It’s fitting that a store specializing unique artisanal goods from Europe would be in German Village. Located at 571 S. Third St., Caterina, Ltd. transports handmade goods from an ocean away to a historic three-story building in the European-inspired neighborhood.
“What I wanted to do was bring in artisanal works, things that were made by hand, or made by some time-tested tradition in Europe,” says Owner Catherine Adams.
Caterina carries a number of housewares, art and gifts. There’s Italian Maiolica ceramics (a tradition that goes about about six centuries), kitchen and table linens from France, Germany and Italy, lines of French bodycare products, Polish pottery, and even a year-round European Christmas room.
“I think people come to German Village thinking they are going to find that so we stock it year-round,” Adams says. The room features goods like German wood carvings, hand-blown glass ornaments and hand-painted eggshells from Austria.
Most of the goods are imported, meaning they are actually made in Europe versus just being European inspired. Adams has visited and formed relationships with many of the artisans from which she purchases. She targets areas know for makers applying trades that have been in their families for centuries.
In addition to what is in the store, “We do a lot of special requests and special orders for people,” Adams says. If someone is looking for something they know is made in Europe, Caterina will do their best to find it.
Shop owner is a second career for Adams. After a successful 25-year career in law, she retired and decided to open Caterina. As a girl, she lived in Munich and traveled much of Europe and fell in love with European artisanal traditions. Back in the states, German Village served as inspiration for the store as well.
Adams realized that there are a lot of people that come to German Village to visit because it’s so unique and, “It seemed to me there was a need for some retail here that focused on that European nature that German Village is all about.”
Visitors to Columbus are a large part of Caterina’s customer base, and many find out about the unique store through Experience Columbus.
“I think that Experience Columbus is in a position to sell a business like mine to visitors that come to town, and we need all the help we can get in that regard,” Adams says. “I think that they do that very well.”
Caterina has been a member of the organization for a number of years and utilizes Experience Columbus’ website and visitor’s guide to build awareness.
“We have people that come into our store and say, ‘I read about you in the visitor’s guide, or I got your flyer from the visitor center,'” Adams says.
The collateral is a great educational tool for the store as well.
“We are a unique store, no one knows what a Caterina is, so we have to get the word out and educate people about what it is,” Adams says. And once they do know about it, it’s something they want to see.
Caterina has also developed a loyal local following of customers who will bring their own friends and family in. Adams finds that people want to support local small business so they make a point of trying to pick out a boutique store.
Although Adams says a sluggish economy has been the store’s biggest challenge, shes’s been in business since 2003.
“A local challenge here is that Central Ohio folks are pretty frugal people, so they don’t spend their money easily,” she says. Something has to be very valuable and worthwhile, and she feels that is just what Caterina offers.
For more information, visit caterinaltd.com.