Destruction Depot owners
Celebrate Couple-Owned Businesses in the Brighton-Howell Area

February 10, 2020 | Story by: Amelia Ritter

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, the Livingston County Convention & Visitors Bureau spoke to couples who own businesses together in our communities. We are proud to have these local businesses in the Brighton-Howell Area. Today we celebrate their love for each other and for their work!

Matt and Rachel Crawford-  Destruction Depot – Rage Room

Destruction Depot is a place where you can let out the frustrations of everyday life inside a safe & controlled environment. You will have your pick of various objects to SMASH and vent all of your pent-up RAGE!

Carly and David Leisk- Culture Beer and Cheese

We are a retail cheese and specialty food shop, with a craft beer bottle shop as well.  We also are a cafe serving savory and sweet crepes, cheese plates and gelato.

Ted and Kelli McMullen- The Space, The Fuel, and The Ride

We are 3 separate businesses that work in synergy with each other. We have pulled together a mix of food, fitness, and inspiration for the betterment of the human being.

Helen Agius-Andreae and Frank Andreae- The Ceramic Studio Etc…

We are a paint your own pottery and fused glass studio. We have hundreds of functional and fun bisque items to choose from and use non-toxic food-safe glazes so the mugs and platters are useable. With fused glass, you layer glass elements to create your design and make pendants, nightlights, vases, bowls and more. You can walk in anytime to create, join us for a workshop, come to one of our events or book your own party. No experience necessary – we will show you how.


What has been the most rewarding part of owning/operating your business with your partner?

Matt and Rachel: We like working together with a common goal that supports our family. We’re one of those gross couples that like to be together all of the time. Our ultimate goal is to grow and expand our business so that Matt can quit his full-time career, and we can focus on our business completely and hang out with each other every day.
Destruction Depot

Carly and David: Getting to spend time together with our two-year-old son, Milo, who is in the shop with us every day!
Culture Beer and Cheese

Ted and Kelli: It has been so empowering to put our talents together outside the creation of a family and home. The most rewarding part for me is being able to see each other every day.
The Fuel, The Space, The Ride

Helen: One of the most rewarding things is on a busy Saturday afternoon I put my arms around my husband, look around the Studio and see all the happy guests creating and making memories and I realize that we created this together.
Frank: Being able to spend time together while creating a fun place where people can enjoy themselves. We get to be the hosts in a party-like atmosphere while helping others have a great time – and we get to do it together. If on the drive home at night she says “that was a good day”, I know it is worth it.
The Ceramic Studio Etc…

Culture Beer and Cheese family

Carly + David – Culture Beer and Cheese (photo courtesy of

What has been the most challenging part of owning/operating your business with your partner?

Matt and Rachel: Working on the business together has definitely encouraged us to improve our communication skills. It can also be very difficult when we don’t see eye to eye on certain things for the business, and we both have gotten better at compromising.
Destruction Depot

Carly and David: Having zero alone time! We are constantly together (we only have one car), so we both miss our solitude at times.
Culture Beer and Cheese

Ted and Kelli: We both feel it’s separating business and personal life. It’s one thing to have conflict at home over certain issues and then put on top of that 3 businesses with lots of people.
The Fuel, The Space, The Ride

Helen: The most challenging thing about running a business with my husband is the fear of failure. If we don’t do well I will not only be disappointing myself but I will be disappointing my husband as well.
Frank: Separating work from personal life. As a small business owner, you are always thinking and talking about what is going on at the studio. Suppliers, costs, events, employees… there is always something that needs our attention, so we pick a date night each week to relax and not discuss the business.
The Ceramic Studio Etc…

Destruction Depot owners with bats

Matt + Rachel – Destruction Depot

What accomplishment or strength of your partner are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

Rachel: I admire Matt’s vision and ability to dream. I’m more of the planner and organizer, so I love that he is able to dream up big ideas and we can work together to make them happen.
Matt: I love how amazingly adaptable Rachel has been in stepping up to run the day to day business and has become a true “Boss Lady.”
Destruction Depot

