We talked to: Sticks & Bricks
How long have you been in Northampton?
It will be 11 years in November. In some ways, it feels like time has flown, and yet so much has grown and changed here.
What made you decide to open a business here?
I attended UMASS Amherst, so I already had a connection to the area. We did move to Portland, OR, for a while, but ultimately decided to return to this area as our families are here and we knew that Northampton could offer the quality of life we were looking for. We appreciate that it’s bikeable, that there are green spaces, a sense of community, and we could afford it. My partner, Adam, is an entrepreneur and always knew he wanted to open a business, but I did not start out thinking I would have one. When this space became available, we thought we’d purchase it as a “placeholder”, and ultimately he might open a cafe here. (At the time, The Green Bean had already been open for a year.) In the meantime, this became my creative workspace.
Because of my background in carpentry and renovations, I was drawn to creating and selling items from the space, and welcomed others to bring their creations to sell as well. The business evolved to the point where I brought on an employee, and in time we came up with a creative plan that worked for us both and we ran the store as a team for 6 years.
What do you love most about owning a business in Northampton?
I love that Northampton in general has a unique combination of both urban and rural elements, with an emphasis on bikeability and walkability. Also, it’s a progressive city, and there’s some class diversity and a community-minded consciousness. I truly feel supported and appreciated as a business owner. This is also just an ideal location, as it’s a “destination” on its own, but is also accessible to cities like Boston, NYC, Burlington, and Portland, Maine--so you can visit here, then take a day trip two to three hours away and have another singular experience.
What do you love most about the local community?
I love the feeling of support and respect both residents and business owners have for one another. I also love that others in the community believe in turning old items into something new and unique. I have a very strong reaction to the waste culture we now live in, and I fully believe in taking accessible materials, reimagining them, and turning them into something fantastic--something old does not have to look old!
What positive changes do you see happening in Northampton?
I love the development that is happening on Pleasant Street. For live music venues,The Parlor Room and Pulaski Park are both really gaining some great momentum. And of course, both the Tuesday and Saturday Farmers Markets are always great places to shop and chat while supporting our local businesses, farms, and artists.