SAXTONS RIVER - The Jelly Bean Tree Crafts Cooperative, founded in Saxtons River in 1977, has been a strong supporter of the local arts and crafts community for over three decades. Now, the Cooperative is looking for community support as it enters its 34th consecutive year of operation.
Members and organizers Mary Hepburn and Joan Lester recently told me that the working membership of the Cooperative is down to 9 people, making it very difficult to keep the store open. They are looking to raise that number to 15 or more
"We need some new blood," said Hepburn. "We try to be open six days a week, and last year we weren't able to do that. For years in the past we had enough support to be open everyday from noon to 5."
Having just experienced the most challenging year of its 33 year history, the cooperative is determined to stay alive. With the encouragement of a core of working members, the group met recently to plan for the upcoming season. In order to recover some of the financial losses incurred last year, the group will delay opening for one month, so that it can hold a "Jumble Sale" in the Main Street Arts building on Saturday May 22 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Donations of items of all kinds are being sought for this sale of used goods, and indoor and outdoor spaces for vendors will be available for $20. Items may be dropped off at the shop, located in the Main Street Arts building, on Saturday morning, May 15 and Wednesday, May 19 from 4-6 p.m. or by appointment.
As businesses have come and gone in the small village of Saxtons River, the Jelly Bean Tree has established itself as a reliable source for unique hand crafted items. Displaying the juried work of over 50 local artisans and staffed entirely by volunteers, it has been able to maintain a varied inventory with very competitive prices.
Not only does it provide the community with quality one-of-a-kind items, but since its inception, it has provided several hundred people with a place to display and sell their work. Now it is appealing to the community for a boost to help get through this tough economic time.
The co-op has several new initiatives for the coming year, one of them being a monthly "crafts challenge" with a different theme each month.
The theme for June will be "Gardens" and people are urged to consider entering a piece of work which would be for sale in a special display area.
On June 23, the co-op will offer a workshop on selling through www.etsy.com, covering self-promotion, sales fulfillment, uploading digital photos and creating a successful Etsy site.
New members are always being sought and anyone interested in joining the cooperative should call 463-5129.