,” Fogle said when describing her vision.
Fogle is also a huge supporter of local makers and shows great appreciation for the talents they possess. She’s passionate about the Maker Movement, which is attracting more attention and appreciation for those wanting to learn the lost arts people did generations ago like sewing, felting, canning food, crafting and making items from scratch.
“People are learning to garden and can again or make jelly and put a cute bow on it to give away as gifts. … It’s not just home (economics) and art. It’s industry and people are inventing again,” she said. “I think it’s a trend that will last a while, because what’s coming from it is community again.”
And that sense of community is what Fogle strives to create inside her store. The inviting, warm welcome she offers to those who walk through her door instantly puts shoppers and makers at ease and sets the tone for a fun, casual atmosphere.
“I’m very passionate about that,” she said. “I want this place to be a very comfortable, kind, welcoming place for everybody. It’s about sitting down and creating something for someone or for yourself.”
In just the few months The Makery on Mill has been open, it’s attracted visitors from all over the country and beyond. Many are tourists who have stopped by after visiting Starved Rock.
The diverse cultures and backgrounds make for great conversation at the make table, which is exactly what keeps Fogle excited about her newest endeavor.
Fogle herself is also an artist. Over the last year, she started selling custom pebble art which she makes from stones and shale found in local backyards and rivers. While she had requests from store owners who wanted to sell her work, she declined the offers knowing her work was so custom that she needed to sell it on her own for it to be successful. Her new shop has allowed her to fulfill this dream. And along the way she’s satisfying the dreams of other local makers and artisans in the area by showcasing and selling their pieces.
The Makery on Mill also provides private party classes for 10 or more people, which have proven to be very popular this summer. Fogle is also currently working on setting up various art medium classes, which local artists will be invited to teach. She encourages people to follow The Makery on Mill Facebook page to look out for announcements about those future classes.
And because the string art has been so popular this past summer, Fogle now hosts String Art Night on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. The store is open to shoppers during this time, but the night is largely focused on those who are interested in trying their hand at the craft. This night is especially geared towards locals looking to avoid the tourist traffic on weekends.
“It’s fun to meet new people, but it’s also about the locals and our community,” Fogle said.
The Makery on Mill is located at 167 Mill Street in Utica. For updates on classes and hours of business, follow The Makery on Mill Facebook page.