Ashley Priester poses in front of her storefront with her 'child' and store mascot Scarlett.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Ashley Priester took her passion for locally produced crafts and has channeled that into a small business.
Her store, AP Home Decor and More, located at 10 Ashland St., opened on Monday and on Saturday will have its grand opening
Priester said the idea for a store came about as her house began to run out of room for crafting and friends encouraged her to open a business. Renee Tassone, owner of Eat to Total Health
, encouraged Priester to take a chance at the spot next door to her business.
"I just went for it," Priester said.
Aside from her candles, the shop currently includes products — jewelry, quilts, massage oils, jams, artwork and knitted hats — from different vendors from around the county — including Katie's Custom Jewelry, Cheshire Cat Creations, Sentient Skin Care, Tanya's Country Kitchen and Angela's Sock Cupcakes and More. Priester said when the store fills up it will feature 40 different artisans.
Even the store's displays are locally made, handcrafted by Corey's Country Creations based in Cheshire.
"It's definitely about keeping stuff local," Priester said.
Prices on items vary. Generally, most cost under $20 — the candles are $6.25 for a 4 ounces and $12 and for an 8 ounce, most jewelry ranges from $5 to $15. Some of the higher-end items, such as quilts, paintings and crystal jewelry, cost more than $50.
The store also features pieces from younger artisans, and will sell work Duct-tape flower pens by Hope and Hannah Blake who attend Clarksburg Elementary School.
Candles can also be made in customized containers.
"I'm looking to get as much unique [items] in the store as possible," Priester said.
Priester dived into her candle-making hobby about four years ago and began selling to friends and at craft fairs. She decided on soy candles after researching the process because soy wax burns slower and is easier to clean than paraffin
wax; She said to clean soy wax you just need a wet towel. Priester also said soy wax burns cooler, and is safe to touch. The wicks, too, are cleaner, she said, as she opted to make them with cotton wicks instead of lead.
On Saturday, the grand opening will feature specials and sales with vendors on hand, raffles and massages from Circle of Life.
Every month, there will also be raffles for customers, whether its just stopping in, purchasing a product or reviewing their visit on the store's Facebook page
. Priester also hopes host vendor parties and ladies' nights.
She's still figuring out more marketing plans, but plans to team up with other small businesses in the immediate area for a coupon book.
The store accepts cash, card and check, and is open Monday and Wednesday from 10 to 5:30, and Thursday though Saturday from 10 to 7.