Hutchinson, Minn (WCCO) – Tucked inside an unassuming storefront in downtown “Hutch,” as the locals say, craftsmen delicately create cookware by the touch of their fingertips.
If cooking is an art, Clay Coyote makes art you can cook with.
“Every piece is touched I think we counted something like 50 times before it gets into your hands,” said owner Morgan Baum. “We often say that it’s from our hands to your hands.”
But hands stopped mending and molding in March 2020 when the world came to a screeching halt and the business had to close. Baum, like so many small business owners in the country, was scared and thought her 27-year-old family business might see its last days.
“It’s heart-wrenching,” she said. “You put your entire life into a business like this and being the second generation owner, I feel a lot of responsibility to carry my family’s legacy forward.”
That legacy not only survived, but is truly thriving amid an ongoing pandemic, Baum said in an interview with WCCO Friday. Federal aid through Paycheck Protection Program loans and other relief programs helped Clay Coyote move into a new space late last year and hire more employees.
Its success amid 18 months of unprecedented closures and uncertainty caught the attention of the U.S. Small Business Administration, which highlighted the studio during National Small Business week this week—one of 10 local businesses to be featured.
Baum said she and her employees are still “coming down off the cloud” of that national recognition, but added that their comeback story would not have been possible without the support of loyal customers locally and worldwide.
“I have stuff going back since forever,” said customer Dawn Krysiak. “Their color scheme—just everything they do is so gorgeous. You’re not going to find anything like it anywhere.”
Krysiak lives in Hudson, Wisconsin, but shoppers are as far away as Singapore and Australia, Baum said. Every piece of pottery, though, is stamped with a reminder of the community that it came from.
“We are just so grateful to the community for stepping up and helping make sure we’re still here after 18 months of uncertainty,” said Baum.