SARANAC LAKE - The Adirondack North Country Association is making it easier for wholesale artisans in the region to sell their homemade goods.
The ANCA craft Web site, www.AdkNCcrafts.com, now features the American Handmade Wholesale Directory, a list of 135 artisans, specialty food producers, furniture makers, print and photography artists, souvenir gift makers, musicians, and book publishers from the region who are all experienced in wholesale.
ANCA craft coordinator Nadia Korths, who is responsible for the Web site, said she added the directory to assist gift shop owners who may not want to make the expense of traveling to a trade show to find new merchandise.
All of the 135 businesses listed have participated in ANCA's annual Buyer Days gift trade show, which highlights regionally-made rustic and nature-themed gift items. Many have been regular attendees in the past seven years.
Though most of these small businesses are located in Upstate New York, some are from the Catskills, Central and Western New York, along with a few from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
David Tomberlin, owner of Well Dressed Foods in Tupper Lake, will be exhibiting at Buyer Days for the third time this year and said it's linked him with a lot of retailers throughout the Northeast. Though he has yet to see much impact from the new on-line directory, Tomberlin is looking forward to further marketing through ANCA.
Lake Placid artist Mary Bousquet said participating in last year's Buyer Days show created at least five new wholesale accounts for her business, Mary Ballou Designs.
"I think for the directory to work for me, it's contingent on getting a Web site up [for my business]," Bousquet said. More than half of the businesses listed on the directory have a Web site link.
Though the directory is geared mainly toward gift shop retailers, Korths noted many of the wholesalers also sell directly to the general public. In addition, the ANCA craft Web site includes an interactive map with over 280 craft retailers throughout Northern New York.
Both Bousquet and Korths agree the demand for local, hand-made goods is rising amidst a changing economy.
"That's the greatest advantage; that the people want to buy locally and buy quality items," said Bousque. "Hopefully it's a trend that will continue."
Korths said increasing shipping costs for Chinese goods have allowed locally-made crafts to compete better in wholesale markets. Also, a growing movement to buy local fruits and vegetables has translated to other regionally-made products.
"Farmers markets have become the latest place for craft people to bring their products," said Korths, "because they get to sell to people who are already committed to buying regionally."
This year's Buyer Days event is being held Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9 at the Saratoga Springs City Center. Roughly 100 exhibitors attend each year. Korths hopes the new on-line directory will give wholesalers even more incentive to participate.
"It's just an additional element of the show that can stand on its own and give business to everyone," she said.