Business

If you collect it, chances are they sell it

Looking for Christmas ornaments? Turtle shells or homemade jam? Perhaps a soy candle or a Peruvian wool hat?

The Crafters Gift Shoppe is a sure bet.

The shop, located at 1700 Mile Hill Road in Suite 228, opened on the upper level of the South Kitsap Mall at the beginning of September.

The crafters had previously been part of the Port Orchard Farmers market, but they wanted to stay in business when it closed at the end of summer.

“We’ve all been crafters for years. It‘s something we always dreamed of,” explained Shirley Hall. “It was an opportunity that presented itself that we had to try,”

It also provided an opportunity to keep busy.

Hall’s nursing career was sidelined by a back injury, “but I have to have something to keep me from going crazy.”

Added Jodi Eichel, “We’re not getting any younger.”

Their third partner is Amy Shelman.

With the exception of collect-ables, nothing the market’s 10 vendors sell is commercial. The store allows only one vendor per specialty — and they definitely have them. Hall makes tote bags, crocheted scarves and fleece items. Eichel specializes in teddy bears, wall hangings and baby items.

And Shelman’s offerings include soaps and candles.

“It’s all hand-crafted and made with the idea that they’re going to buy it for somebody they love,” Hall said.

When customers come in they often see items their mothers or grandmothers used to make, she said.

“Everything here someone else could make, but they don’t have time.”

So with time on their hands, Hall, Eichel and Shelman decided to take on the market.

They pride themselves on offering the latest trends, by a variety of artists, as well as useful home items. In addition to crafts, they sell such items as pet beds, dog cookies, pet treats, and children’s items including blankets, specialty soaps and doll clothes.

“We try and cover every area that somebody might have an interest in,” Hall said.

In order to keep their offerings “within everyone’s means,” most items range from $1 to $20-$25.

So why go there instead of big-box craft stores or local discounters?

“There’s a quality issue,” she said. “You’re looking it over twice to make sure it’s right.”

While the crafters feel some stores often import home items of lower quality, Eichel says, “When you hear the elderly ladies say your stitching is so nice, that’s quite a compliment.”

They don’t offer craft classes, but Hall said each vendor is in the store three times a week to answer questions about their products.

“If anybody has difficulty, they can come in and someone will help them,” she said. “There aren’t any trade secrets.”

While they are open to new vendors (their space allows for up to 14), especially someone who specializes in scroll-sawing and woodworking, they don’t have illusions of grandeur.

“We’ll stay here in Port Orchard,” Hall said. “We don’t want a chain of Crafters Gift Shoppes.

“We want people to know where we are.”

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