Kristopher Radder — Vermont Country

By Jennifer Brandt, Vermont Country correspondent.


Bennington Museum

Photos provided

After exploring fourteen galleries, a research library, and a 10-acre park with ever-changing sculptures, bring home a piece of the Bennington Museum that will last a lifetime. 

Show off your Jane Stickle quilt print tote bag at the nearest farmers market while donning your one-of-a-kind BELART Eco-Resin Opaque with Gold Leaf Necklace, a FairTrade, socially responsible, Vermont small business that supports and empowers artisan communities.

Have a Grandma Moses fan in your life? After taking in her dazzling collection, the museum store has you covered with everything you could want, from books to prints to puzzles, celebrating the beloved Vermont folk artist. 

Does someone in your life need pampering? Treat them to locally made goat soaps from Elmore Mountain Farms and lotions with scents like fennel and geranium lemongrass, and transport your loved ones to the gentle breeze of a summer day. 

Have a history buff in your life? The Bennington Museum Store has history books about both Bennington and Vermont history and about local residents Robert Frost, Norman Rockwell, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln’s family, just to name a few. 

For the artisan in your life, the store has an extensive, unique, historic folk toy kit collection, including a beginner quilt kit, a clothespin doll kit, a weaving loom, sock monkey, and knit sets. 

For the young or the young at heart, the museum has several. children’s books written by local authors, historical children’s games, old children’s folk songs, and so much more!

Whether you’re a fan of art, history, or simply the joy of discovery, the Bennington Museum Store has something for everyone. From unique jewelry pieces to locally crafted artisan goods and books celebrating Vermont’s treasures, our store is a testament to the heart and soul of this incredible community. Explore our offerings and make every day an opportunity to cherish the wonders of Vermont. 

Jay’s Art Shop & Frame Gallery

Isabel Wissner — Vermont Country file photo

The beating heart of Jay’s Art Shop and Frame Gallery is Jay Zwynenburg. It all began in 1972 when the Manhattan native decided to trade the hustle and bustle of city life for the charm of Bennington, Vermont. The weekly Bennington-to-Manhattan commute had taken its toll, and he was ready for a change. While the Bennington Bookstore wasn’t actively on the market then, the owners saw the perfect steward for their beloved shop in Jay. On May 1, 1972, he became the proud owner of the Bennington Bookstore, a role he held until 1984. Since then, he’s remained integral to Bennington’s business landscape.

There are ten departments inside Jay’s Art Shop & Frame Gallery — including greeting cards, clothing, a beautiful framing studio, and artistic hardware — but the owner’s favorite section of the store is an upstairs office with barred windows that overlooks the main sales area on the first floor. It is an early version of a modern customer service desk.

His space occupies the longtime home of the Alexander Drysdale & Son department store. Jay’s Art Shop & Frame Gallery has a retro retailing feel because it operates from an authentic old retail building.

According to Zwyneburg, “Drysdale’s was like the R.H. Macy of Southern Vermont.”

Jay’s Art Shop and Frame Gallery caters to all. His Vermont gift section does a brisk business with tourists, and his frame and art supplies cater to crafty locals. Framing is not just for artists! Have a piece from a loved one you think is particularly wonderful? Utilize the expertise of Jay’s framing shop and have it framed for them this holiday season.  

Jay’s has everything you need to make this holiday season special, from art supplies to local and whimsical gifts, they’ve got you covered. They also stock a wide range of items, including toys, fashion jewelry, accessories, Vermont-made bowls and plates, garden supplies, authentic handmade decor, calendars, and clothing for the whole family. You’ll find candles, Vermont products, greeting cards, wrapping paper, and more delightful treasures you won’t want to miss.

As always, the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Jay’s is around to answer any and all questions you may have, from framing to gift-giving.

Experience the magic of Jay’s Art Shop & Frame Gallery, where creativity and community come together!

Gamer’s Grotto 

Photo provided by Gamers Grotto

Join the Gamers Grotto Community Today!

For nearly two decades, Keith Carey has been an indispensable figure in the vibrant Bennington gaming community, nurturing a haven for gamers of all ages within a 30-mile tri-state radius. The Gamers Grotto, at 457 Main St, Bennington, VT, whose original focus was Magic The Gathering, has transformed into a beloved hub for card collectors, Dungeons and Dragons aficionados, Magic the Gathering masters as well as beginners, and aspiring Pokémon trainers.

While most of the store is still focused on Magic The Gathering, pre-owned video games come in a close second, followed by all of their other offerings. Any game that is currently not gathering at the space is always welcome. Carey’s goal is to be a welcoming gathering space for gamers of all types. The way Carey sees it,

“Grow our youth and community into the gaming community. Getting people together within is more important than ever, and having a space for that is invaluable.”

