“Aqua Culture is a great example of the expertise and product diversity found in our small Toledo business. Not only do they hold ceramics classes, they also showcase a marine wonderland of fish, coral and accessories in the heart of the Great Lakes. I encourage everyone to stop by Come down and be amazed and educated!” – Sandy Spang, Deputy Director of Economic Development
After a 28-year career in advertising and marketing, Laurie Clark, owner of Aqua Culture, LLC, was driving home one day thinking about her future. Clark thought she wanted to focus on a new and exciting career that would give her purpose.
She recalled her childhood hobby of caring for saltwater fish. It was a passion project with her brother when they were young. These two hours are spent caring for the tank and corals. She made a decision. Clark talked to her husband, and they decided to start a local business.
How did you start your business and why in this location?
We opened seven years ago at Sud Plaza Mall on October 22nd. That’s a lot of work. I looked at the window and thought it was perfect because it had everything I needed. At the time I had 22 tanks to highlight.
I like this area because it looks like it could use a boost, and I have a feeling I could really make a splash. Before KT’s Diner moved in, the hair salon was the only store open. After I opened my shop, many others followed suit. It gave new life to Sud Square.
Why did you get into ceramics?
When COVID hit my fishery it nearly wiped out my business. I had to figure out some way to make ends meet (no pun intended). I want to stay open because I appreciate the people in this area and I want to continue to serve this community.
When I was a little girl, my mom used to drop me off at a neighbor’s house and I would pottery in her basement. That was a special time for me.
When I get back into ceramics, I want to share it with my friends. I knew my store would be a peaceful space for people to come and paint ceramics and have fun together. I tricked my husband into driving me to Columbus where we bought an old kiln. I started making the molds and that’s how it all started.
What is your class like?
I pretty much have an open studio. One time is 2 hours. I dump most of my stuff at home. I clean them, fire them, and bring them here. Many women enjoy painting around a pond or in their yard.
But now that Christmas starts, trees are going to be a big deal. I have new villages, trinkets and snowmen. This month I’m having a special painting party in Snowman Village, and I’ll be sending out invites on Facebook, and people can RSVP and see how we’re doing.
Aqua Culture, LLC combines fish, coral and my ceramics. They are two very different parts of my business, but the ladies and my customers love it. People come in, they say “hi” to the fish, and they go into the studio and create. It’s very amazing, very charming.
How do you see the future of Aqua Cultures?
I am very happy. I am really happy. I don’t want to get too big, but I would definitely like more clients. The economy is tough there, so I try to keep the prices fair. If someone walks in and says ‘I love this, but I can’t afford it right now,’ I’ll work with them.
I have a little boy whose mom sends him home on Saturdays and is the sweetest kid I’ve ever met and it costs me almost nothing to work with him because I know his mom doesn’t have a lot of money. He loves it here and I know he’s safe and creative and that’s the most important thing.
Aqua Culture LLC
5153 South Street
Tuesday to Thursday 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Saturday and Sunday 11:00am to 1:00pm
Call for a private studio session