Athens small business takes its online shop to in-person after facing pandemic hurdles | Community Events

Athens small business takes its online shop to in-person after facing pandemic hurdles | Community Events

Sara Ogles’ art 

A small business in Athens pivoted from an online, e-commerce business to an in-person shop.

‘That’s SO Art.” opened its doors on Friday at 110 W. Market St. in Athens, but the didn’t come without hurdles.

The building has a lot of history. It was built in 1910, originally as a shoe repair shop.

Renovations to the building were needed. 

“It’s been a shoe repair shop longer than I’ve been alive and it had not had any major updates since 1970,” said Sara Ogles, owner of “That’s SO Art.”

“Everything had to be gutted and replaced and we tried really hard to restore it.”

Then came labor shortages and supply chain issues, pushing back opening day multiple times.

“So many original opening dates,” said Ogles.

Opening around Thanksgiving, quickly turned into February and before she knew it, April 29 was the date.

Supply chain issues also impacted her own inventory.

“A lot of my products take time to get in,” said Ogles.

Most of her drawings are done digitally. She sends her work to a company to be printed onto a product.

“All of that took months longer than we expected,” said Ogles.

Hurdle after hurdle didn’t stop Ogles from seeing the big picture.

“You can never have too much art,” said Ogles. “This town is putting a lot back into its art community.”

Ogle’s passion for art was always there, but in 2017 she hit rock bottom mentally.

“Just started to try to climb back out of it,” said Ogles.

Art kept her head above water for years.

“I started online in 2019, spun off the website and Instagram,” said Ogles. “I started the TikTok to post something that I made every day.”

The pandemic actually heightened her online business.

“I’ve followed her for a long time on her Instagram,” said Erin Smith, a shopper.

During the pandemic, online shopping was really the only option for buyers.

“It went viral a couple of times and I got a lot of orders, where I was selling hundreds at a time,” said Ogles.

It gave her the idea to go bigger.

“We started outgrowing my studio and started thinking about exploring a place downtown,” said Ogles.

Those in the community, happy to see a small business to Downtown Athens.

“it’s exciting to see her grow but then also have the chance to see things and feel things,” said Smith.

The big picture, well worth the wait.

“It feels like it has a lot of history, an art gallery but a shop too,” said Ogles.

“That’s SO Art,” is on Market Street and will be open on Fridays only.

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