Saturday, October 25
Tell us a little about yourself: name, where you grew up and where you live today, when you started your business, why you chose to start a business that supports the local arts and anything else interesting! I grew up in Brockport, NY, and now live in Burt, NY, where my husband and I raised our 4 children. I obtained my undergraduate Biology/Education degree from SUNY Potsdam and received my Masters in Education at Niagara University. I have worked with the Longaberger Company in sales and management since 1988. This is where I learned most of my marketing. I started the Shoppe On Main after realizing that the concept of renting area to artists, rather then taking commission on art was a feasible way to bring an art gallery to the small hamlet of Newfane NY.
Besides being a small business owner, do you have any hobbies? I have horses in my backyard and will ride during any free time I have. I am quite active in local business organizations such as Newfane Business Association, Newfane Tourism and helping with organizing of town events.
What locally made products do you carry? Almost all of my 50 artists are local, and those who are not from WNY have ties here that brought them to my shop. We not only carry the art most people think of when they think gallery, but I consider our hand made chocolates, farm fresh spreads and jams as much a form of art as any of our watercolors and oils, wood, photography, jewelry or fabric pieces.
What is your favorite Buffalo made product you sell? With 50 different forms of art, it would be impossible to choose a favorite. At this point, I own almost one thing from everyone who shows here!
What is your favorite hand-made item you have found at the Buffalo Indie Market? Two of my artists, Lisa McCausland and Lynn Batt show at the Indie Market, so I would choose both of them. Again, I have pieces from both these talented women. Lynn creates hand sewn, beautifully designed beaded jewelry and clutches. Lisa can crochet anything, hats, purses, scarves, sweaters and wonderfully designed neck warmers.
What are some of your favorite local shops and restaurants or cafes? I love Murphy Orchards from Burt, NY. Carol brings in people from all over to visit her tearoom and farm style general store. Around the corner from her is Schulze Winery and Vineyard. They have a full array of locally made wine, plus maintain some of the most beautiful land in Niagara County. Both places allow me to ride my horses through their farm land, and what is not to love about that!.
What is your favorite thing to do that you can only do in Buffalo? Eat the best pizza and wings while enjoying the four seasons in all their glory.
What advice would you like to give to someone looking to start a small business in the Queen City? I like to visit other towns and cities that are similar to ours. I look to see what works, where are people drawn, how does the streetscape look, then fashion my business after what I experience and what sticks in my mind. Once set up, you have to be the best of anyone at customer service. This is the one aspect that is free but often neglected. Remember your customers, what they bought, what they like and when they tend to stop by. Know your product. You must be able to help your customer visualize how your product will benefit them, beautify their home or just be a piece they cannot live without.
How do you advertise your business? I constantly have after shop hour classes in art, floral arranging, beading, yoga, crocheting and special Ladies Only evenings, going on. This brings in new people. Anything that gets scheduled is put into the local papers. I have an e-mail mailing list as well as a snail mail mailing. I have a professional Web Designer, Essential Design Group, maintain my web site. Word of mouth is the best and this is where your customer service comes into play.
What do you like most about the Buffalo Indie Market and what it stands for? Anytime an organization does anything to promote local, whether it is art, farm, locally engineered or produced, it is good for our economy, good for our area and shows we support our own. This is what I see the Indie Market fulfilling.
If you had one word to describe Buffalo what would it be? Altruistic