Vendor Spotlight: Aranware

February 18, 2017

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Created in Ireland. Created for everyone.

This is the tag line of Aranware dishware made by Kara Irish Pottery. And it’s so true. I love the versatility of the Aranware collection. Its pieces can be added to any dinnerware collection seamlessly.

As you know my mission here at Cooper’s is to encourage the shop local movement so of course I love the fact that the US Headquarters for the company is right here in Massachusetts — in Methuen. Kara Irish Pottery is also a woman-owned business. Two cheers.

Aranware was created by Ann Mullan-Karakatsanis who grew up in Ireland and first came to the US in the 1990s to participate in a Boston College program aimed at developing Irish entrepreneurship.

According to the company’s website:

The name KARA is derived from the Gaelic word Cara meaning friend and the beginning of Ann’s family name Karakatsanis. Working with her former employer Ulster Ceramics and Carrigaline Pottery in County Cork Ann designed and developed the Aranware Tableware Collection which combined a rich heritage with a unique look. The embossed intricate patterns have changed little over time. Aranware has become a popular Collection with customers across the US and whilst aiming to keep it Irish made Aranware Tableware pieces are today both Crafted in Ireland and made of bisqueware (unglazed pottery that has had its firing) in the heart of the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent.

The cosy cablestitch sweater has long a wardrobe staple of rugged fashion traditionalists. Named for the famous Aran Isle stitch patterns, the serving pieces offer the same sturdy practicality as their predecessor, while trading on the popularity of classic creamware. And just as neutrals are the foundation of every wardrobe, the dishes offer simple styling on their own, plus lots of opportunity for dressing it up by mixing with colourful pieces.

I feel that the Aranware pieces are too beautiful and functional to be kept in a cabinet. I’ve given many pieces as shower gifts; and they are always a hit. They go from oven, to table, to dishwasher and clean up is a breeze. I swear, the finish is like Teflon, nothing sticks. And, they are durable! You don’t have to worry about chips and cracks, Aranware is meant to be used. The serving bowl is not only utilitarian on any dinner table, it also makes a beautiful centerpiece with a few pieces of fruit, a tall candle or florals. The tea cup and saucer set are durable enough for daily use, but also lend an elegant touch to any hutch display. But, I think my favorite piece is the pitcher. I have had it filled with a floral arrangement and sent as birthday or sympathy gift to many an Irish friend.

Adding any piece of Aranware to your kitchen is like having that favorite Irish knit sweater in your closet…you reach for it time and time again.  You know it will look great with any outfit and last for years to come. A true classic. #shoplocal #madeinireland

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chocolatesWe’ve been proud to carry Abdallah Chocolates for a few years here at Cooper’s. Not only because they are incredibly delicious, but because they are made right here in the USA and Abdallah is a fourth generation, family-owned business (being a second generation shopkeeper, I’m a little partial to stories like this). The confectioner was started in 1909 in Minneapolis, MN by Albert Abdallah.

According to Abdallah:

[Albert] understood, as a newcomer to this country, he would have to create a product that was so high in quality, that its success would be guaranteed. The ambitious Lebanese native along with his new Swedish bride, fair and beautiful Helen Trovall, would soon tirelessly supply their growing demand for his fine confections. Again and again, a new recipe would be perfected. Together, the family has fought back through bankruptcy as a result of the great depression, rations during World War II and a devastating and fiery explosion that destroyed their business in 1965. footer_background_imageAlbert’s recipes, perseverance and optimism has inspired a lineage of family candy makers through the evolution of this great country that he had risked everything to be a part of.  Using the same wholesome and pure ingredients, intricate small batch candy-making techniques and even some of the same copper kettles, we honor the courage and passion for excellence of family generations before us. We are proud to offer to you, these classic confections.

Who doesn’t love a good comeback story? Continuing on a family tradition is no easy task most days, but it’s always worth the effort. I’m so proud to help support American businesses like Abdallah.

Today, the company is owned by Karen and Steve Hegedus who proudly carry on the tradition of exemplary quality. Their truffles are unbelievably good. I also appreciate the fact that these chocolates come in beautiful packaging ready for gift giving.

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We just received a shipment of chocolate bears, heart-shaped boxes, truffles, pecan grizzlies and sea salt caramels (oh, my). We only stock Adballah chocolate at Valentine’s Day and it always goes quickly so stop by and grab yours today!

#familybusiness #madeintheusa #delish

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Tom and I became friends 15+ years ago when I was first tipped off about his creative talent as a florist. At the time, he was located just a mile from Cooper’s. He instantly became my florist of choice because he did flowers like nothing I had ever seen before! I think we also connected as we are both artistic and visually driven by all things beautiful.

In 2012, I was surprised and delighted when Tom told me that he was looking to downsize from the house that his business was in, and he asked if I had room for him within Cooper’s. Even though I had no idea where I would put him, I blurted out “yes!”  I knew that the marriage of our two businesses would be a match made in Heaven.

Tom, and his sidekick Barbara Ann, took our 400 square foot stockroom and transformed it into the most incredibly inspiring flower boutique you can imagine. And now, I can’t imagine Cooper’s without Floral Concepts by Tom. He has been such a resource for display ideas and visual merchandising that Cooper’s found a whole new ka-pow in how the store looks and feels.

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Tom is a wealth of knowledge on so many levels that have made him an expert in all things floral and plants. In collaboration with Cooper’s, Tom has held workshops and seminars on mini fairy gardens, terrariums, gardening and more.

