Northeast Placement Services celebrates grand re-opening of Shops at Sawmill
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Woodstock - posted Mon., Sep. 23, 2013
The Shops at Sawmill celebrated its expansion and grand re-opening on Sept. 21 for Woodstock’s Shop Hop weekend. The 1,000-square-foot store houses an eclectic collection of artwork by local artists, products from Woodstock businesses and jewelry and other items made by individuals at Northeast Placement Services.
Products available for purchase include Connecticut-grown honey, maple syrup, preserves and hot sauces. There are oil paintings, pastels and pen and ink sketches for sale as well. Handmade candles, local pottery and felted handbags line the shelves. Stained glass creations hang on walls and in windows.
Akanksha Sule-Tretheway is a Thompson artist who rents space at the Shops on a monthly basis. She met store manager Terri Smith at Summer Celebrations, the annual NEPS fundraiser. Now her hand-painted glass is on display in a glass case there.
Rena Masson is a Dayville artist who shows her work at the Shops. She had a table set up in the parking lot with more of her work on display. Her recycled, reclaimed and repurposed artwork includes jewelry, block prints and etchings done on metal plates. “You can go to TJ Maxx and buy a print that 2,000 other people have,” she said, “or you can buy local and support your local community.”
The shop serves not only as a storefront for local businesses and artists, it also helps NEPS clients learn and practice new skills. Participants come over to learn how to use a register and count money. They keep the shop stocked, neat and clean.
“The NEPS sign says it all,” said Smith. “People helping people. I feel the artists and craftsman coming in are helping us, but we are also helping them. A lot of them are small, cottage industry folks who don’t have their own studios. We provide that storefront. I’m trying to get to know as many artists as I can so I can share their story with customers.”