Relish owners Terri and Jennifer grew up in northwest Millcreek, in the Eaglehurst subdivision, just one block from the beaches of Lake Erie.
As children, they collected everything, including beach glass, on daily walks on the beach with their mom at the foot of Shorehaven Dr.
Beach glass has always had a certain allure for the girls. It’s not only the beauty of the beach glass that attracts them. It’s the story of each piece that’s discovered and the mystery of where it originated from, what it once was, and how long it’s been in the water.
It’s the thrill of the hunt and the euphoria of an amazing find. Despite their artistic ability and inclination towards jewelry making, the idea to work specifically with beach glass didn’t come until later on, when Jennifer’s then 6-year-old son, Spencer, asked her to make him a ring from a piece of beach glass he’d found.
It was a perfect fit with her passion for sterling silver, and from that Aha! moment on, she began making jewelry out of beach glass exclusively from Lake Erie. Once word spread about the jewelry Jennifer was creating, everyone seemed interested, and she began having difficulty keeping up with demand.
She asked her sister, Terri, to help her – and to have faith in her idea and this new adventure. Finally, after almost three years of working out of a 10 x 13 laundry room in Jennifer’s home, the sisters decided it was time for an upgrade, and opened their first store, Relish, only a street away from their childhood home.
The first 6 years the store was open Jennifer and Terri didn’t even advertise. Word of mouth and satisfied customers kept business coming. In 2001, Relish’s rapid growth prompted another expansion, and the girls moved to a new, 3,000 square ft. storefront at 3835 W. 12th St.
It wasn’t always easy, but a combination of creative energy, natural drive and entrepreneurial spirit helped the sisters transition from ‘artists’ to owners of a successful, start-up arts-based business, braving the multitudes of hats they now had to wear, massive amounts of paperwork, and a shaky economy.