SHELTON — The pandemic did not scare one city couple away from small business ownership.

Molly Shea and her fiance, Robert Davies, in August opened The Bare Slate, what the couple says is a place where people can gather and create an artistic masterpiece while enjoying the company of others.

“This is a chance for people to have a great time with each other and leave with a project they completed on their own,” Shea said.

The business, which offers public and private art classes and workshops, opened its doors at 346 Coram Ave. at the corner of Coram and Center Street. The couple celebrated the new venture with a grand opening party Thursday.

“What sets us apart from the rest is our ability to customize our offering to customers’ needs, as well as our fantastic team,” Shea said.

“If you are looking for something new and exciting to do in town,” Shea said, “come down to The Bare Slate to create a unique décor piece or wine glass decorating, while enjoying time with friends, family or even a fun date night.”

Each week, the business hosts some four to five private parties — from children’s birthdays to private parties, business events to fundraisers. Instructors are available at every table for the events.

Only 18 people are allowed in the shop at one time, and face masks must be worn. And Shea stresses that the operation is BYOB, so those attending events must bring their own food and drink since The Bare Slate does not have a liquor license.

Shea said they sanitize all tools and wash aprons regularly.

“We want people to come and get a feeling of life being back to normal but still staying safe in the studio,” she said.

Instructors will guide people through the necessary steps, Shea said, including sanding, assembly, painting and staining wood and finally distressing and finishing the piece that is “now custom to you and your space. Our workshop is welcome to every skill level.”

Shea said she has always enjoyed crafting. With a Cricut — a computer-controlled cutting machine — at home, Shea said she began making items by request and delivering the pieces. When the hobby began to overtake their household space, she said said she began looking to a new location for an expanded operation.

Entering the small business world during such tough economic times was made easier, Shea said, thanks to their Coram Avenue building landlord, who was agreeable to lowering the lease length and cost to give the couple a fighting chance.

"He was so accommodating … that’s 100 percent what got us here,” Shea said. “So we made the leap. All the other places we looked at wanted five, six years, which was terrifying for us coming in as new business owners.”

For more information on the business, visit www.thebareslate.com

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com