Local Vibe, “a not so general, general store,” opened in June in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. The small and stylish store, located on picturesque Main Street, offers locally made crafts, arts, tye-dye items, jewelry, soaps, candies, and spices to name just a few of the eclectic items available. The owners are Jodi Harmon and Dan Tomlin, the husband and wife duo who also own the adjacent Stafford Cidery. Dan focuses more on the cider making, while Jodi works on the store. She is assisted by her niece, Jessica Gentry.
Jodi explained the decision to open the store by saying, “when this retail space became available, we jumped at the chance to rent it. It shares a small back room with the Cidery and it just seemed like a natural fit for us. We’ve always thought a retail store sounded fun. With the shared space with the Cidery, it makes it a lot easier to share some expenses and resources, so we figured why not go for it! Our goal was to be a little different than just a straight out gift store and we tagged ourselves with the line of a “Not So General, General Store”. We hope to carry things that people need but maybe can’t find elsewhere… some things that are made locally, or made with a little more care about the environment. We are always trying to find new and different items to bring in, and if people want us to carry something, they should just ask. We’ve found a few great products already that are because someone recommended them to us. We want to have what our customers want!”
Local Vibe currently carries items from about 50 vendors and consigners. For example, you can find spices from the Atlantic Spice Company out of Truro, Massachusetts, a place where Jodi spent family vacations. More unusual spices such as Jamaican Jerk, Garam Masala, Chinese 5 Spice mix and a pickling spice blend can be purchased at very reasonable prices.
You can also take your meals up a notch by using one of the flavored vinegars or oils the store carries, such as blood orange, lemon, fig, or curry infused olive oils. Chocolate covered cherries and espresso beans, orange truffles, local maple syrup, honey, and applesauce, dip mixes, and salsa all help to make food items their largest selling category.
Other top selling items are adjustable silver rings, which Jodi describes as “simple but elegant,” and used LP records, which “people love picking through! We love music at Local Vibe, and we hope to bring more music related items such as picks, strings, and maybe even some guitars into the store in the near future.”
Conscious Step Socks are described as “great quality socks, with profits from each pair benefitting a different cause such as saving the whales or reading more books.” The company is committed to lasting social and environmental change, and their production process “supports farms and factories with fair wages, safe facilities, and sustainable materials.”
Check out the store’s fun and practical double layered umbrellas with great designs, which fold IN after use to keep you and your surroundings dry! Animal lovers will find home décor and tasty treats for pampering their pets, including cat treats with fun names like Purrsecco and Pinot Meow. Tye-dye items including shirts, socks, totes, pillow cases, and tapestries are made by a local woman, and all the items are brightly colored and unique.
You can also find beaded bracelets “made with lovely earth tone stones and lava beads that can pick up scents,” says Jodi. “We also have sparkling bottle necklaces that can hold oils, but look amazing regardless of what they hold. The wood and felt hangers can be used in your car, on your purse, or wherever you want a scent pick-me-up.” Of course, they also sell the essential oils you’ll want to “give your day a natural boost.” More great scents can be enjoyed by burning one of the store’s candles, with unusual scents such as blackberry brandy or whiskey and tobacco.
Fun for the kids and grown-ups alike are the reusable glow sticks, which “instead of the shake and crack disposable glow sticks, these bright blue beauties last for hours! Super bright, and when they finally do slow their glowing, you can replace the small batteries and keep plastic out of our landfills!” notes Jodi.
In addition to the many unique and fun items in the store, Local Vibe also sponsors several unusual events. Henna Art provides a temporary stain on the skin in a variety of designs and colors, which will lighten over time and gradually fade away within about two weeks. Henna artist Linda from Hennatize Me will create a unique design just for you. Each design takes about 20 minutes and costs $40.00. The next session will be held on Friday, September 10th between 6:00 and 8:00 pm in the small and comfortable event space at the back of the store. Reservations for yourself or a small group of 4 or 5 are recommended. Another sponsored event is a Tarot card reading by Peg from Find Your Path. Private readings are also held in the event space, and cost $20.00 for a 15-minute session. The next reading will take place on Saturday, September 25th, between 3:00 and 7:00 pm. Again, reservations are recommended.
With all that Local Vibe offers, Jodi says she most enjoys making connections. She explains, “searching out items that are made by people who are passionate about what they are creating really adds something to the product. You feel that love and pride in an item…it’s much different from mass produced goods. And I love listening to a customer discover an item in the store with a similar enthusiasm....excited about their unique find. That customer shopping in our little store supports us and we support the creators...we just love being the bridge that brings people together. I’m happy when my vendors make money. I’m happy when shoppers find that perfect something. I guess I like being the facilitator for those connections!”
Days and hours open will be expanded soon…check Facebook for updates.
Local Vibe is located at 72 Main Street in Stafford Springs, Connecticut
Current store hours are Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.