Ask Shawn Slome, and he'll tell you that pretty much everyone feels good when they walk into Twig: the customers, the staff, and of course, the owner himself. That's because the shop only sells environmentally friendly products, and every shirt or frying pan helps support green and fair-trade practices.
The seeds for Twig were planted decades ago, when Slome's passion for activism was jump-started by the 1970 Earth Day celebration. Fast forward to 2007 when Slome opened Twig, leaving behind his career in the outlet-clothing world. As Slome told US News in 2010, "It feels like my business [now] has more purpose than money alone or profit." Additionally, Retailing Insight selected Twig for a feature story based on its credentials as an approved member of Green America Business Network and for its independent retail trade reputation. Publication readers also crowned the store Best Environmentally Friendly Store for the past four years via its independent weekly poll. The eco-savvy staff members share their boss's enthusiasm. They happily tell customers all about their favorite products, which might include homemade chocolates from Roland's or quirky animal hats from Andes Gifts, and they know exactly where everything comes from. Buyers also check that their retail partners maintain fair labor practices and provide a safe work environment for their employees. Though stringent, this process has filled the shop's aisles and shelves with clothing, kitchenware, and other home goods. At the back even lies a kids' section with stacks of blocks, games, wood instruments, and other toys.
Twig's altruism does't hinge entirely on its retail sales. The shop also hosts fundraisers for local charities, non-profits, and other organizations that could easily have a place on Mother Nature's speed dial.
As a child, Ruth Warren learned to value creativity over consumption. Her parents—who grew up during the Great Depression—taught their children to make ornaments from magazines, matchbooks, and bottle caps, paper dolls from catalogs, and even their house from salvaged wood and nails. As an adult, Ruth still celebrates these values as an artist and the marketing coordinator for The Scrap Exchange. The nonprofit company collects materials from more than 250 industries within a 100-mile radius, looking to repurpose everything from foam, paper, zippers, test tubes, fabric, and vintage goods into art and craft supplies.
Staffers have aims beyond just reducing waste and promoting environmental awareness: they hope to create a vibrant community. Alongside merchandise, their shop makes room for craft classes, an art gallery, and an artists’ marketplace of items created with discarded materials. Everyone is welcome to work inside a 400-square-foot design center, outfitted with sewing machines, a serger, a die-cut machine, a button-making machine, T-shirt hot press, and more than 300 reference books. The inspirational space earned a feature on Apartment Therapy, as well as Santa's nice list.
The Mad Platter is a spacious, comfortable studio where friends and family can paint, stencil, and sponge imagery that's wildly innovative, beautiful, or commemorates the ancient Athenian victory at Marathon onto pottery ready to be filled with flowers, pencils, or wishes. Hundreds of pottery pieces—including small tiles ($4), small figurines ($8), mugs ($10), and large handled serving platters ($45–$56)—rest atop neat wooden shelves, coyly awaiting the brushstrokes of a fetching paint-slinger. After choosing your ceramic canvas, comb the studio's collection of bristly utensils and its vat of around 100 pigments to dash and daub to your hungry heart's content. Upon completion, you'll entrust your suddenly vivid earthenware to a friendly kiln master, who will glaze and fire the piece for pickup in about 7–10 days—before its debut on a lonely mantle or gifty transfer to Grandma's dinner table.
Linda and her daughter Ariana scour wholesale gift markets and fine estate sales across the country, hunting for one-of-a-kind antiques and whimsical gifts. They pack their cheerful boutique with their finds, lining shelves with colorful ceramics, intricate frames, and plush decorative pillows. Their ever-changing stock includes bodycare products, jewelry, and keepsake boxes from unique designers, as well as jewelry.
Since 1968, Jerry’s Artarama has assisted artists through every phase of the creative process, including furnishing their studios with art supplies and finishing off their completed artwork with custom-framing services. They stock their shelves with student- and professional-grade supplies, including Winsor & Newton’s high-value Winton line of beginners’ oil colors and Williamsburg handmade paints. The framing department, meanwhile, keeps a wide range of mats, moulding, and glass on hand to create lavish homes for fine artwork or simple enclosures for family photos and important receipts.
Each day, the bookkeepers at the two Mr. Mike's Used Books stores shelve hundreds of new titles. They procure many of their titles through customer sales, resulting in a constantly changing spread of bestsellers, eclectic titles, and forgotten gems. Titles range in genre and style with nonfiction African American tomes facing young-adult tales and westerns secretly pining for the damsels on nearby romance novel covers. Books start at just $0.99 to help people stock up before heading back to school or shipping off to a tropical island where they may only bring three items.