Photography by Francois Gagne
NEM attracts buyers from all over New England and beyond. Buyers range from seasonal gift stores, gourmet shops and gallery/museum stores to large chains, catalog and major retailers. Here are just a few profiles of buyers that regularly attend our shows.
* Please note, profiles are updated regularly.
Looking for that old-fashioned general store experience complete with antique fixtures and a large candy selection?
Zeb's General Store in North Conway is a required destination for anyone looking for unique New England products in a great atmosphere. Owners David Peterson and Peter Edwards intentionally created a distinctive store that focuses on local products – a big reason why Zeb's was chosen as the 2006 Retailer of the Year by the Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire and Business NH Magazine. And recently, Zeb's took their dedication to the regional community one step further when they established a charitable fund to assist children in the Mt Washington Valley.
Zeb's carries goods from all over New England including candy, maple syrup, personal care products and toys. The candy and toys are a big draw for kids, but adults love the gourmet foods, home furnishings and gifts (and, okay maybe the candy, too!). Good food is always a draw and Zeb's offers a lot of in-store demos to introduce new products. Ray Boutin of Zeb's says that this allows customers to try things they might be unfamiliar with and it helps them to get past the higher prices because the products taste so good. Sure, you can buy salsa or cheese from the larger chain stores but can you buy fresh, locally made salsa and cheese?
Zeb's has a reputation as a business that stocks local goods and for helping new businesses step into the specialty foods or local giftware market. Ray Boutin says that Zeb's already purchases a lot of products from NEPTS exhibitors but that the show is a great way to try out the new things beings offered each year and to meet new business owners.
Common Goods Market, located in Guilford, CT, carries items for your home, pottery, furniture, textiles, kitchenware, glass, cleaning products and more! They will only carry products made here in New England by artisans, craftspeople or micro businesses; absolutely no imports, period. If it's not made in New England, you won't find it at Common Goods Market.
The reason Common Good Market only buys local is because their mission is to reconnect the residents of our region with people who make beautiful and useful products for the home. Buying locally made products helps build more resilient local economies, leads to improved environmental outcomes for our region and a better future for our children.
The most popular items in their store are wooden kitchenware, cutting boards, glass and textiles. This reflects their country style store where people can still find the wonderful items they need for their homes still being made here in New England.
Common Goods Market likes NEPTS because they have given them the opportunity to meet wonderful artisans, craftspeople and owners of micro businesses, who from meeting them there, they now carry in their store.
Yikes! American Craft Gallery sells the work of over 500 American Artists and craftspeople. They carry everything from Greeting Cards to Handcut Soaps, Sterling & Gold Jewelry, Fine & Whimsical Furniture, Handblown Glass, Pottery, Custom Window Signs, Cutting Boards, Clothing & Accessories, Garden Art, Local Foods and much more. Everything is made in American and they get new products in every day!
When looking for products for the store, Yikes! American Craft Gallery chooses products in a way they would choose them for themselves. They look for unique, quality made useful items. They want to give their customers something new and exciting each time they come through the door.
Yikes! American Craft Gallery loves buying local. They personally shop locally and believe there is so much offered within their Lakes Region community. Local All American Made products are their best selling point because they are located in a tourist town. It keeps the money in their community and helps families that help them.
The stores personality reflects its name. It's exciting and full of whimsical, surprising items. Yikes! American Craft Gallery was named America's Most Creative Family in USA Weekend Magazine and if family owned and operated.
The Smiling Cow has been a family owned and operated business for 3 generations. They sell everything from Maine mementos to toys, jewelry, hand bags, food, candy their own home made fudge, books cards, prints, apparel, soaps, kitchen ware, games and more. Owner, Meg Fisher, works with Maine reps with whom she's built great relationships with, to bring in quality local products. She also visits Boston and New York shows and reads giftware magazines for product ideas.
Smiling Cow buys local whenever possible because they know that's what the customer is looking for. They also like to support their local artisans, which in turn supports the local economy. Smiling Cow has been in Camden, Maine for 72 years. They have visitors who come year after year; some who came as children and are now bringing their children and grandchildren.
Smiling Cow loves NEPTS because it's a great way to see new products from New England and it's easy to place orders with lots of the lines they already carry. Meg can get a lot done in a day at the show, and it's close to home!
Millie's of Chatham General Store specializes in Made in New England products. They feature specialty food items such as Hot Sauces, Seasoning Mixes, Cheesecake Mixes, Pancake Mix, Penny Candy and more as well as other household things like Cutting Boards, Flower Planter Buckets, Lazy Susans, Aprons, Ornaments, Suncatchers, Handbags, Baskets, Belts, Brooms and more!
Millie's chooses their products by spending endless hours researching over the internet for products that are 1) Made on Cape Cod, 2) Made in Massachusetts, 3) Made in New England, and 4.) Made in USA. They also attend craft shows that are held in New England and Trade Shows, especially if they feature a Made in New England or Made in USA section.
Some of their most popular items in their store are from NEPTS exhibitors, including North Country Wind Bells, as well as other companies: Door Hanger Bells from New England Bells, Pairpoint Glass Suncatchers, Dip and Seasoning Mixes, Nantucket Rope Bracelets, and Cape Cod Belts.
Millie's of Chatham General Store is warm and inviting. Every customer is greeted and an effort is made to get to know each of them. Most everyone who walks in will immediately point out how good it smells from all of the delicious specialty foods.