BUSINESS MONDAY: Give the gift of local shopping this holiday season

Smoke purification sticks locally made by Shire Alchemy. Once lit, these create smoke to cleanse the house, body and mind of negative energies and amplify your intentions. Photo courtesy of 1Berkshire

Editor’s note: This article was contributed to The Edge by 1Berkshire.

Berkshire County is home to more than 10,000 businesses. Our region has long been a welcoming environment for entrepreneurs, from do-it-yourselfers to industrial manufacturers. The entrepreneurial spirit of our local economy is nurtured with the support, guidance and resources provided by organizations such as EforAll, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) and 1Berkshire. Many of our approximately 2,200 Berkshire businesses are independently owned with fewer than 50 employees, and this small business is good for our community. With the holiday season on the horizon and Small Business Saturday just around the corner on November 26th, we are all reminding ourselves of the importance of shopping locally.

1Berkshire asked a few local businesses to share their thoughts and experiences on the upcoming #ShopLocal season. Their responses offer an intimate snapshot of their recent experiences, challenges, and marketing goals. (Read the unabridged stories here.)

Dory & Ginger
Housewares and gift shop in Pittsfield
Laurie Tierneyowner

Laurie Tierney, owner of Dory & Ginger. Photo courtesy of 1Berkshire

The current market in the Berkshires (and everywhere) is a little scary. The economy is difficult to predict, along with of course the flu and COVID season. My biggest challenge recently is losing my business partner to another career and like many companies, staffing has been difficult. We’re open six days a week and customers still say that’s not enough. But our success is that we’re next door to a thriving hotel that’s had a great season… location, location, location!

I probably bought too much for the holidays. I know I’ve gone a bit crazy with books (my passion). I am always enthusiastic about new products and ideas. My manager Kate was a huge help – you can see many of our fun ideas on our Instagram. Social media is our biggest marketing tool for the coming season. I’m feeling a little too cautious about spending ad money this year. Maybe I can do more next summer.

Dory & Ginger is a really fun place to shop and we have parking behind the Hotel on North. Visit us!

The inside of Dory & Ginger. Photo courtesy of 1Berkshire

Shire Alchemy
Online shop with magic goods for modern living
Kira Staubach-Smithowner

Small business owners experience many ups and downs, but when I started Shire Alchemy I was welcomed by the community and that has shaped me

Kira Staubach-Smith, owner of Shire Alchemy. Photo courtesy of 1Berkshire

entrepreneurial journey much easier. Knowing that there is a whole community to support and lift me up keeps me grounded during the tougher times and makes the achievements so much better!

Preparing for the upcoming shopping season is one of my favorite times of the year. There is magic in the air with the changing of the seasons and the excitement of celebrating the holidays which is so inspiring to an artist and maker like me. This year I plan to offer limited edition seasonal boxes, like the Christmas box, that will help celebrate the season while relieving stress.

Since my business is only a few years old, I have only experienced two holiday periods. The first taught me to approach the season with care, prudence and planning. The second taught me that no two are alike, but a focused approach helps relieve the stress. My marketing efforts include a mix of in-person events, email marketing, social media/digital advertising, and select print advertising. I will also be offering lots of social media and blog content that will help reach our entire community for free. One of Shire Alchemy’s values ​​is to provide knowledge and information that helps our community create growth. Everyone deserves access to knowledge that could help them in their daily lives.

Berkshire Mountain Distillers
Award winning Craft Spirit Distillery in Sheffield
Michael KowalskiNational Director of Sales and Hospitality

The Berkshire Theater Group Colonial Cosmo formed by Berkshire Mountain Distillers. Photo courtesy of 1Berkshire

Thankfully, as a long-standing producer of quality spirits with a focus on the local community and businesses, our products and services continue to be in high demand. It’s certainly an interesting time for us as a company; Like everyone else, we navigate the supply chain and marketplace and adapt. It has given us an opportunity to re-evaluate operations and make some big changes. For example, during the spring we worked hard to make our Sheffield distillery a better destination for locals and visitors alike. We built an outdoor pavilion and partnered with Berkshire Busk and local restaurants and food trucks to offer live music and food at our craft cocktail bar on the weekends.

Our culture cocktail initiative this summer was both our greatest achievement and our greatest challenge. We aligned with 15 cultural organizations and matched them with 30 hotels and restaurants to offer bespoke cocktails, which was no small feat. The program helped local hotels, bars and restaurants promote the cultural organizations for which the cocktails are created and allowed us to support these hospitality partners by training their staff to prepare these cocktails. It also gave the cultural organizations an opportunity to direct business back into these hotels, bars and restaurants. It has been such a successful initiative for us that we are already planning how to make next year even bigger and better!

The holidays are always a busy time in the beverage industry! We’re also celebrating our 15th anniversary, so this holiday season is doubly important to us. For the holidays we have a 6 year old cask of our smoke and peat rum hitting our shelves on November 1st, a fresh batch of our coveted Maple Bourbon is in the process of being bottled and we are releasing our new Samuel Adams Cask Finished Bourbon on December 1. We have also worked extensively with our local chambers, retailers and restaurants to support our community, economy and culture in the Berkshires. Look out for us at your local holiday events!

Michael Kowalski gives the Table and Vine team a tour of the distillery. Photo by Nick Colabella

Roxie’s Barkery
Boutique featuring handcrafted, all-natural dog treats, chews, toys, accessories and more
McKenna Burzimatiowner and founder

McKenna Burzimati, owner and founder of Roxies Barkery. Photo courtesy of o 1Berkshire

The current market for our store is very high! 90% of American households consider dogs part of their family, which means they want their furry family members to have a great, healthy life. Roxies Barkery was founded to help pet owners do just that. We only make the finest natural treats and stock only the highest quality pet products. Roxies Barkery offers pet owners peace of mind that they don’t have to worry about whether the products they buy are safe for their pets or take the time to read lengthy ingredient labels. We treat our puppies like our own pets!

Being an entrepreneur is a challenge. Keeping up with all the changes in the world like COVID, price increases, supply and demand is a constant adaptation. I believe that owning a business is a constant learning curve and we continue to learn as we grow! I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Seeing so many happily wagging cocks in and out of my place every day is an indescribable feeling.

We’ve recently transitioned Roxies Barkery from a home based business to a brick and mortar location, but we’ve already outgrown our space quickly, especially when it comes to events. This is our first holiday season at a physical location, so I’m learning as I go. We’ve been making a Christmas countdown calendar for dogs for the last two years and they’ve always been a hit, so we’re really excited to be making them again this year. We will also offer many other holiday items and organize some holiday events in our store. Additionally, this year we will be selling at some of the largest Christmas markets in the Berkshires and we are very excited to be a part of them.

We’d love for everyone reading this to bring your puppies to our barkery! We guarantee your pups won’t be disappointed with our “well barking cookies”!

Roxie’s Barkery. Photo courtesy of 1Berkshire

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The common thread running through all of these stories is community. Owning, managing and playing an integral part in a business is no small endeavor and must be driven by more than entrepreneurial ambition. A key ingredient is a love for a common place—the Berkshires. This dedication can be experienced with every locally made and sold item. This holiday season, we hope you’ll do your part to support the Berkshire business community by shopping locally.

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