Maple and Crow artisan and crafter store opens

Mar. 18—PLATTSBURGH — There's a story behind every piece at Maple and Crow.

"There is a personal connection to everything here," Brenna Miller, owner of the new artisan and crafter store at 5131 US Ave in the City of Plattsburgh, said Thursday.

A quick tour of Maple and Crow's offerings confirmed just that.

"On her stuff, she hand does all the lettering. It's not a sticker. It's not a stencil .. which I think is really cool," Miller said, pointing to artist Dina Garvey's vinyl records and wood blocks that have been repurposed into art.

"She told me the first time I met her, and it stuck with me, that the first toothbrush ever made is still on the planet somewhere, because it'll never decompose. So that's kind of like, you know, a bad piece of ecological information, (but) that's how she got inspired to paint on vinyl records."


From repurposed vinyl records to handmade jewelry to paintings to crocheted hats to handblown glass, about 18 artists and crafters, both locally and nationally, have made their mark on the new store already.

Local artist and Saranac art teacher, Andy Miguel, literally made his mark on the store by painting mice, crows and other animals on different areas of the walls as well.

Miller says she is happy with the amount of artists' work she has available so far — given that the store just opened on March 11 — but she will be looking to increase it even further in the coming months.

"I have stuff coming in every week," Miller said.

"I have a quilter coming on board. There's probably 10 people right now that I'm waiting on. and I still have U.S. stuff coming, because I want to keep things really fresh."


Keeping her inventory fresh will be a priority to Miller as her business continues to grow.

"I do have an agreement with all the artists that if an item doesn't sell after 90 days, they'll swap it out. So it keeps inventory fresh and it also will attract repeat buyers. Right now, if you came today versus next week, most of it would be very similar," Miller said.

"But in the upcoming months, I really want things to be rolling over and there's always something new, like having new stuff every day, that would be really cool ... I definitely want to double the amount of stuff in here."

Along with running Maple and Crow solo, Miller, a former addiction counselor, is currently a part-time bartender and waitress at the neighboring restaurant, Latitude 44 Bistro.


She said something keeps bringing her back to this plaza.

Years ago, she explained, the space was a bar, which happened to be the first time she worked as a bartender.

A remodel was then done for when H&R Block temporarily took over the space, which, she said she helped with.

Now, this time around, she's back, with her very own store.

"This plaza of all the places, this is where the universe keeps pushing me, so I'm listening," Miller said.

"I never thought I would do anything like this. This is just a big risk."


Miller, who is also known for making popular Christmas ornaments during the holiday season, said the idea to open up Maple and Crow was not even hers.

"I opened on like day 44, from the idea to the opening day," Miller said.

"It all started with David Allen next door. He owns Latitude 44, and he owns the plaza right here ... I made the ornaments for the restaurant and he was like blown away by them and was like you should really do something in retail."

Miller, though, did not see a sustainable path forward selling just Christmas ornaments, but Allen continued to encourage her.

"He kind of had the idea of bringing artists on board," she said.

That's when she began doing research on local and national artists.

She now has pieces that span from Vermont, Indiana, New Jersey, New York and even worldwide available.

"Everything is either made locally by artists or crafters, or it's made in the U.S. or it's fair trade," she said.

"So there's nothing that's made by forced labor or anything like that."

Miller is aiming to have her store, which is currently in a soft opening phase, open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

She said she'll have a better idea for permanent hours come April.

"I'm working it out as much as I can," Miller said, referencing the schedule and other business aspects.

"So we'll see what happens."


Twitter: CarlySNewton