SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Locally Made Savannah celebrated its grand opening on Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Visitors not only got to watch the official ribbon cutting, they had the opportunity to meet with local art vendors and enjoy food and drinks from the shop’s soda and milkshake bar.

Originally from Atlanta, owners Nick and Tonya Rintye moved to Savannah 18 years ago. 

“Our daughter was born here. We moved down here 18 years ago for work and what was supposed to be maybe four years, we decided we didn’t want to go anywhere else,” said Nick.

The couple had plans to someday become business owners, and after opening The Hipster Hound — a dog boarding, daycare and grooming shop — they decided to open Locally Made Savannah on Broughton Street, right in the heart of historic Savannah.

“My husband Nick and I were walking down Broughton Street a couple of years ago and we realized that there was no local shops that sold a lot of locally made items down here in the tourist section of historic Savannah,” Tonya said. “So, we decided that was a golden opportunity for us to do that.”

Nick said becoming business owners was all about timing, and he got the idea of Locally Made Savannah after meeting various vendors at the Wilmington Island Farmers Market.

“I remember we were standing there under a tree and I’m like ‘All these things should be together in one place.’”

Barbara Frazier is a full time vendor who makes and sells items like serving boards at Locally Made Savannah.

“I’ve always been involved with art. I’ve always loved art,” she said. “That started from when I was a little kid like 4 years old, 5 years old. I always loved going into all of the museums and seeing all of the artwork and was always drawing. 

“As I got older, I would do wall murals on the side for people and I was always doing some type of craft.”

After seeing various pieces of wood around her neighborhood, Frazier decided not only to make serving boards from them but to also burn designs on them.

“I always loved to draw and I happened to see someone do a burn on something on a video. I got the tool and I started burning and practicing and that was it — I loved it,” said Frazier. “Then I figured, why not torch it with a propane torch when I’m done? It just gives it more of a look and then that’s it.”

“So, people must think I’m kind of weird when they go past my driveway sometimes and they see me in the garage,” she joked.

Sharmequa Franklin is a vendor who sells earrings at Locally Made Savannah.

“I have been making earrings for about three years. I started out during the pandemic when COVID hit,” Franklin said.

“I was in my day job as an HR leader for a bank in Statesboro. My husband was like, ‘You need to find something that’s going to put you in a happy place.’ He said, ‘I think you need to go back to painting and making jewelry,’ so that’s what I did,” she explained.

Originally from Hampton, South Carolina, Franklin enjoys selling her creations in the Hostess City.

“I like selling things in Savannah because of the culture,” she explained. “I think Savannah has such a melting pot of people.

“Not everybody likes razzle dazzle, but sometimes I find that when they start wearing it, and it’s so lightweight, and its so easy to wear, they really like it,” Franklin said. “I really like what Tonya is doing here and all of the handmade artists.”

Tracey Richburg is a local vendor who moved to Savannah because of the military 16 years ago.

However, she enjoyed creating art long before that.

“Me and my mom use to like going to street fairs, and I would see where other artists had made things and I would look at it and go home and try to make it myself,” Richburg said. “You kind of have that creative instinct in you but then life takes over, and then you’re working and then you don’t really have time to pursue things like that.”

She started making pieces at the end of 2019 for a very special reason.

“In 2018, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. So in 2019, I had radiation surgery,” Richburg explained. “With that radiation and tumor, it kind of messed with my mind, with memory and cognitive skills and things like that. 

“I think working with the resin doing a hobby kind of helped me with my memory and things like that. It was kind of like therapy.”

Her hand-made ornaments, jewelry, cutting boards, serving boards, wall hanging, and key chains can be purchased at Locally Made Savannah. 

For more information about Locally Made Savannah, visit this link.

Find more of the artists’ work on Instagram: