Home Local News Studio 3 owner: ‘I wanted to be unique’

Studio 3 owner: ‘I wanted to be unique’

Keri Cook stands inside the studio part of Studio 3 on opening day Wednesday. The latest downtown business is part gift shop, part painting studio and part engraving workshop.
William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — About halfway through opening day of Studio 3 on Wednesday, owner Keri Cook said she was impressed with the number of people stopping in the shop to check things out.

She even made a few sales.

The “3” in the most recent downtown business’ name represents Cook, her son Shane Cook and son-in-law Chuck Heaton.

She worked with her husband at Tri-Cook Electrical since it opened in 2002 before turning her job over to her daughter.

“I was ready to just make a change and get out with my friends in public,” she said. “I haven’t been out in the public in a long time.”

Cook also described the downtown Rockingham foot traffic as “awesome.”

“I’ve seen lots of friends, it’s been really nice, just since we were doing the construction,” she said.

Initially, Cook said she was just going to have the engraving machine and social art.

“But, I thought to help draw people in, I’ve got to have something in the front half,” she said. So, she added the retail side. 

“I just wanted to be unique,” she said. “I didn’t want to be run-of-the-mill, I didn’t want to be cookie-cutter, I just wanted to be something really unique.”

Studio 3 is split into three sections, with different purposes.

The left side serves as a gift shop with a variety of items ranging from wall hangings with inspirational and song-lyric quotes to Chala pocketbooks, jewelry and tokens to honor first responders and military.


The store also offers stainless steel tumblers and pet urns that can be engraved/personalized. Those wanting to keep a little piece of their pets close to their hearts can even purchase a necklace to hold a small amount of ashes.

“Everything in this store, I would buy,” she said. “Somebody asked me, ‘How do you buy something you don’t like?’ Well, I don’t.”

Currently, all the items are from vendors, but Cook said she plans to add gifts made at the shop to the inventory.

In the back, Shane Cook and Heaton take care of laser engraving “on any surface,” including metal, glass, granite and leather.

They both have full-time jobs: her son with Tri-Cook; and Heaton with the Hamlet Fire Department.

The right side is a painting studio, which Cook said will be available for public gatherings and paint parties.

There will be open paint nights and other nights with a scheduled teacher.

“I’m looking for different artists that like to lead (events) in their specialty,” not limited to painting, but including bead work and other crafts, she said. “I’m capable of a few paintings, but I’m hoping that I can find an artist who is maybe more comfortable in front of a crowd.”

The studio will also have two open slots on Saturdays for birthday parties.

Located at 310 East Washington Street, across from the old Food King, Studio 3 is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays; 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. on Thursdays; and will be closed Sundays and Mondays.


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.