SOUTHINGTON – Rachel DeCavage started her branded clothing business in Southington and is now moving her screen printing operations to town.
DeCavage moves to another storefront in Middletown and moves the production side of his business to 115 Water St., an industrial building owned by his father-in-law.
Cinder + Salt produces clothing and accessories in a zero-waste print shop. DeCavage said the brand evokes time spent in nature, around a campfire or at the beach, but also commits to environmentally friendly practices. Screen printing can be a wasteful process that generates a lot of plastic tape, but DeCavage has found a way to use a paper-based product and then turn that used tape into art sculptures.
“We haven’t put anything in a bin since 2017,” she said.
Bristol resident DeCavage was already considering a different location earlier this year.
The pandemic and the need to reduce overhead prompted her to find a smaller location for the retail operation and not use the retail space for production.
She uses the screen printing machine and the inks she bought from her father. The piece of equipment, which she has used since she was 10, is moving to a long-vacant space in the Water Street building in Southington this week.
“Since March, we’ve spent every weekend renovating,” DeCavage said.
In early November, she will move the Cinder + Salt store to 195 Main St. in Middletown. The store is located at 520 Main Street and will remain open until the move.
The Southington location will not have a retail component, but customers will be able to pick up their orders at Water Street once it is operational.
DeCavage’s first store, Sugarplum USA, was at 98 Main St. Most of what she sold, clothing, decor, and clothing, was handmade. She closed the store in 2014 at the end of her lease.
“I was looking to figure out what worked and what didn’t,” DeCavage said. “I decided to streamline and focus on screen printing rather than hand sewing everything.”
Southington resident Dorie Conlon Perugini has supported DeCavage’s business since she opened Sugarplum.
Nature-inspired designs match her style, said Conlon Perugini, and she can support a local business that has similar values.
“I can support a company that is environmentally friendly and dedicated to supporting many causes that are close to my heart,” said Conlon Perugini.
Cinder + Salt’s online sales surged in April when everyone was home, DeCavage said. Online and in-store sales have leveled off, but she’s noticed that people in the store tend to spend more.
“I think people want to support their local businesses,” she said. “I hope it stays.”
DeCavage wants to maintain a physical location, saying it’s necessary for some of the environmental initiatives and to show customers what Cinder + Salt is.
“I know brick-and-mortar stores are dying, but I love shopping and I love small businesses,” she said. “A lot of what we do, we need to have a showcase… It will always be very important to us.”
[email protected]: @JBuchananRJ