With an unwavering commitment to nurturing our local youth, we’re introducing a Youth League and learning sessions for aspiring gamers aged up to 17.

Looking to the future, here is a sampling of The Gamers Grotto’s weekly events. Don’t see your favorite game on here? Give Keith Carey a call and get one going!

  • Friday Magic Drafting
  • Tuesday/Saturday Magic: The Gathering Commander
  • Saturday D&D Beginner’s League

Meet our friendly and knowledgeable Game Master, Taylor Cobb, who will guide you through your gaming journey.

Embracing Whimsy:

We’re not just a gaming store; we’re a vibrant community that cherishes the magic of imagination. Keith recently added a dragon to the store’s decor, delighting locals during the harvest season. It’s a testament to our commitment to providing all your gaming needs and a place for gathering, which has been more important than ever since the pandemic.

A Space to Connect:

Our goal is to foster unity within the community by providing a space for gatherings and gaming. The Gamers Grotto is dedicated to bringing people together; our space is invaluable for this purpose.

Endless Possibilities:

Our store welcomes new gaming opportunities, and our shelves are brimming with games and accessories waiting for you to discover.

Community Love:

But don’t just take our word for it. See what our satisfied customers have to say:

“Great selection, does most tournaments (MTG, Pokemon, etc). The owner is a genuinely great person, and the shop is clean. Best place to go if you are looking for a brick-and-mortar games shop.” – A, Local Guide

“I go in to Gamers Grotto a lot more often now that my kids are a little older into magic. Each time it impresses me a little bit more. They spend endless time with my kids picking out 50¢ and $1 magic cards, with a sense of humor and good-natured attitude that was irresistible.” – David Traver Adolphus.

The Gamers Grotto is more than a store; it’s a dynamic and evolving story of passion, dedication, and community. Be part of something truly special, and join us as we continue this incredible journey.

Discover the Magic of Gamers Grotto – Your Community, Your Destination!

Hawkins House

Photo provided by Hawkins House

Looking for a one-stop shop for hand-selected handmade jewelry, pottery, home decor, clothing, and accessories? Look no further than Hawkins house at 262 North Street, Bennington, VT. 

When founder Ron Spivak first opened the Hawkins House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was President, a new car cost $4,785, a loaf of bread went for 36¢, gas was 65¢ a gallon, and Vermont had more cows than people. Over the past 40 years, a lot has changed, but one important thing has not changed – Hawkins House’s commitment to the community by providing exceptional quality handcrafted jewelry, crafts, unique gifts, and customer service.

If you’ve ever visited Hawkins House, you may have been surprised by its size. “We have over 3,200 square feet of retail space, making it a haven for browsers,” says owner Elizabeth Ganger. “We have the work of hundreds of artisans, including an exceptional selection of handcrafted jewelry in gold and silver.” The Hawkins House crafts market has grown over the years to include two historic buildings with a modern expansion. “The additional space has allowed us to add new lines, including a whole new section for “Zippy Chicks” – an exquisite collection of new and gently used clothing.”

Hawkins House is well known as “the place to shop for jewelry,” and even a quick look around will show you why. There is a wide selection of gold and silver earrings, necklaces, pendants, and bracelets, with or without stones. There is religious jewelry, including crosses and St. Christopher’s medals. There is a large selection of sterling silver chains as well in a variety of styles and lengths – all at very reasonable prices.

In addition to its extensive collection of handcrafted jewelry, Hawkins House has everything from blown glass to pottery, from books and cards to leather-bound journals and planners, from handbags to scarves, woodenware and cutting boards, jewelry boxes, aromatic candles, toys, games, clothing, and much more.

With so much to offer, how do you summarize what Hawkins House is? A jewelry store? A gallery? A gift shop? “We are all that,” explains Elizabeth, “But most importantly, we are a fun place to shop, filled with beautiful things to amuse you, delight the senses, adorn you, and pamper you.”

Elizabeth and her husband Jonah are always looking for ways to improve the shopping experience at Hawkins House. “New products are coming in every week.” Online shopping is becoming more and more popular, not to mention convenient! Hawkins House is pleased to offer one of its most popular jewelry lines for secure online purchases — handcrafted jewelry by Ed Levin. 

Hawkins House is a second-generation family business proud of its 43-year history of providing exceptional quality jewelry, crafts, and gifts. The secret of their success? “Customer service,” says Elizabeth;

“We love our customers, and we do everything possible to reward them for their business.” One way is by offering free gift-wrapping, and another is the Frequent Buyer Program. “Simply sign up and get 3% back on your purchases all year long. It’s our way of saying ‘thanks!'”

