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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - A 'new' Free Spirit
Local takes over downtown pottery shop
Free Spirit - Ann Walsh with Amber McCormick Web
Ann Walsh with new Free Spirit Pottery owner Amber Brinson McCormick. - photo by MANDY EDWARDS/Special

                Last year I shared with you about Free Spirit Pottery's impact on downtown and how owner Ann Walsh was looking for an apprentice to take over the business.
        The response Walsh received from that story confirmed that many of you feel as I do, that Free Spirit must continue. Walsh went from having no interest to several interested parties looking at her business. Earlier this month, Walsh chose Amber Brinson McCormick as the one to continue Free Spirit.
        In a statement after the sale to McCormick, Walsh said, "I can't thank each of you enough for supporting Free Spirit Pottery for the past 13 1/2 years. I couldn't have succeeded without you. I feel so blessed to live and work in such a wonderful caring community. Selling to Amber feels so good and right! Please support her and the studio as you always have."
        When Walsh opened Free Spirit, downtown Statesboro was experiencing a rebirth with the completion of the renovations of the Averitt Center for the Arts and the Emma Kelly Theater. Those projects brought a lot of excitement and new businesses to the downtown area.
        Walsh had recently retired from a family business and was ready for a new challenge that allowed her to explore and expand her creative side. She enjoyed traveling and visited similar shops in downtowns and tourist areas throughout the country and felt it would be a great fit with the resurgence and creation of the arts district downtown.
        Walsh and Free Spirit have been a wonderful compliment to the Averitt Center in providing artistic outlets for kids of all ages and an escape for generations of adults.
        One of the challenges in downtown is creating a unique mix of retail and professional offices that draw folks to the area. With Free Spirit's unique variety of creative opportunities, they have become a destination for downtown visitors.
        Of course, one of the secrets of the success of Free Spirit begins with Walsh. Not only is she wonderfully creative, but she is the kind of person who is always smiling and is just a joy to be around. I am convinced people just come to enjoy her company as much as they do to paint and create. For this reason it was important for Walsh to find the perfect fit.
        On becoming the new owner, McCormick said, "I am incredibly humbled that God has blessed me with this amazing opportunity. I am so excited to be a part of downtown Statesboro, and its many opportunities. I look forward to continuing the legacy Ann started."
        McCormick plans to keep most things the same, but looks to add some new after-hours events and other opportunities for groups of all ages to come enjoy the pottery and glass studio.
        Free Spirit Pottery and Glass Studio is a paint-your-own-ceramics studio.
        They are located at 42 East Main Street in downtown Statesboro.

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