Creativity comes alive at new Main Street business

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Dozens turned out to celebrate the opening of Main Street’s newest business, Under the Sun and Moon Gifts. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

RAVENA — A new business focused on the creative spirit of local artisans has opened its doors on Main Street.

The latest new venture on the village’s main thoroughfare is Under the Sun and Moon Gifts, located at 126 Main St., which will feature the sale of artwork by local artists as well as classes for those interested in learning or refining their craft.

“We carry artwork and handmade products from local artisans around Albany and Greene counties,” owner Kes Stefanik said. “We also offer some art classes — I’ve had a few photo classes going on and we also have a podcast on YouTube. That is how the name got started — we talk about everything under the sun and moon, so we just pulled it into the name.”

The shop will offer all kinds of art classes, from photography to fiber arts.

“I’m a photographer and I have been doing some beginner photo classes, and I have also been working on putting together some portrait classes,” Stefanik said.

Stefanik also offered a class on the techniques of night photography in early May, and her mother is getting in on the act as well.

“My mom has a fibers class, so you get to learn about different textiles and fabrics for the different products you want to use, and she also has an Introduction to Your Sewing Machine class coming up on May 12,” Stefanik said.

More classes are in the works, and individual one-on-one classes are also being scheduled.

“At the moment I’m in the middle of scheduling new classes, but I also just started offering individual mentorships through the store as well, because some people don’t want to work in group settings, so if they want to work one on one, they can,” Stefanik said. “Those will be launching soon, and my mom is going to set up a crocheting class sometime at the end of May.”

Stefanik is no stranger to the village — she grew up just a few blocks away.

“I was raised on Pulver Avenue,” she said. “We moved away for a few years and I lived in Cincinnati for about six years. But we came back because I went to Cazenovia College to get my bachelor’s degree, and I now live in the hamlet of Coeymans.”

Main Street — the place where she would eventually open her business — has held a special place in her heart since childhood, Stefanik said.

“I always loved Main Street as a kid because there was so much life here, and I really loved being able to see everyone and everyone knew each other — it’s Ravena,” she said. “Main Street is very much home for me. It’s very comfortable.”

Joy Iafallo, from the RCS Community Business Association and a local realtor, owns the building Stefanik is leasing and said she is “super excited” to see a new business coming to Main Street.

“I think they are going to do really good here,” Iafallo said. “She is local and she is bringing in local people to sell the creative things that they make, which is great.”

The new business is one of a string of businesses opening on Main Street in the past couple of years. Deputy Mayor Nancy Warner said she is pleased to welcome a new venture to the village.

“Slowly but surely, they keep coming and opening, and there’s more in the works,” Warner said. “We are looking forward to welcoming many more businesses.”

The building where Under the Sun and Moon Gifts is housed has a large colorful “Ravena” mural on the side, which Iafallo commissioned through an area artist. The creative exterior of the building appears fitting for the new business it is housing, she said.

“I love it,” Iafallo said. “I want it to be just as colorful on the inside as it is on the outside.”

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