Visit Hawkins House and experience the joy of shopping in a place where beauty, art, and warmth come together. They are not just a store; they are your source for handmade treasures and memorable moments.


Zpots – Where Vermont’s Heart Meets Artistry

Brattleboro Select Board member Peter Fish Case and Brattleboro Town Manager John Potter talk with Grayson Van Hendrick, store manager of Z-Pots. – Vermont Country file photo.

Zpots, at 141 Main St, Brattleboro, VT, embodies all that is Vermont, creating not merely pottery but a visionary experience. Their mission is to nurture artistic freedom and share this vision with the world, ensuring that every purchase at Zpots represents more than just a beautiful piece of pottery; it signifies a connection to the Zpots ethos.

This family-run business is rooted in Vermont, where Eric Hendrick and Noelle VanHendrick, along with their three grown sons, have not only homeschooled their children but also cultivated a sense of family within the Zpots crew. The biographies of their artisans on the website reveal a genuine sense of belonging to something greater than a pottery store. Every piece that Zpots lovingly produces exudes whimsy, joy, and, above all, love.

Zpots boasts an extensive collection that includes mugs, serving trays, vases, plates, and an array of other handcrafted products, and you can buy entire sets for your home and matching mugs for the family! In addition to their pottery, they offer whimsically designed handmade greeting cards. To complement these exquisite pieces, they provide a selection of warming teas, perfect for those cozy winter moments with a good book as the snow gently falls outside.

Their own words best capture the essence of Zpots:

“The ‘art’ of our work is not the work itself… the experiences and moments cultivated around the pieces… the genuine feeling that happens when you are with them… give them… and receive them… that is the art…”

Zpots also takes its commitment beyond the store’s walls, demonstrating a strong commitment to a renewable future. They power their electric kilns with solar panels and the Vermont Cow Power program, which sources electricity from neighboring Vermont farms. This dedication reflects a genuine commitment to a sustainable future.

For the notoriously hard-to-shop-for individuals in your life, Zpots offers a solution that ensures you won’t leave empty-handed. Their handcrafted pieces embody nature, holiday spirit, joy, and love, making them the perfect choice for even the most discerning friends and family members.

Discover Zpots, where Vermont’s heart meets artistry and brings warmth, joy, and love to your world.

Step into Excellence with Northeast Mountain Trading Post!

Photo provided by Northeast Mountain Footwear

NorthEast Mountain Footwear, a cherished family-run business, has been at Swanzy, NH, and Springfield, MA’s heart for over two decades. Newly opened in the recently revamped Vermont Marketplace, right off exit One of I-91, we offer the convenience of ample free parking in a safe and well-lit lot.

As a three-generation family business, our dedicated and experienced team is committed to delivering a shopping experience that’s as unique as you are. Unlike the big-box retailers, we’re all about personalized service. With 25 years of serving the Brattleboro community, NorthEast Mountain Footwear takes pride in providing top-notch customer service paired with the finest brands and an extensive selection.

Vermont’s Trusted Source for Footwear and More!

Vermonters understand the value of exceptional footwear, especially during the winter months, and NorthEast Mountain Footwear has you covered, no matter your needs. We specialize in the finest work boots, with a range that accommodates all types and includes extra large sizes and extra width options. Can’t make it to the store? No problem! We’ll bring the boots to you, ensuring your employees have access to the footwear they need so you can keep your business running smoothly.

In addition to our extensive shoe and boot collection, we proudly carry Carhartt work clothing in our Brattleboro store, including big and tall sizes. We’re your one-stop shop for all your workplace requirements. But we’re more than just work boots; we stock a wide selection of top brands, including Chippewa, Red Wing, Keen, Carolina, New Balance, Skechers, and many more, ensuring that every member of your family finds the perfect pair.

Step into NorthEast Mountain Footwear, where excellence meets footwear. Our commitment to quality, personalized service, and an extensive range of products has made us a trusted name in the community for 25 years. Whether you’re looking for rugged work boots, versatile shoes, or big and tall clothing, we’ve got you covered.

Visit our new Brattleboro location today and experience the difference of a true family-run business that cares. Your comfort and satisfaction are our top priorities. Find the perfect fit for your feet and your style at NorthEast Mountain Footwear.

Malisun: A Journey of Love, Craftsmanship, and Sustainability

In 2006, Kim, a native of Thailand, embarked on a journey that would take her from the heart of Southeast Asia to the picturesque shores of Block Island, Rhode Island. She was working on a work & travel program while her future husband was there renovating houses. They met each other aboard the ferry, where he tenderly attended to her as she battled seasickness, offering a comforting glass of ginger ale and a Dramamine.

