Photo by Michael Taylor
Kate Gardiner is the co-owner of Fair Street Crafts, which she started with her husband, Jim. The Gardiners originally came from Maine. Due to Jim's job as IT at Berkshire Blanket in Ware, MA, a move was necessary. They chose Springfield as their new home, but soon went back to Maine. Only, Berkshire Blanket did not want Jim to quit. So, the Gardiners once again headed to southern New England.
In October 2013 the couple had discovered the website marketplace Etsy, where they wanted to try their hand at selling handcrafted burlap table runners. Kate was skeptical of the whole online selling venture, but it did take off and proved profitable as she states, "Burlap is very popular." She stuck with it for a couple of years. Kate says, "So naturally the next big step was going to be a storefront." Jim found the building at 55 Poquonock Ave. "We just thought it fit the character of our shop. An older, rustic kind of building." The location seemed to fit their needs as the couple had moved to Somers, CT., in July 2015. They opened the shop in May of 2017. Kate had worked the Etsy shop full-time, until the grand opening of their physical store, Fair Street Crafts.
Getting the shop off the ground has proved challenging, as with any start-up business. Kate says that a lot of the marketing is word of mouth. There isn't too much foot traffic in the area. During the holidays though, it gets busy. "The people who have come in are really great. They've really loved the shop. They've been very welcoming." Along with Kate's crafts, she wanted to showcase other crafter's wares from the Etsy community. All of the items are American made. Competing with the big craft retailers doesn't deter some customers when it comes to Fair Street Crafts though. Kate further goes on to say; "I think it makes them feel good when they're buying something local and unique." She explains about her own feelings when she first started selling her own wares online. "I know that it was pretty exciting for me when I started making stuff and people were buying it. Suddenly, I'm sending stuff to Dubai and Australia. It's cool to think your table runner, that you made with your hands is somewhere in Japan or wherever." Fair Street deals in selling a lot of home decor that can only be described as farmhouse
style or shabby chic.
Kate and Jim found Windsor to be very quaint. It's a small town, but big enough. They take advantage of a few various businesses. Fair Street Crafts is a member of the Chamber of Commerce as well. As cat owners, the Gardiners have used the services of Happy Cat Hotel for their feline family. Kate loves going to Get Baked for their gluten-free fare as she
notably answers, "I have a huge sweet tooth."
On her off time, Kate likes to read, loves to watch birds, learning how to crochet. Three words that describe Kate: Family, creative, cozy.
Photo by Mike Taylor