Shop Local: Freshbyhand At November 23 Holiday Gift Show

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Freshbyhand’s collaged picture frames and mirrors will be on sale at an upcoming holiday gift show in Solebury Township, PA. The frames upcycle imagery from original prints created with block printing, mono type and etching techniques. The imagery is inspired by nature, found materials and the creative possibilities of paint, ink and glue.

This one incorporates an original block print image.

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This one is collaged using remnants of etchings and mono prints.

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Show Details

8th Annual Holiday Shopping Extravaganza

  • Saturday, November 23, 2013, 10 am – 3 pm
  • Solebury United Methodist Children’s Learning Center’
  • 2536 Aquetong Road, New Hope, PA
  • Free Admission
  • Childcare available
  • Refreshments & activities for kids

The show will include a number of other local craft artisans, a fair trade organization and some direct selling companies.

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Love Letters from Vermont: The Arts Help Build Strong Local Economies

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When we last visited Brattleboro, VT, more than a dozen years ago, we thought: “Cool town, good bones, lots of potential.” But beyond a small number of off-beat shops and tiny bistros, there didn’t seem to be much happening, especially compared with “our” river towns, Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA. Here in the Delaware River Valley, Chamber of Commerce members, politicians and other interested parties had long since grasped that one of the area’s greatest economic resources was its large supply of artists. It’s that type of insight — understanding the power of a creative, arts-driven LOCAL economy — that has transformed Brattleboro and other Vermont towns into thriving destinations, despite the ongoing downturn.

Localism at Work

Vermonters apparently began recognizing the potential of art to revitalize local economies sometime in the early 1980s. The transformation didn’t happen overnight. But, over time, the efforts of state and local arts councils, renovators, business owners and, of course, artists, began to pay off. Brattleboro and many other Vermont towns and villages now complement outdoor recreational attractions (skiing, hiking, mountain biking) with a vibrant mix of small, independent shops, galleries and sophisticated restaurants showcasing locally produced foods. Read more

Going green, local and sustainable this holiday season

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Is “sustainable holiday” an oximoron? Is it really possible to block out all those messages to over-consume everything from gifts to food to libations? Would the holidays even be as much fun if we truly made them sustainable?

Here are a few ideas that can help you keep the holiday season green, local and enjoyable. Read more

Shop ’til you drop, but try to keep it local

Thanks to American Express, post-Thanksgiving shopping now encompasses not only Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but also Small Business Saturday. This type of corporate support can do a lot to raise the profile of localism. But the “shop local” thing really represents a grass-roots movement, fueled by people all over the globe who get the critical importance of supporting small, independent businesses in their own communities.

Why Local Matters

While Black Friday is all about getting the latest item before stores run out — or getting the best deal while it lasts — buying from independent local shops has a less fleeting purpose. It actually helps sustain and build the economy in your town (and neighboring towns) by increasing the amount of times your dollars can circulate through the local economy. The “love your local” and “shop local” campaigns throughout the Delaware River Valley have undoubtedly made a difference over the past few years, keeping many shops going and even thriving despite the weak economy. We can show our appreciation by supporting those shops during the holiday season. And we can go a step further by seeking out items that are sourced and/or made locally (artisanal foods, fine art, hand-crafted gifts) or that are made from eco-conscious materials and support triple-bottom line and fair trade practices.

How to Shop Local

The Delaware River Valley offers endless opportunities to shop local, independent, hand-made and green.

  • On the town. New Hope, Lambertville, Stockton, Sergeantsville, Frenchtown, Doylestown and Newtown…take your pick or visit them all. For details

New Hope: http://www.lambertville.org/

Lambertville: http://www.visitnewhope.com/

Doylestown:http://doylestownalive.com/business/ShowBusinesses.cfm?submit1=555&expandlisting=TRUE&webname=dalive

  • Off the beaten path. When you’re heading “into town,” don’t bypass the many unique shops tucked in along back-country roads. If you’re looking for something out-of-the-ordinary or representative of the area, also consider shopping for gifts at farmers’ markets and farm-owned stores. Check Fresh’s Local Resources: Farm-Fresh Food for ideas.
  • At galleries and art/craft shows. In addition to the many galleries throughout the area, there are plenty of holiday shows featuring local artisans and fine artists. One of our favorites is the Covered Bridge Artisans show: http://www.coveredbridgeartisans.com/. Check local papers for others.
  • Online — but local. If you’re more of a Cyber Monday kind of shopper, you can still support local businesses simply by visiting their online shops. It’s also possible to search for local vendors on large online marketplaces, such as Etsy.com, the “Amazon” of handmade gifts. (Full disclosure: Fresh recently launched an Etsy shop featuring hand-painted picture frames. You can visit at: www.etsy.com/shop/freshbyhand.) To find vendors close to home, simply go to Etsy.com, click “Shop Local” and type in your town and state.