Little did she know that this journey would not only lead to a loving marriage but also the creation of Malisun, a thriving boutiqueand gift store that blends the cultural richness of Thailand with the artisanal spirit of New England. Today, Malisun is a testament to Kim’s unwavering dedication to quality, community, and environmental responsibility.

After completing her master’s degree, Kim settled in the United States. Despite the physical distance from Thailand, Kim’s heart was always close to her homeland. She began crafting handmade jewelry in 2006, starting as a hobby and hosting jewelry parties in her home. The demand for her creations quickly grew, leading her to offer her jewelry at local markets in Putney and the farmers’ market in Brattleboro. Eventually, her unique designs made their way into some of the biggest craft shows in the Northeast.

The success of her jewelry business prompted Kim to establish her first open studio. Later, she expanded her studio into a boutique, sharing space with another business while still offering her signature jewelry. In 2020, Malisun faced the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a move from their downtown location to the newly renovated Vermont Marketplace. She expanded into a 4000-square-foot space and added a large selection of gifts to the boutique, ensuring the business continued to thrive.

At Malisun, the shopping experience is just as important as the product itself. Everyone who walks through the door feels Kim’s warm presence and dedication to her business. The convenience of free parking and proximity to other unique shops, restaurants, a tailor, and a hair salon make it a one-stop destination for customers.

With over 100 five-star reviews on Google and more than 250 on their own site, it’s evident that Kim’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is unwavering. Customers like Katie S. attest to the exceptional service and products at Malisun:

“Malisun is a fabulous place to find unique styles and gifts. The staff is helpful and kind without being pushy. Give yourself the wonderful experience of shopping at Malisun.”

Malisun stands out with its exceptional clothing line. Designed by Kim in collaboration with long-time partners, every piece is exclusively handmade in Thailand. The seamless blend of craftsmanship and creativity truly sets Malisun apart. This direct connection to Thailand allows Kim to maintain ethical and fair practices and support the people in her homeland. Every design adjustment is made based on over 15 years of customer feedback, making the clothing line a true collaboration between the owner and the community.

In addition to supporting her home country, Kim also carries products from Nepal, India, Peru, Ecuador, the USA, and other countries. Malisun’s multicultural approach distinguishes it as a versatile boutique and gift store that caters to various interests and tastes, from clothing, jewelry, accessories, toys, and unique gifts that can’t be found elsewhere.

One particularly endearing aspect of Malisun is their dedication to sustainability. They proudly source products from ethical and fair trade suppliers. In addition, they contribute to climate action by planting trees and reducing carbon emissions through projects at To date, they’ve planted over 20,000 trees and avoided over 100 tons of carbon emissions. 

Malisun further demonstrates its environmental commitment by carrying products from the Vermont Clothing Company, a family-owned business. They prioritize sustainability by operating as a carbon-neutral company and utilizing green energy from GMP cow power.

In Malisun, you’ll find a treasure trove of products from around the world, not just for Christmas but for holidays of all kinds. And when you shop at Malisun, you’re not just buying products; you’re immersing yourself in a unique and heartwarming shopping experience that goes beyond what any online search can offer. The dedicated employees at Malisun are always willing to help you find the perfect gift, and they even offer gift wrapping, adding a personal touch to every purchase.

Malisun is more than just a boutique; it celebrates culture, craftsmanship, and community. It’s a testament to the love that Kim has poured into it over the years and a reflection of her dedication to making the world a better place through ethical sourcing and environmental responsibility. When you step into Malisun, you’re not just shopping; you’re becoming a part of a larger, heartwarming narrative—one that blends the richness of Thailand with the spirit of New England, creating a truly exceptional shopping experience.

Jennifer Brandt is a born and raised Vermonter and a recent Brooklyn transplant. She has worked as a freelance writer and event coordinator for the past decade focusing on food and Intersection with social justice issues. She has combined her passion for food and sustainable food systems with her Indigenous heritage by creating a series with MOFAD celebrating North American Indigenous folks in the food world. When not touring cities and the back roads of the Vermont countryside in search of the endless array of food and culture, you can find her taking Instagram photos of her rescue pup Bagel.

Vermont Country magazine

Vermont Country has a hyperlocal focus on the Green Mountain lifestyle, its personalities, events, attractions and culture. The magazine appears six times a year, designed to complement the state and four-season living. VtCo magazine is a Southern Vermont publication of Vermont News & Media.

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