Guest Post - Eileen DeChaves The Artsians Exchange
This is a guest post; I had asked Eileen DeChaves from The Artisans Exchange if she would like to participate in my guest blog series, I have not received any compensation for this post, nor did I pay for this post. I was introduced to Eileen by Rachel Polizzotti, one of my previous guest post authors.
The Artisans Exchange was opened in April 2018 by three Chelmsford moms with big dreams and empty pockets! This company is truly the culmination of hard work, sweat, MANY tears, and community. Community?? Yes! We pride ourselves on the fact that we already have become one of the go-to spots in the Chelmsford community for several things. Let me start at the beginning. Our mission statement says that we are a new concept focusing on the convergence of local artisans and the retail community. Our goal is to bring together local artisans, local history, and the greater community of Chelmsford and surrounding areas in a cozy and inviting space. The Artisans Exchange features creative retail, opportunities to learn skills from our artisans, open workspace and community building events. The focus is on creating a space that is beneficial to both local patrons and local craftspeople in a setting that is an open and welcoming to the community at large.
There it is, several times, community. The Artisans Exchange offers handmade crafts, food, books, and more from local artisans. And when I say local, I mean it! We sell the work of just over 80 artisans from within 25 miles of our shop. These artisans are part of our community. We offer classes to families, children, teens, women and men of all ages and backgrounds. Onsite and at our local library or now, via Zoom. These patrons are our community. The Artisans Exchange has also been a catalyst for several Town run events. It started as an aside that we would offer small projects during Town run Fourth of July or Tree Lighting Ceremonies to “Hey, can you guys head up a Holiday Gift Stroll??” And “Wouldn’t an Art Festival be fun?” So, we did it. We did it ALL. For our COMMUNITY. We successfully ran a 2 day Art on the Brook festival with over 35 handmade art and craft vendors, food, music, and performers. We had over 2000 people in attendance for a first time event. We ran a Small Business Saturday Holiday Gift Stroll with Victorian Carolers, giveaways from the Town and Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce and involved several of our neighboring shops in the local downtown. We did all of this for the love of our community.
Since COVID-19 has changed how our lives and our shop has functioned and ultimately will function in the future, we have seen many changes. First, one of our partners has left unexpectedly. Not being able to open our doors for our community to shop or take classes so our income has decreased about 95%. There will be no Fourth of July festivities, no Art on the Brook Festival, and as for the Holiday season, how do we even start planning for what that will look like for our customers and community? It has been extremely daunting. Enough to give up truly. But, we choose to move on. We choose to fight back our tears and pull up our leggings, and fight for our dream. For our community. For ourselves. For our dream. Yes, things look much different. We will continue to try to sell online, we will continue to do classes via Zoom, we will continue to stay in front of our community and gain more followers on our social media pages just by being present and not giving up.
When we are able to re-open in the fashion that feels safe to us, we will be better, stronger, and we hope our community will continue to support us as they have throughout this unprecedented time.
The Artisans Exchange is located in historic downtown Chelmsford Center at 24 Central Square. If you have not seen our antique home, it is a MUST see!!
You can learn more about The Artisans Exchange online and on social media
As the stay at home restrictions are lifted, please keep Artisans Exchange in mind for your special occasions gift needs.
This is the last guest post in my series featuring other local small businesses, I hope you enjoyed it and keep all these and all local businesses in mind as life inches back to something that looks a bit more normal. It is true that we may never go back to exactly what we had before, and that is ok, we as humans are great at adapting and we will bounce back and in some ways we will be stronger. And as always please feel free to leave comments on my Facebook page.
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