Pandemic doesn’t slow business couple as they open two area stores

Ryan and Courtney Hart talk about their newly opened plant and home shop, Ivy Count in Clayton. It is the couples second location. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Ryan and Courtney Hart talk about their newly opened plant and home shop, Ivy Count in Clayton. It is the couples second location. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

A Clayton couple hasn’t let the pandemic or a battle with breast cancer slow down their dream of opening their own businesses.

Courtney and Ryan Hart opened two new storefronts in the past year and have plans for a third.

They are the owners of Ivy Court, a plant and home décor store in Clayton on Annelise Way, just a few yards away from the Esther Price chocolate shop. They have a second location in Courtney’s hometown of Circleville.

Just last year, Courtney was diagnosed with breast cancer forcing her to quit her corporate job in the automotive industry to undergo treatment and several surgeries.

“A lot of things just got put into perspective for us and so opening the storefronts has been a way that I’ve found joy again,” she said. “It was a way that I got to focus on something good.”

The couple started their first business in the basement of their home in 2016. They created hand pressed items from framed printed burlap pieces to tea towels. They would sell their items at community gatherings and posted their products online.

“We started to realize there was an opportunity there,” Ryan said.

Their first pressed item was the shape of Ohio with Ohio written on the inside on a rectangular piece of burlap.

The new plant and home store, Ivy Court, located at 8941 Anneliese Way in Clayton. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
The new plant and home store, Ivy Court, located at 8941 Anneliese Way in Clayton. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Her love of house plants coupled with their handmade items birthed the idea of Ivy Court.

“It was a good marriage of the plants and the products we make. It’s just a great combination for people with the plant and home; they’re unique pieces too,” he said.

Their stores carry a wide range of plants, apparel, notebooks, doormats, and potting for plants. Their most popular items are air plants which need minimal water and don’t need a pot of dirt or sunlight. They are soaked in water for 30 minutes once a week and are ready to sit in any room in the house.

“I think you’re starting to see a a shift in people starting to decorate with green,” Courtney said.

In addition to their items and plants, they carry products from about 20 other small businesses throughout the country, but mainly in Ohio. “Since we are makers ourselves, it was really important to include high quality goods from other small businesses," she said.

The new plant and home store, Ivy Court, located at 8941 Anneliese Way in Clayton. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
The new plant and home store, Ivy Court, located at 8941 Anneliese Way in Clayton. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Ryan said friends and family members thought that it wasn’t a good time to open a business given the country’s current state, but they forged on opening both stores and getting good business traffic in both locations.

“A lot of people have actually come in and said ‘this place brings me joy, I can come in and take my mind of of everything that’s going on.' You can come here and find things that make you happy. It’s a lot more than us selling stuff,” Courtney said.

The store is open throughout the week and by appointment only on Mondays to help customers feel comfortable shopping during the pandemic. “We did that for elderly or somebody that maybe has underlying immune issues that has concerns about coming in and shopping with other customers being in,” Ryan said.

Early next year the Hart’s plan to open a third Ivy Court location in Troy.

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