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December 31, 2012

New gift shop to support ARC

PLATTSBURGH — Made By Me is more than a gift shop: It’s a place where people can purchase locally created crafts while supporting a local non-profit organization.

The shop, which appears to be more like a nicely decorated family home than a retail outlet when visitors first enter, is owned and operated by the Advocacy and Resource Center of Clinton County.

“We bought this house (located on Tom Miller Road a half mile beyond Smithfield Blvd.) a year ago and were going to open it as a home for people with disabilities, but there just wasn’t funding for that,” said ARC Executive Director Theresa Garrow.

“The idea of a craft shop just developed from that point, and it has gone really well,” she said of the store’s success since opening Thanksgiving week.

The concept for an ARC gift shop was actually born a few years ago through artwork created by students of local art teacher Sharon Deitering, who passed away earlier this year.

Those gift cards represent just a small selection of the kinds of crafts available at Made By Me.

“I knew we had some staff members who were talented and could provide some quality items (for a gift shop), so we brought the idea to the board, and they gave us the OK to go ahead with the idea,” she said.

She contacted staff members and ARC clients to start collecting merchandise that could be included in the store’s inventory.

Then, during the annual ARC art show held in October, she asked several area crafters if they were willing to include some of their work in the soon-to-open store. The response was overwhelming, she said.

“The whole idea is to have a collection of handmade, local artwork. We didn’t want to label items (created by) disabled and non-disabled (artists) but wanted to display them all in one collection.”

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