By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Since graduating in 2012, Ashley Hughes has returned to her old haunts in Bowling Green to shop and eat out.
On one trip the Bowling Green State University graduate in tourism and event planning noticed an empty storefront. She didn’t see a vacancy, she saw an opportunity. Last weekend Hughes opened Peach Peony Co. at 140 N. Main St., just as the shop’s namesake flower were blooming.
Hughes reported a good opening weekend, but she won’t pop back up again until June 15 in conjunction with the first Firefly Night event.
Hughes sells a variety of crafts and home decor products to appeal to all the senses. She has candles, foodstuffs including jerky, signs, cards and more including her own handcrafted dreamcatchers. While she stocks merchandise that appeals to all ages, her target market is college students and recent graduates.
“I saw the opportunity here in BG to tap into the younger crowd,” she said. “They definitely appreciate the handmade quality and shopping small.”
She set the time’s she’s open to their needs. Her hours will be coordinated with Flatlands Coffee next door, staying open well into the evening, including until 10 p.m. on Firefly Nights and in the Friday and Saturday of the Black Swamp Arts Festival.
Hughes knew that she was only going to be open a few weekends this summer, and when she learned about Firefly Nights, that persuaded her to make those the weekends.
Starting Aug. 15 she’ll be open every weekend with her grand opening scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 25, during move-in weekend.
Hughes sometimes organizes her own shows – she had one in Upper Sandusky earlier this month and has another one planned for November. Her recent show included 45 vendors and food trucks. She also sells her wares at fairs around the state, Columbus area this weekend and then Cincinnati. She’s participated in vintage markets hosted by Bowling Green shop Painted Clover. She mixes in some of the merchandise from the shop.
Hughes is still adding to her merchandise mix. She has some screen-printed apparel coming in. The clothing will have Bowling Green and Ohio themes.
Hughes was making dreamcatchers while attending BGSU. Her sorority sisters were so enthusiastic that she launched an Etsy shop.
“I was always interested in arts and crafts and grew up going to arts and crafts shows,” Hughes said. Now she’s made them her business.