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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

News from the Region's Retailers and Artisans

During ANCA's Buyer Days I caught up with many retailers and artisans. Here are some of their stories.

Steve Bowers, Bald Mountan Rustics, Keene Valley, has his home/studio/retail property up for sale and has been renovating a much larger building where he and his partner will be able to have more elbow room - across from the Noonmark Diner if I remember correctly. baldmountainrustics.com.

Betty LeMay, Betty's Funny Farm, Minerva, will, this summer, open her brick and mortar shop back up. She continues to sell product year round from her website, bettysfunnyfarm.com.

Anna Hay, Hayfield's Gifts, is renting the back of another retail business (a cafe if I remember correctly) in Schroon Lake where she will be selling her product lines, clothing with original embroidery, some great lines for babies and enfants, as well as product from other artisans. Anna was a delight to meet at ANCA's How to Wholesale workshop held at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake in mid Jan., 2010. With her husband, they have 4 - 6 children to raise and here she has the energy and focus to bring her product to market. Amazing! She came to Buyer Days to buy product from some of the other artisans that she had met at the workshop as well as from others. 518.532.7231.

And what a inspiration to meet Will Rubar and Shaun Wedrick, of Rubar Ceramic Studio, 7002 West Main St., Port Leyden. They have renovated an old Victorian into a shop where they sell their pottery and the work of other artisans from the region. They, and a woman who is opening up an antiques place just around the corner, are leading the way in their community to attract residents and visitors to Port Leyden. They were one of the great examples of those exhibitors who also have retail spaces and who are involved in their community. At the show they were taking orders for their pottery and, at the same time, ordering product from other exhibitors. rubarceramicstudio.com.

After Buyer Days, I returned a call from Laura George, who with her husband who also makes furniture, hopes to have their new shop, Buy George! in Bolton Landing, 4960 Lake George Dr./Rte. 9, open by Memorial Day. Both her and Janet, of Owls Nest Rustic Furniture of Keene, missed the show. It's great to be able to refer them to the web. Laura was spending 2 to 3 hours a day reviewing the product at each of the exhibitor links posted on the Buyer Days and American Handmade Wholesale directory web pages at www.AdkNCcrafts.com since I had suggested it to her. And putting in orders. She had found everyone to be prompt in returning her phone calls. She was delighted.

The following is brilliant. The model is regionally based, collaborative, and driven by the producers themselves.One of the exhibitors, Mike Fitzgerald, Saratoga Sweets, 1618 Rte. 9, Halfmoon, and a retired town supervisor who has been helping him out (sorry, name not at my fingertips) are developing a cooperative distribution model. Eight artisans were already participating before Buyer Days (March 31/April). The one page flyer introducing the distribution model that exhibitors found in their show packet had another 12 talking with Mike during the show about their interest.
From what I understand rather than one rep representing many lines, the artisans share the responsibility of introducing their product and the product of the other folks involved to the shopowners along the routes that they are starting to develop. They are also timing their visits and grouping their stops to show seasonally based product to the shopowners just when they need to order it. mike@saratogasweets.com saratogasweets.com

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