Many Cooper’s customers walk into our shop through the flower shop, just because it makes you feel so good! I am constantly asking them what is this? What is that? He has variations on flowers that I’ve never heard of, let alone seen. They build them into masterpieces that they create for every occasion. Whether you need a $10 pick me up for a friend who’s having a hard time, an arrangement to express your condolences or a full-blown, white gown, 400 guests wedding. Trust me, this is the place. Call Tom (413)786-2622, or even better..stop in his shop for a big dose of inspiration.

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Grey is naturally a neutral; however, the color has so many shades it’s a very versatile neutral which can brighten up any room. From light grey to platinum to charcoal this color is anything but blah.

We’ve been having so much fun unpacking all of the new curtain styles here at Cooper’s. There are so many lovely grey hues highlighted in the new styles, it’s got me thinking about how else to incorporate this color into home decor.

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A few tips from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine:

  • Grey rooms can be dynamic and exciting.
  • Combining shades of gray is a subtle way to give any room character.
  • Dress up any room with gray stripes for a fresh look.
  • For a more graphic look, use hues with stronger contrast, such as a medium gray and pure white.
  • Gray is the perfect bridge between black and white.

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  • Break up large expanses of white with gray to create visual interest while maintaining a clean, neutral aesthetic.
  • Different shades of gray can be used to make a chic and sophisticated space.
  • Chameleon-like gray tends to adapt to its environment.
  • Using varying shades of gray helps diffuse the hue’s cool tendencies to create a softer look.
  • Use gray to define your style and put personal collections on display.
  • Use nature as inspiration when working with grays.

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Even if you usually only consider bolder colors when accessorizing your home, give grey another look. Incorporating this neutral into your home adds a classic touch. #ifounditatcoopers

What is Farmhouse Chic?

January 22, 2017

Do you love the country farmhouse look, but maybe not the chickens in the backyard? Love your neighborhood but wouldn’t mind accessorizing your home as if you lived in the country? Well it’s easy to incorporate a farmhouse look into your home. It’s called farmhouse chic and we scouted the shop for some easy ways to incorporate the look into your own home, without betting the barn:

Chicken Wire: There are many ways to accessorize your home using chicken wire and this basket is a great, functional piece. I’ve also seen ideas online using chicken wire in lighting, cabinet fronts, and picture frames.

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Distressed Furniture: This rustic table is a perfect example of how you can work a distressed piece of furniture into your home decor to give it a farmhouse feel. I can just imagine all of the wonderful meals that were eaten on this drop leaf table.

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Statement Signs: If this rooster wall hanging doesn’t scream farmhouse, I don’t know what does! Incorporating antique or statement signs is a great way to create a country look with minimal effort.

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Checked Prints: Our Logan check valances are the perfect farmhouse compliment for any room. You can find similar checked prints in tablecloths, napkins, bedding, and throw pillows.

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Rustic Metal: This six compartment metal bucket is a must have for any farmhouse kitchen. Works great for backyard picnics and on game day too.

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Sunflowers: You can never have enough sunflowers in an open field! Look for ways to use these beautiful blooms in your decorating…even if the real thing is not in season in your countryside.

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Canister Display: Keep the most used kitchen items at the ready with a lidded canister set.

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Cotton Wreath: We just received a shipment of the springy-est cotton wreaths you can imagine. Any natural element is going to be a perfect compliment for farmhouse decor.

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Rustic Wood: Even something as simple as a rustic wood picture frame can add a farmhouse touch to any room.

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As you can see, it’s not difficult to bring the style and comfort of farmhouse chic into your home decorating. Just look for simple, natural elements that embrace a relaxed feel. Farmhouse chic embraces simple lines, imperfections, and the beauty of the outdoors.

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Pantone Color Institute has announced the 2017 color of the year: Greenery. I love the natural, vibrant feel of this color. It makes me think of spring, beautiful garden leaves, and that fresh green color that appears on the lawn after a rain shower.

According to Pantone:

“A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.

Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.”

New beginnings? Personal vitality? Restore? Renew? I’m sold!

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You can expect to see a lot of vibrant greenery in fashion and housewares this year. And of course we’ve got you covered here at Cooper’s. From curtains to pillows, lamps and potted greens, we have a great selection of greenery items throughout the store.

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We will be on the lookout to bring you even more great greenery items for your home this year. But we could use some suggestions for how you would use this color in your life.

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Is this vibrant green something you see yourself wearing in personal fashion? Jewelry? Would you paint a room this color? Use the comments field below to let us know.

 

Round Up Image

Round Up Image

With so many worthwhile local charities in need right now, we knew there had to be a way we could help! The “Round Up” program is Cooper’s way of giving back. Each month we choose a local charity to to receive the proceeds of the Round Up program through which customers are invited to round up their purchase total to the next dollar amount. Kate Gourde, owner of Cooper’s, then matches 50% of the total collected.

Over $6,000 has been raised since the program’s inception in 2014. We are always looking for nominations of worthwhile local charities to be the recipients of the funds raised.

Here’s how it works:
Any non-profit (501c3) charity can apply to be included in our Round Up by emailing the following to coopercrew@aol.com:

1) Name of Charity and Contact Info
2) Confirmation of 501c3 status
3) Brief overview of the charity’s mission

For the months where we have more than one suggestion, we will publish a poll on our Facebook page with the names of suggested charities. Our Facebook followers will vote on which charity will be sponsored in our Round Up the following month.

All month customers are asked at checkout if they’d like to round up to the nearest dollar. Cooper’s then matches each customer’s donation. At the end of the month a check is presented to the charity.

We know there is a great amount of need right now but we also know there is a greater amount of generosity. Spread the word to your favorite charities and trot over to our Facebook page and “Like” us so you can round up some votes!

#shoplocal #givelocal #rounduptogiveback