NORTH ADAMS -- Today marks the grand opening of a new store in downtown North Adams that gives local crafters a space to sell their wares.
Owner Ashley Priester of Adams said her new store, AP Home Decor and More at 10 Ashland St., offers a wide variety of locally made items.
"Everything is local," she said. "Right now, I have about 28 local vendors."
The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, she said.
"I have a bunch of vendors that are coming to the store to meet people," she said. "Some of them have different setups and some of it will be a surprise to me. They have sales and different things they're going to do with customers to familiarize them with their stuff."
Priester said she became a crafter herself after losing her job five years ago.
"I was able to teach myself, between books and the internet, how to make my own candles," she said.
Priester began building a circle of friends in the crafting world by attending many fairs herself. In addition, she founded a Berkshire Craft Sales group on Facebook for vendors to display their creations.
Everything came together when she learned a storefront on the corner of Ashland and Main Streets was open, she said.
At her new store, Priester will sell her homemade soy candles, which come in scents such as lemon chiffon, fresh cut grass and orange chili. In addition, she'll be selling her scented wax melts and "smelly jelly" air fresheners, she said.
Other items range from hand-made pot holders, homemade lip balm and hand salve, and locally produced jam.
Even the shelves in her store are locally made, she said, by Corey's Country Creations in Cheshire.
"I gave him a bunch of ideas and he built me exactly what I wanted for the store," she said.
The store's stock will rotate often, she said, and to encourage customers to keep checking-in, she'll be holding monthly raffles.
"Each month you can win something, whether its a gift card to the store or a product in the store," she said. "It's just a thank you to the people coming in, even if its a look around."
Priester said she's excited to showcase the work of many local vendors.
"I think people are learning more that if you don't want to complain about your local economy, you need to go out and invest, even if its 10 a week," Priester said. "Rather than buying something at Wal-Mart, buying something locally."
For now, Priester will serve as the only employee, she said, but will be joined by the store's mascot -- Scarlett, her three-year-old Shih Tzu and Jack Russell Terrier mix.
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