David: Carly has a strong vision for what she wants the shop to be, and I love watching her mind work at figuring out how to achieve that vision.
Carly: David has learned a lot about cheese very quickly, I have been working in this field for about 10 years, but he’s learned quite a bit in a short amount of time!
Culture Beer and Cheese

Ted: I admire Kelli’s ability to multi-task. She teaches 5 classes and owns and operates a business too.
Kelli: I am so proud of Ted that he is a finisher of projects and he is very courageous to have the tough conversations.
The Fuel, The Space, The Ride

Helen: He has a great business mind and has an uncanny knack of always being able to figure things out. He is also a great artist and does a lot of the samples for the Studio. I am especially proud of Frank because he has another full-time career that is quite demanding. He comes home at night and works on our website or marketing and he comes in on weekends to help at the Studio and never complains about it being too much.
Frank: Helen’s ability to remember people’s names, projects they made and details about their life. She is the face of the business because she cares about people and wants them to have a truly epic experience.
The Ceramic Studio Etc…

Frank and Helen from The Ceramic Studio

Frank + Helen – The Ceramic Studio Etc…

How does your partner inspire and encourage you? What have you learned from them?

Matt: Rachel has inspired me because she keeps me going when I feel like giving up. My full-time career can be very stressful and draining, but she always motivates me and keeps me encouraged to keep going and improving the rage room.
Rachel: I stepped up to run the rage room after a long career in public education. I often feel like I am floundering, but Matt’s pep talks and encouragement give me the strength to keep figuring things out and keep working hard to make our business a success. I’ve learned so much about business and focusing on the customer experience from him.
Destruction Depot

Carly: His ability to be chill and not sweat the small stuff is definitely something I could learn! I tend to be high strung and I need him to balance me out sometimes when I get overstressed.
David: Conversely, Carly’s ability to stay focused on the small stuff is crucial to the day-to-day operations of a business, and I deeply admire her ability to do so.
Culture Beer and Cheese

Ted: She inspires me by her ability to take our deepest message we have developed over time and so professionally teach it to others.
Kelli: Be honest even when you are going to disappoint someone.
The Fuel, The Space, The Ride

Kelli and Ted from The Fuel

Kelli + Ted – The Fuel, The Space, and The Ride (photo courtesy of

What is the best piece of advice you can give to other couples looking to grow a business together?

Matt and Rachel: Try to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Business ownership can be difficult and stressful. Keep focused on your love for your partner and your common goal.
Destruction Depot

Carly: Make time for yourselves outside of work, both as a couple (do things not work-related), and as individuals. I spend so much time and energy on the business that I need time alone, even if it’s just grocery shopping by myself or doing yoga in the morning. Those quiet moments of self-reflection are priceless.
Culture Beer and Cheese

Ted and Kelli: Establish clear boundaries for personal and work chat. Use issues that come up as opportunities for growth in your relationship. Respect, trust, and utilize one another’s talents.
The Fuel, The Space, The Ride

Helen: It has to be personally rewarding to have it be part of your marriage and your life together.
Frank: Play to each other’s strengths and set roles based on your expertise. You each need to be in charge of a certain area so that you are not stepping on the other’s toes and then you can make decisions easier to grow the business.
The Ceramic Studio Etc…


To get to know more business owners in Livingston County, check out our blog from International Women’s Day! Remember to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on all things happening in the Brighton-Howell Area.

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Destruction Depot

11048 Hi Tech Dr, Whitmore Lake, Michigan, USA

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Culture Beer and Cheese

412 W Main Street Brighton, MI 48116

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the Fuel

the Fuel, 9689 Village Place Boulevard, Brighton, MI, 48116 USA

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The Ceramic Studio Etc...

The Ceramic Studio Etc..., 4132 East Grand River Avenue, Howell, MI 48843, USA

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