Codee Rainey had a vision in mind when she saw an old fueling station on East Hancock Street. This interior and graphic designer created a place for her studio plus a showroom and event space.
A former interior design student at UGA, 30-year-old Rainey lives in Milledgeville with her two kids and husband Ross. She learned graphic design when she started a successful gym apparel business called “Flex Till You’re Famous” in 2012.
Ross Rainey works for Rossee Oil Company, a family business his grandfather started in 1945.
“We both have that entrepreneurial gene, so that helps,” Rainey said. “I had never really thought about owning my own brick-and-mortar just because it’s a huge undertaking.”
After driving past the empty building on countless occasions, one day she decided to peek inside.
“It was the strangest thing,” she said. “I could just envision every detail of how it would be.”
Rainey said she got in trouble a couple of times for visiting her building before it was actually hers.
“I would just come in here and sit and look and come up with ideas of what would go where,” she said.
Because of the amount of renovations the little building needed, Rainey knew she was going to have to buy it rather than rent the space.
For a grueling two months, Rainey and her husband renovated what once was a gas station and the former home of Oconee Outfitters to the space it is today. The 1400-square-foot building had been
empty for two years prior.
“It’s been an adventure,” Rainey’s husband Ross about the process. “Working through this whole thing has helped us understand each other. I see stuff that she doesn’t see, and she sees stuff that I don’t
see, so put it together, and we work pretty well.”
While the shop is technically open for use, Rainey is still putting on the finishing touches.
The front room, named The Roost after taking inspiration from a previous sign she designed for her home, is awaiting two big farm tables from local artist Barak Wood, a custom furniture designer.
“It’s gonna more or less be a showroom for local craftsmen and artists,” Rainey said.
That’s in part why the event and showroom space is named The Roost while the second half is called Codee Rainey Designs.
“I didn’t want everybody to assume everything in here is mine,” Rainey said. “I wanted them to have their own identity.”
While her custom signs and her interior decorating skills are apparent throughout the space, she is strives to promote other artists in her community.
“It gets to where people get so wrapped up in there being a competition,” Rainey said. “I think everybody should really grow their strengths and promote each other. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want everybody to succeed.”
The Roost will also be available to rent for various events. The space holds up to 30 people with a $75 per hour base price for renting.
“It’s a great addition to the downtown area!” said Maria Mentesana, a sophomore sociology major at GC. “It’s a really cute and cozy spot for meetings and events.”
Rainey uses her own studio, Codee Rainey Designs, for everything from sign painting and custom gift-wrapping to helping create business models and designing logos for other small businesses.
Her studio is a homey space with a couch and toys for her children to play with whenever she needs to bring them along. She has a wooden worktable and a blue desk with her logo outlined in light bulbs
on the wall behind it.
Rainey grinned as she told the story about one late night at work when she decided to listen to a book called “The Magnolia Story,” by well-renowned interior designer Joanna Gaines.
It turns out Gaines’s first brick and mortar was an old gas station with lots of windows across the street from a church, similar to The Roost.
“That’s when I knew I had made the
right decision,” Rainey said.