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Couple molding a new business in Chico after leaving high-priced Bay Area

Alex Marshall and Andrew Barry own ceramics studio on Nelson Street in Chico.

The owners of a unique ceramics studio were 15 years ahead of the curve, moving from the Bay Area after their business couldn't grow in the high-priced part of California.

Today, stories like this are more familiar in light of a poll conducted by a Bay Area pro-business organization that said 46 percent of residents there are fed up with the region's high cost of living.

Alex Marshall and her husband Andrew Barry live in Corning, but moved Alex Marshall Studios to Nelson Street in Chico three months ago.

They and their two part-time employees make all of their ceramics inside a studio in an 8-step process that results in high-end and one-of-a-kind ceramics.

"You pick up a piece and you feel like, 'Wow, this one thing was made on its own, treated as its own, not like just on an assembly line," said Marshall.

Their handcrafted dinnerware, mugs, vases, bowls and lamps are sold to approximately 60 stores nationwide, including inside Zucchini & Vine in downtown Chico.

Mrs. Marshall, who earned a masters degree at the San Francisco Art Institute, designs the ceramics while Mr. Barry handles the tech and business side of Alex Marshall Studios.

Currently, Alex Marshall Studios creates about 10,000 ceramic pieces a year.

However, by this time next year, the couple plans to double both of those numbers by broadening their business model.

"We have other areas of the home that we'd like to have our products within," said Mr. Barry. "We want to get into tile, which will allow us to do back splashes and kitchens."

Like every business nowadays, the business's products can be seen and purchased online. But better deals can be found by going into the showroom in Chico.


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