Tell us about Tracy Finn Fine Art and Stationery. My art practice is more than a business for me, it’s an integral part of who I am. I started taking art lessons at the King Hooper Mansion in the second grade and have been creating ever since. I enjoyed many years as an art teacher before shifting my primary focus to my own work. I strive to make my work accessible to a broad audience by offering a wide range of prices for original work as well as through my stationery and print line. I offer greeting cards, custom invitations, and an annual calendar. The 2024 desk is now available and features some new work that I am incredibly proud of. I love that I have many customers who have never owned an original piece of art but are now collectors of some of my paintings.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? “Sometimes no is the right answer”. Just after graduating college, I sold my first large painting to an interior design firm. After purchasing the piece, they asked me to alter some of the colors to match their showroom. I agreed to the request, and it’s a decision I still regret. No matter your business, stay true to your vision and values.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead? Marblehead has so many beautiful spots, it’s difficult to choose a favorite! I would have to say The Rocks. Stop by the studio and maybe I’ll tell you where that is (maybe!).
What is something people may be surprised to learn about you? After graduating college, I lived in Idaho and worked in a local department store doing merchandise displays. Four years later, I was in Manhattan designing windows at Bloomingdale’s.
Tracy Finn Fine Art & Stationery
Tracy Finn, Artist & Owner 51 Atlantic Ave, Marblehead (by appointment only)
Tell us about Creative Spirit and why you started it. I started Creative Spirit to provide fun, inspiring, and safe opportunities for folks to connect with their innate creativity, which we all have! Over the years, I’ve offered expressive arts-based workshops exploring a range of topics, including intuitive painting, writing, collage, and intuitive dance. I also partner with MacRae’s Sustainable Goods, here in town, to host themed, non-juried art exhibits in which everyone is permitted to show their artwork. I’m most excited about my brand-new offering – creativity coaching – which is a one-on-one coaching service designed to help individuals step into their creative dreams, work through any fears, and bring to life a creative goal or project. Read more about this offering at www.creativespiritma.com/creativity-coaching.
With the holidays just around the corner, I am thrilled to announce that Creative Spirit is presenting A Christmas Carol again. The staged reading in the historic Jeremiah Lee Mansion is back for the 4th year of holiday fun and theatre magic. Come be entertained by this lively and theatrical reading of Charles Dickens’ classic story about the power of love and generosity. Tickets can be purchased at www.creativespiritma.com/christmas-carol.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? When I was thinking about starting Creative Spirit (and signing my first storefront lease), a LOT of fear rose within me. I had a wonderful support group around me who encouraged me to just do it and live my dream. Afterall, life begins at the edge of our comfort zone!
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? I love being outside in Marblehead. My favorite spot is on the water on our sailboat.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? I’m a recovering perfectionist! And while I love to be creatively free, I also need things to be a certain way – especially when making art. It’s a beautiful dance of honoring my habits (fears) and just surrendering to divine flow. That’s what life is about!
Tell us about Elia Taverna. Elia is a family run Greek restaurant with homemade recipes that we grew up on. We wanted to bring these recipes to life for more people to enjoy. Marblehead was an amazing area for us to create this experience for the community. Some of our many goals include providing great food, great service and to create friendships with our customers.
What is your role with Elia Taverna? I have been with Elia since the beginning. I run the day-to-day operations. I’ve made many friendships in Marblehead because of the restaurant, and I will continue to provide the best service I can for the community.
What are some of the special events at Elia? Each week we have events at the restaurant. Every Tuesday we have pasta night where we create three different Greek pasta entrees. On Wednesday nights from 4pm-6pm we offer half off appetizers. We have also started offering lunch hours every weekend, Saturday and Sunday, starting at 12pm. When we first opened a lot of people did not know much about Greek wines, so we started a monthly wine tasting. The first Sunday of every month we offer a four-course meal where we pair each course with a different wine. We create a beautiful atmosphere with Live Greek music playing in the background. Our Greek Wine Expert, Yiannis, is also in attendance explaining each wine to those who attend the wine tasting dinners.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? The best piece of business advice I have ever received would have to be, “find a job that you enjoy doing every day to the point where it doesn’t feel like a job”.
