Keeping it Local
Local artisans also benefit from the shop owners that are committed to advancing their work. From Oceana in Orleans to The Drawing Room in Marion, the Cape is home to stores that carefully curate their collection of products in order to provide a unique shopping experience. “I look for artisans and work that is unique, in that it isn’t seen elsewhere, is well-made, and represents the region,” explains Anthi Frangiadis, owner of The Drawing Room. She also makes a point to provide opportunities for her customers to meet and experience her artisans, preferably while creating their art. “We have a fairly robust calendar of events where we will offer trunk shows, workshops or even our annual Holiday Design Market, where we will have scores of artisans in attendance.” Jane Williamson, owner of Oceana, says, “We get excited when we find new, local talent. We are so proud to sell the work of so many regional artists, and we feel that’s what helps make Oceana a truly unique shopping experience. Our customers love taking home a piece of Cape Cod, and we love supporting the local artists and craftspeople.”
Gift shops are one of the best places to find something for most everyone, and two on the Cape that have been perennial favorites with Cape Cod LIFE “Best of” voters through the years include The Potted Geranium in Harwich Port, and the Plum Porch in Marstons Mills. New owners Samantha Leonard and Corrie Mays say that the locally produced items are some of their top sellers. “We have one artist who will personalize items in a way that no one else can,” Leonard says. Lindsay Hopkins-Cox is that artist, who creates one-of-a-kind mailboxes and wall slates with local scenes painted upon them or, most popularly, the family pet, beautifully recreated and placed in an endearing Cape Cod setting. The Potted Geranium features local artist Midge Dey, who creates whimsical framed art out of the treasures she collects along Cape Cod beaches—what is more local than that?
Some innovative and entrepreneurial souls have been diligent and creative enough to produce products that clearly and simply brand the region as well as claim a stake-hold in some competitive industries. Case in point, Cape Cod Beer, a wave-making brewer located in Hyannis was the first of several breweries crafting a locally influenced line of beer. Sharing the campus of Cape Cod Beer’s facilities and making suds of a different kind is Summer House Soaps. Ann Miller, owner and founder, says that she started making soap almost 20 years ago and moved to the Hyannis location, where she produces over 25 varieties of soap, with names, for the most part, inspired by Cape Cod. Her two most popular scents, Summer Hydrangea and Ocean Scrub, are available in bar, liquid and lotion forms. Miller says, “It doesn’t matter if you are visiting and you want to take something that will remind you of the Cape home with you, or if you live here most of the year, people really respond to something that is authentically from the Cape.”
So, given a choice of how and where to spend our dollars, the ones spent here in this community are an investment in a thriving future for Cape Codders today and tomorrow. The shopkeepers of colonial times really weren’t that much different from today’s Cape Cod business owners; identify a product people need and want and provide a positive experience for them to support you, and the transactional relationship will become one of neighbors working with neighbors.
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