Local small business owner Melissa Coulter is gearing up to open a new location for her ‘Rusty Nail’ retail shop in downtown Granite Falls. The business, which she founded, sells various handmade items in addition to offering classes and workshops for aspiring crafters. Although there is still work to be done before the Open House on Saturday, October 13, she says that she is excited to get going. She spoke recently with the Advocate Tribune about her journey as an entrepreneur and what she is looking forward to come opening day.

Melissa is originally from Morton and attended middle school at Redwood Valley. She and her family eventually moved to Echo where she graduated from the ECHO Charter School in 2006. After graduating high school, she attended Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Granite Falls. She is currently enrolled in the nursing program at Ridgewater College in Willmar.

She explained that family is very important to her, and she relies heavily on the support from her husband, Michael ‘Mac’ Coulter. A Maynard native, Mac works at Artex Manufacturing in Redwood Falls. The couple recently took over the family hobby farm in Maynard, where they now live. Their 4-year old son attends pre-school at MACCRAY.

“I honestly was not looking to start a business when I started making signs,” Melissa recalled, adding that “it was actually a hobby of mine, to do craft things, that is.” She explained that she is a “Pinterest junky with boards of untried or unattempted pins all over.” Her enthusiasm began while making decorative signs during a bachelorwise party, saying that she was immediately “hooked.” She began sharing her creations on Facebook and quickly received requests from several friends asking her to create something for them.

“Orders came in and I soon found I no longer had a kitchen table to eat at [as] it was my workspace,” she said. She soon began doing house parties, and business quickly picked up pace. “I was to the point where I was very busy with parties and hoped for a space to have all for my own, not something in the near future but down the road.”

Eventually, Melissa found “a perfect spot” in Olivia, and opened that store in October of last year. She has become so busy since then, that Melissa has even enlisted her husband to help out as her “muscle and prep man.” She explains that her business usually books two parties each day of the weekend and one public or private party every week.

The shop in Granite Falls will serve as a new location to host home parties. The site is a custom wood sign shop where she will also host both public and private classes for customers to make a personalized wood sign or project. “I instruct attendees how to make their sign and consult with them on designs, colors, and personalization.” She also accepts custom orders for customers who “don’t think they are crafty enough to make a sign,” but added quickly that “honestly, anyone can do it.”

The Rusty Nail doesn’t just help customers create crafty signs. “We have a variety of classes,” Melissa said, “some include bean bag boards, planter boxes, hanging planter signs, clocks, LEGO boards, serving trays, [and] succulent address planters.”

Melissa says that she has been completely blown away by the outpouring of community support for her business. “We’ve gotten multiple shares on Facebook and nothing but eagerness from the community,” she said proudly. “We are excited see all the excitement building up for our open house.” The store location is directly adjacent to the Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce. Melissa said that she is “excited work with them as they have been wonderful so far!”

In retrospect, Melissa says that she made the perfect choice in selecting Granite Falls as the location for her new store. “I value the small town community and the sense of family that is Granite Falls,” she said. “The downtown location is such a beautiful scene for a fun night out with the ladies or a family get together. I am excited for the community to get together and have a good time in downtown Granite Falls”

She looks, learning from local residents, to generate new ideas and products. “I look forward to working with the community and I also encourage my customers if they have an idea for a project night to reach out,” she said, adding that she “also looks forward to working with other businesses if they have an idea of an event.”

Looking to the future, Melissa anticipates some challenges both keeping and growing her clientele. Nevertheless, she says that she is excited by the prospect of “working and meeting new customers and serving the community.”