By TRACEY Oâ€™NEILL
Special to the Standard
Wickford Village is the new home of Maxwellâ€™s Made in America, a unique store showcasing local artisans and providing shoppers with arts and crafts specialty items made in America.
A showcase store for artisans and crafters from Ocean State Artisans (OSA), the store moved from its original home in East Greenwich to the barn in Wickford Village in June. Just in time for the close of schools and the busy summer season, Maxwellâ€™s Made in America is a compliment to the local retail environment.
â€śWhat better place than Wickford? It is the largest art community in Rhode Island, where people come to find unique gifts, art and products,â€ť said Ron Schmitz, President of Ocean State Artisans.
Owned and operated by Barbara Maxwell Reid, an artisan and member of OSA, the shop provides customers with hand-crafted wares designed, created and proffered for sale by a group of local artisans who rent space from Maxwell. The location in Historic Wickford Village gives the artisans the opportunity to showcase their wares to tourists as well as local shoppers.
Ocean State Artisans is a volunteer organization of artisans, crafters and small business owners supportive of hand-crafted, American-made products. The artisans rent space from the shop and are responsible for their own displays and product.
A member of OSA Reid understands the importance of buy local campaigning.
â€śThe point of Maxâ€™s store is that everything is made in the USA, including the displays and racks,â€ť said Ron Schmitz, President of Ocean State Artisans. â€śThe trend in this country is to buy local and buy made in America products.â€ť
Showcasing at the shop is optional for members of Ocean State Artisans. On the road for shows and festivals on weekends during warm weather months, artists find the ability to showcase in the store a welcome reprieve.
Displaying note cards, prints and paintings at Maxwellâ€™s store, Schmitz was pleased with the move to the Village. â€śShowcasing in the store is optional for OSA members. It gives crafters another option to have their work where people can see it, without having a store,â€ť added Schmitz. â€śMaxâ€™s store is one store of its kind throughout Rhode Island. I can think of at least 6 others like it.â€ť
Ocean State Artisans volunteers have grown to over 100 members. In its 22nd year, the groupâ€™s Craft Festival, held every year at the CCRI Warwick Campus on Thanksgiving weekend will showcase over 100 crafters and artisans from Rhode Island and surrounding states.
Tracey Oâ€™Neill is a reporter experienced in the South County area and is an independent contractor with SRI Newspapers.