A long journey to Seventh & Stone
Just a few weeks ago, Barb Stellmach opened Seventh & Stone, a shop on Seventh Avenue in Two Harbors that sells her handmade jewelry and other local art.
She made her first pair of earrings in 2006. A friend taught her the craft and she made a pair for each of the bridesmaids in her wedding. After that, life happened--including the birth of two daughters and a mortgage--and making jewelry went on the backburner. A lot has happened since she made those first earrings -- a winding path that eventually led her back to jewelry.
The Stellmachs had their first daughter, Maria, in 2007 and their second, Ginger, in 2009. Then, Stellmach had what she calls an "early midlife crisis"--she was craving an adventure. So she convinced her husband to sell their house in Duluth, buy an Airstream camper and spend some time exploring the country with their two young daughters.
The adventure began in October of 2010 and they traveled west for nine months, visiting Portland, Ore., Bozeman, Mont. and the Black Hills, among other locales. They spent five months in Sacramento, Calif., and a few more in Mesa, Ariz., before deciding to head back to northeastern Minnesota.
Barb's parents had recently made the permanent move to Mesa, so the Stellmachs purchased her family home in Two Harbors on Seventh Avenue.
"Everything happened for a reason," Barb said.
Jewelry reentered Stellmach's life again as she was pining for a new camera. She needed to raise enough money for the pricy item, so she decided to start making jewelry again. She sold the pieces on Etsy, an online marketplace, but needed a way to distinguish herself. So, she began incorporating Lake Superior stones into her jewelry.
"I go down to the beach and fill up a Rubbermaid (bucket) and sort through them," Stellmach said.
Her jewelry proved to be popular online and at the art fairs and Stellmach soon had enough money for her new camera.
"I thought, 'I think I've got something here,'" she said.
The basement of their house was a commercial space from the days when her dad owned the Hilton Hair-tel, a hair salon. So she embarked on a new adventure--opening a jewelry shop. Her husband, Scott, renovated the space while she stocked up on jewelry and searched for other inventory.
By the time the store opened in May, Stellmach had filled her shelves with one-of-a-kind jewelry, handmade pottery, birdhouses and dolls, as well as art by local artists like Clay Anderson.
"I'm very particular about what I want in here," she said. "I like to think this store is a reflection of myself."
Stellmach's jewelry starts at $12 but she sells a variety of other items at higher and lower price points. Seventh & Stone, located at 803 Seventh Avenue in Two Harbors, is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Friday-Sunday. Stellmach also opens the store by appointment, too; she can be reached at 464-8039.