When a small business closes in Occoquan, it's often because the merchant just couldn't make ends meet. But Kelly Campbell, owner of Kelly's Artbox, is leaving Occoquan because her business has only gotten bigger in the last five years. Her last day in town is Dec. 31.
"Retail for me hasn't been very good, but my online business has been booming," she said. "So instead of just pulling myself in so many different directions, I'm just going to focus on online. I'm going to work from home; I can do all my commissions from home."
Customers rarely buy any items right off the walls in the Occoquan shop, Campbell said. Instead, the vast bulk of her business comes from online sales and art commissions, and the art work in her store serves as a gallery for her customers to explore.
"My niche market is custom work," she said. Her most popular custom item is her model horse, painted to look like the customer's horse.
And her art commission business is growing quickly, and attracting mostly non-local customers. This year, she had to turn down ten commission requests because she was just so busy. With so many demands on her time, and with a large and devoted customer base, leaving her storefront to sell her work online makes sense.
"For me, personally, Occoquan was a good starting place, but not really a place where I can continue to grow," Campbell said.
Campbell still wants to take part in Occoquan craft shows, and Spiral Creations will carry some of her jewelry and vintage items on consignment. To buy Campbell's art, visit kellycampbellartist.com.