|Look for the sign on Portage Trail Extension--perhaps 100 yards west of State Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls.|
Portage Trail Barn--Winter Sale 2013
by Joanna Wilson
"Shop local. Buy handmade" is the slogan of the Portage Trail Barn. This slogan can be seen on bumper stickers labeling cars throughout the Empire. But it's also a way of life for many people in our community. In the past, I've shared Portage Trail Barn events among others through this website and its many social networking extensions. But today I'd like to step back and focus on the Barn--a growing, integral part of the local arts and crafts scene.
|Portage Trail Barn is quite literally a BARN!|
|"A community of crafters displayed together in an intimate setting, not overcrowded nor overwhelming."|
I recently spoke with the Barn's owner/creator Mary Beth Filon about how she got started. Mary Beth said the Portage Trail Barn started out in the spring of 2011 as a place where she could sell her own crafts. Looking to avoid the craft show circuit and on-line markets, Mary Beth and her mom decided to open their own shop--one she had built right on her property. Since early 2011, she typically opens the Barn for sales once a season, about three or four times a year, and includes not only her own crafts but those from other local vendors as well. Mary Beth makes a special effort to surround herself with artists and crafters that understand sustainability--stocking her barn with products that are re-purposed and up-cycled from used and vintage items.
|"Because the different types of crafts are spread out and displayed uniquely, visitors can really be inspired by how items could be used in their homes or as gifts for loved ones."|
|"Our customers appreciate the story of these items. They are happy to do their part to prevent re-purposed things from being thrown out."|
Said Filon, "I love the fact that Portage Trail Barn is all about sustainability. When I go in there I see so many re-purposed items that would normally just be discarded, from clothing and wood remnants to antiques. I like it when I buy something there, I feel like I'm doing my part to reduce waste. The best part is you would never know that they were discarded items because the items are so artfully crafted. The crafts truly are unique. They're not just something that you would see at typical craft shows where everything may start to look the same."
"The Portage Trail Barn takes separate vendors with different talents and unites them into one combined store. It makes the artists and the shoppers feel like they're part of something bigger.... like a local art family. [PTB] is different from other craft shows in that it feels more home-y. It embraces the idea of community."
I asked Mary Beth to describe what type of items will be available at the Winter Sale. She replied:
Cloth dolls, toys, and kids gifts
Lathe turned vases, pens, and other woodwork
Wine accessories and gifts
Re-purposed mittens, hats, totes, and purses
Vintage inspired jewelry
Hostess towels and other gifts
And, I'm sure there will be more surprises. As you consider where to spend your money this holiday season, I encourage you to continue to shop local and buy handmade. Not only will you be helping to support a local member of our arts and crafts community, but you'll be buying something unique and not mass-produced.
Portage Trail Barn--Winter Sale 2013 is over two weekends:
Thur-Sat Dec. 5th-7th, (Thursday 3pm-8pm) (Friday and Saturday 10am-3pm)
Thur-Sat Dec. 12th-14th, (Thursday 3pm-8pm) (Friday and Saturday 10am-3pm)
Check out the Portage Trail Barn website: http://portagetrailbarn.com/
Portage Trail Barn page on fb
RSVP to the Winter Sale event on FB
Portage Trail Barn is located at 151 W. Portage Trail Ext., Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223