Angelo Bido 261 Washington St, Marblehead
Photo: Left to right – Naeemah Adams, Cassandra Sturdivant Watt and Jenn Brooks
Tell us about Mud Puddle Toys and why you bought it. Mud Puddle Toys has been a staple of downtown Marblehead since 2003 but faced closure during the Covid pandemic. I was friends with the original owners, Kristen and Sam Pollard, so we worked together on a plan to transition ownership over to me. I could not imagine Marblehead without our neighborhood toy store. I have three children who, at the time, were 4, 6, and 8 years – I knew my children, and so many children and families in Marblehead, would be devastated if the store closed. Thankfully that didn’t happen. We had our Grand Reopening in May 2021.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? The best advice I ever got was how important it is to hire and retain the best staff possible. I was extremely grateful that Jenn Brooks, the longtime manager of Mud Puddle Toys, stayed on with us. I also hired Naeemah Adams, who I had known for some time and had come from a retail background. I can honestly say that the reason the store is doing as well as it is today is because of the hard work and dedication of those two wonderful women. I’d be in the weeds without them, and I am reminded daily of how fortunate I am to have them here with me at Mud Puddle.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? Mookies! As I write this, I am having a wonderful breakfast of toast and peanut butter and a delicious tea from Mookies. Jenn, Naeemah, and I are there all the time and think that Tish and her staff do an amazing job. I love that we have such great small businesses here in Marblehead.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? Many people are surprised to learn that I’m a librarian. I finished up my MLIS from Simmons when I was 9 months pregnant with my oldest son, then was a stay-at-home mom until I took over Mud Puddle Toys, so I never really got the chance to use my degree in a traditional sense. However, I bring a lot of my knowledge about libraries and community engagement into my work at Mud Puddle, which is really great.
Tell us about MacRae’s Sustainable Goods and why you started it. MacRae’s offers products to our community which are safe for people and the planet! We work hard to find vendors who carry this goal from the beginning to the end of life of their products. The items we carry in the store include products for personal care, home, pets, cleaning, laundry, and much more. We’re particularly proud to offer closed loop refillable cleaning and personal care goods. Closed loop means the bulk containers we receive are returned to the vendor to be cleaned out and refilled – so that nothing is thrown away in the process! MacRae’s is located at 108 Washington Street in Marblehead. We hope you will stop in and see all of the great products we have in our store!
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? The best business advice I’ve received was also really great life advice – When you let go of something that isn’t serving you, it gives you the time and the energy to focus on something that will!”
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? Crocker Park feels magical everytime I go to it! I love seeing it at different times of the day as it has a different personality at each time.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?I love to write poetry!
MacRae’s Sustainable Goods
Owner: Jennifer Lewis 108 Washington St, Marblehead
Tell us about The Landing Restaurant. The Landing is a landmark restaurant that was first established in 1972. I was fortunate to join the Partners back in 2002. Over the last few years, we’ve gone through a few menu changes and several renovations. Once known solely for the great view of the harbor, the new fresh look, and current culinary team. have made us one of the premiere restaurants on the North Shore. I’ve always loved hospitality and we pride ourselves on the way we make our guests (locals and tourists) feel when they enter our house. The addition of the Function Room has given patrons a beautiful option in town to celebrate those family moments or business affairs.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? A great piece of restaurant business advice I received was “MBWA” – Manage by Walking Around. You must have the ability to manage the numbers upstairs in the office, but you get more out of your people and understand more of your business by being on the floor and talking to people. Keeping your eye on the moving parts helps you identify problems and find solutions quickly.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead, and why? My favorite spot in Marblehead would have to be The Landing. I spend a lot of time there. Looking out at the Harbor and talking to the fisherman on the dock is one of the most unique experiences that I get to enjoy on a daily basis. I am very fortunate indeed!
What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you? It might surprise people to know that I spent over 14 years in Southern California. I first went out there in 1979 to pursue a dream of becoming a stuntman – tough job to break into…literally. After crashing my motorcycle 3 times I felt the safer bet would be to continue school and make the restaurant business my career.
The Landing Restaurant
Partner & General Manager: Robert Simonelli 81 Front Street, Marblehead