Have a great Small Business Saturday — and local holiday shopping season!

How to be a ‘Localist’ in the Delaware River Valley: Buy Local

This is the first in a six-part series on the connections between “going local” and living sustainably.

Are you a “localist”? The answer may be “yes” if you make an effort to buy food, gifts and necessities from businesses that are independent and locally owned.

Why buy local?

Imagine living in a part of the country where “shopping” involves pulling on and off busy highways and fighting for parking spots in strip malls just so you can peruse the aisles of mass-market chain stores where most of the merchandise comes from far-away lands. Of course, it’s easy to escape that fate here in the Delaware River Valley. You can Read more

‘Localism’ at Work: Friday Night Fireworks Spark New Hope-Lambertville Economy

[photo from www.bcptheater.org]

The New Hope-Lambertville Friday Night Fireworks drew thousands to its phenomenal finale on August 31. It was a great finish to the third consecutive year of top-notch fireworks on the Delaware.

Like any successful community gathering, this one has brought us together with friends, neighbors and visitors to enjoy not just the main event (which is always stunning), but also layers of local entertainment, from live bands and informal jam sessions to an “indie” film montage and the SPLASH steamboat cruise. Beyond offering a great way to kick off our summer weekends, Friday Night Fireworks also has been working hard on our behalf, providing a much-needed local “stimulus” to the economies of both river towns.

Revitalizing the local economy was exactly the point for the event’s co-founders: New Hope borough council member Bill Scandone, New Hope Chamber of Commerce president Glen Stephan and Nick Gialias, a council member and owner of the Logan Inn. “With the economic downturn taking a toll locally, we were seeking a way to sustainably revitalize the business communities of both New Hope and Lambertville,” explains Scandone, recalling the conversations that lead to the event’s creation. Since both towns are geared toward weekend tourism, with business generally strongest on Saturdays, it was clear that the best opportunity to boost weekly revenues was to create a succesful Friday night event.

Local economic impact

So, with three glorious seasons completed, has Friday Night Fireworks achieved it’s goal? While there’s no formal economic data, event organizers and businesses enthusiastically agree that the fireworks has had the desired effect. The impact falls into a few distinct categories:

  • Friday-night receipts. With a weekly turnout of about 5,000 additional visitors, the fireworks has significantly increased business at local restaurants and eateries as well as those retailers that stay open late to cater to the Friday night crowd.
  • Return business. Perhaps even more important, the event introduces (or reintroduces) visitors to the unique shops and galleries, excellent restaurants and colorful watering holes and music venues that have long distinguished both Lambertville and New Hope. Return visits, whether day trips or overnight stays at local hotels and B&Bs, may represent an impressive “multiplier effect,” ensuring both towns can maximize the tourism income so important to the local economy.
  • Community fundraising. This year, a “Bucket Brigade” of teens spread out across both towns to help raise money for the fireworks. In addition to supporting the event, 50% of the donations went to organizations including local high schools and soccer teams.

A Lambertville Chamber member pointed out that the event also has become a popular business networking scene, offering an informal but effective way to make valuable new connections.

Community builder

Of course, at heart, this is a community event and a chance to enjoy the spectacular work of the well-known Garden State Fireworks. From a locals’ perspective, Friday Night Fireworks also has achieved something harder to quantify, but vital to the community: It’s helped reinforce our enthusiasm for both river towns and strengthen the ties between them.

The 2013 fireworks season may be a long way off, but we can all help keep the local stimulus ball rolling by spending more of our dollars in New Hope, Lambertville and the other river towns – during the upcoming holiday season and beyond.

Publishing note: Today’s blog post may be reprinted or distributed via e-mail in its entirety and without changes, additions or omissions, with permission obtained from Fresh by contacting askfresh at comcast dot net. Any use of this post must contain the site url: www.freshrivervalley.com.