CANAAN — The Old New England Market is taking over the Hobby Shop space at 93 Main Street. It will be a brick and mortar Farmhouse Decor business focusing on local, handcrafted, reclaimed, and repurposed products sold on consignment.
Proprietor Ann Talmadge grew up in Western, Massachusetts, had been working in Washington, D.C., and bought a house in Canaan with her partner Mike Reagan a few years ago with the idea of opening a shop along a major travel route.
After seeing a sign in the window of the hobby shop, Ann and Mike decided to call the number posted in the window. “Our new landlord gave us an offer we could not refuse,” she says.
Talmadge says she was inspired by the culture of the 1970s when people made things by hand. “My parents were always re-purposing things, crafting or fixing things themselves. My mother was a tole painter, which is a primitive folk art style of painting popular in the 1970s and 80s modeled after colonial New England painting styles. Me, my brothers, and sister all grew up in that creative atmosphere.”
Regarding the types of artisans they’re working with and what kinds of crafts they’re looking to feature, Talmadge says, “We have found some amazingly talented woodworkers, yarn crafters, soap makers, paper and sign artists from the area. We have been working with a couple of very special young women to establish the Berkshire Makers Association, which will encourage, share, and highlight opportunities for regional makers. We hope to show that locally handmade items are special, beautiful, and far better than mass-produced items. In the past, Americans relied on their communities to provide, and the Old New England Market wants to bring that sense of community provisioning back.”
In terms of adapting to the pandemic, Talmadge says, “It’s an obstacle to get around and challenges a business owner to think outside the box to stay for the long haul, which is what we plan to do. This business community and the Canaan residents have been incredibly supportive. I believe you will start seeing a major revival in Canaan because the community is coalescing, remembering the value of family and community.”
“We plan to move slowly, build up a following, and work closely with our artist and maker partners. Thanks to supporting from other businesses in Canaan, we can do this. I believe this is what makes Canaan special. The Old New England Market plans to host some good old fashion small-town events like a pumpkin pie contest to be held in November. This area has some very industrious people, and we want to showcase those talents and how it fits in the future of our community.”
The Old New England Market is located at 93 Main Street in Canaan and is open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For more information go to their Facebook page.