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Pandemic pushes Kiln & Co. to move Vienna store and reimagine business

The local “mom-owned” business Kiln & Co. has relocated its main store to a new spot on Church Street in Vienna.

After more than seven years at 138 Church Street NW, the pottery/frozen custard shop reopened on July 2 at 115 Church Street, the space previously occupied by Church Street Pizza, which moved around the corner to a Maple Avenue address earlier this year.

Sarah Selvaraj, who started Kiln & Co. in 2013 as a pottery shop, says the relocation was one of several changes to the business brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID was a challenge for us like many small businesses,” Selvaraj said. “When the inside of the studio was closed, we had to get creative in order to still be able to serve our customer base.”

In addition to downsizing to the smaller Vienna venue, Kiln & Co. sold its Reston location. Selvaraj confirmed that the Lake Anne Plaza store has closed permanently, though it is listed as just “closed for the season” on the company’s website.

When the pandemic shut most retail businesses down in the spring of 2020, Kiln & Co. created a monthly subscription service and a delivery service for custard and do-it-yourself pottery kits.

While Kiln & Co. is now open again for walk-in customers at its Vienna and Falls Church (455 South Maple Avenue) studios, staff are still required to wear masks at all times, and the business is “following all of the CDC guidelines to provide a safe environment for all,” Selvaraj says.

Details for a grand opening celebration for the new Vienna location on Sept. 6 will be announced through the company’s social media.

“We are now right off of the bike path making it easy for people to stop in to enjoy some custard and the space gives us the perfect amount of room for our studio as well as a separate area for classes, birthday parties and events,” Selvaraj said.

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