Hand-n-Hand Craft Mall offers crafters place to sell productsWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hand-n-Hand Craft Mall offers local crafters a retail outlet for selling their homemade products and consumers a place to buy them.
Troy Hendricks of Sylvania opened the Hand-n-Hand Craft Mall located on Airport Highway west of I-475 in Holland Nov. 1. He currently has 13 vendors occupying spaces including crafters from as far as Archbold, Bucyrus, and Pioneer.
“I checked all over the (Toledo) area for space and this was the most affordable spot. If I can make it go here, I would be looking for a larger location,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks reported that he has 53 applicants interested in the remaining 22 spaces in the 1,100 square-foot retail outlet. Vendors rent the 2-foot deep and 4-foot wide by 8-foot tall spaces with back and side peg board for displaying their crafts.
Rent for the retail spaces vary from $100 per month with $25 deposit for one month to $75 monthly with $75 deposit for six months. Other options for space and rental areas are available, according to Hendricks.
“We strive to provide only high-quality, handmade items created by artisans who are passionate about their craft,” Hendricks said.
Lori Aeschliman of Archbold has displayed her homemade wearables and accessories since the opening of Hand-n-Hand shop in November. She learned about it from running into Hendricks at the Apple Butter Festival in Grand Rapids last fall.
“It’s a central location for our products and people are becoming more aware of it,” said Aeschliman, who also takes her products on-the-road to sell at off-site shows.
Aeschliman makes mittens, scarves, pillows and other accessories from upcycled wool sweaters. She also crafts baby bibs, burp cloths and weekender bags from cotton material.
She has been sewing since she was 10 and named her firm Emma Karoline Designs after her grandmother who made things for people.
Hendricks said most of their customers learn about the store by word of mouth. Many customers come from the two businesses located on either side of the store, a Curves fitness center and Cat Tales, a cats-only veterinary practice.
Gwyn Minicozzi of Cozzi Creations in Toledo began selling her homemade products at the store in December, never having sold them beyond family and friends previously. She works full-time as a business analyst and does this in her spare time.
Minicozzi and her retired mother Karen in New Jersey sew and crochet hats, handbags, scarves, table runners and custom items upon request. They sell custom-designed crocheted baby blankets for $30 for example.
“We find out what people like or want and can make custom things for them,” Minicozzi said.
Jan Manning of Swanton began selling grilling aprons, kitchen oven mitt sets, and tote bags made by her and her twin sister Ann Oehlke at the shop in min-January. They previously sold their handiwork to family, friends, and co-workers and at flea markets while working full-time at other jobs.
“My sister saw this place and we decided to try it,” said Manning, who also makes custom designed Indian headdresses based on a lot of research and her Cree Indian heritage.
“I love it because it’s fair trade and helps families in third and fourth world countries that may not have jobs. I do visual merchandising for a Fair Trades store in Archbold,” Aeschliman said.
Hendricks sells many Fair Trade products in his Hand-n-Hand Craft Mall, including coffee, chocolate, tea, jewelry, sculptures and other items through the Fair Trade International and US organizations.
“We have the best chocolate in Toledo,” Hendricks said, describing the Divine brand of candy made in Germany from cocoa beans grown on small farms in Ghana.
Hendricks also carries products from Serrv Our World, a nonprofit that was one of the first alternative worldwide trade organizations. Serrv provides opportunities for what it calls “marginalized artisans and farmers” by selling their products in the fair trade environment.
Hendricks learned about the Fair Trade organization and products while living and teaching in Spain for nearly 10 years. He has worked as a high school English teacher and basketball coach in the U.S. and Spain after growing up in nearby Pioneer, Ohio.
Hand-n-Hand Craft Mall is dedicated to providing a professional environment in which crafters and patrons can support talented artisans both locally and from around the world, according to Hendricks.
“We are dedicated to supporting the world fair trade principles and communicating those principles to the general public,” Hendricks states on the mall’s web site at www.hand-n-hand-world-crafts.com.