While the pandemic had a negative impact on many businesses, Willow and Pine Market owner Anne Higgins said she made the best of the situation and even expanded the store.
“This hasn’t been the case for everyone and I am keenly aware of that,” she said. “People are spending more time cooking and eating at home and they are wanting to refresh their dinnerware and cooking utensils. I think we are all feeling, more than ever, that time spent with friends and family is precious and setting a pretty table, or having new serving pieces, is a way to make those times even more special.”
Higgins said when people ask her about why she decided to open the store, she tells them that she has always loved dishes and setting a pretty table — even in the days when she had small children at home and had to keep things simple.
“My mother and my grandmother loved dishes and glassware … having those special pieces now brings me so much joy,” she said. “I tell everyone that if my mother was still alive, this would be her favorite store in town.”
When she opened her first location in May 2020, Higgins knew she wanted to offer some of the beautiful pottery and ceramics she had found while living in Europe.
That location, affectionately referred to as “The Sliver,” was only 1,100 square feet. Higgins said the space quickly became too small as customers were not only “going crazy” over the Polish pottery she stocked, but were also asking for kitchen items, as well.
In October 2020, Higgins moved to her current location at the corner of 2nd and St. Ann streets.
“I doubled my space and more than tripled my inventory,” she said. “I now have a large selection of Polish pottery, Italian ceramics and stemware, table linens, candles, knives, and a wide variety of kitchen items.”
She now carries more than 50 brands in the store.
“I’ve been very intentional about stocking the store,” Higgins said. “I want it to be a place where nearly everyone can find something to take home.”
She said she has a variety of brands and a range of prices. Some of the items she keeps in stock are casual dinnerware, Italian ceramics, bamboo kitchen utensils, and pewter stemware.
Looking toward the future, Higgins said she is hoping to grow her bridal registry, bring in more items for the men and host small events at the store.
“I never dreamed my little pottery shop would turn into all of this,” Higgins said. “I’ve had so much support and encouragement from the community and I’m so grateful.”