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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Crafty Creations Creates Successful Partnership

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Thursday, December 29, 2005

Crafty Creations partner Kathy West points out fine detail on a hand-painted lamp shade to store patron Lisa Mineau.
North Adams – The interior of the Crafty Creations shop appeared well stocked on Dec. 28 with an ample supply of hand-crafted, hand-painted, and hand-stitched items but according to business co-owner Kathy West, inventory was actually dwindling.

“I’m telling you, the store is empty now,” West said.

The shop’s December shopping season was good - really, really good, said West – and the outlook for the 19 Eagle St. store is bright, indeed.

“We have over 50 crafters and we added 20 of the crafters since summer,” West said. “We’ve done a lot of advertising and there’s been a lot of word of mouth. We had a lot of tourists over the summer and we’ve seen a lot of local interest. There’s a strong return customer base.”

Partnership Forms


A sampling of the Polish pottery offered at Crafty Creations.
The shop was launched by city resident Theresa Denault in June 2004 and in July 2005, Denault formed a cooperative business partnership with Dale Bona, Keith Bona, Mary Lou McKay, and West. The partnership has allowed the business to grow; the partners take turns staffing the shop and they also share responsibilities such as recruiting and screening the crafters.

“I have five children and the year that I spent doing this on my own, it really was almost too much to handle,” Denault said. “That’s why I went with the co-op. I’m glad that I did.”

The partners are also crafters. Keith Bona, for example, offers a line of printed t-shirts that focus on the city; one eye-catching design features the Mohawk Theater marquee printed on a black long-sleeved shirt. Dale Bona and West are quilters and also sew, Denault creates decorative painting pieces and McKay designs and sews dresses for girls and dolls.

From Near and Far

Contributing crafters and artisans may live locally, in other parts of New England, or overseas; West noted that one local man receives items that are crafted in Vietnam and offers the items for sale at the store. Selections of hand-made lamps and hand-painted lampshades have proven exceptionally popular, as has a generous selection of hand-made neckties, most of which are suitable for business attire.

An array of Polish pottery has recently been added to a store shelf; the hand-painted bowls and teapots are rapidly finding a following, said West. Jewelry, photographic art, embroidered, crocheted, and knitted baby clothes, painted glassware, braided rugs, and wooden furniture are all displayed at the store and the inventory changes regularly, said West.

“The crafters like to do different things and bring in different things, so it’s nice,” she said. “We usually have something different every week. We have such a great amount of talent.”

Cozy,handmade children's wear occupies several areas of the shop.


Just For Men

Another recent addition is a “men’s section,” which hosts items with masculine appeal, West said. The shop is seeking crafters who are interested in making items that men would want, she said.

“We want to be more than a home décor or baby clothes store,” she said. “We want this to be a one stop place where people can find something for anyone.”

“Anyone” apparently includes pets; a supply of hand-dipped dog treats is available at the store.

Sales Opportunities

Crafters may rent wall space or booth space and rent is dependent upon the space size. Rents include store advertising, sales staff, sales tax collection, monthly inventory, and other office duties. Free booth stocking is offered to crafters who live more than an hour’s drive from the shop.


A display of painted glassware
Crafty Creations is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tues., Wed. and Fri., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thurs., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sun..

A limited selection of items may be purchased on-line.

Additional information about Crafty Creations and an on-line catalogue may be found at a www.eaglestreet.com Internet web site. Information may also be acquired by calling 413-664-4032.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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