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Yankee lauds Loot

Recorder/Paul Franz
Erin MacLean of Loot on Avenue A in Turners Falls with some of the crafty items they sell at the store full of old and made things.

Recorder/Paul Franz Erin MacLean of Loot on Avenue A in Turners Falls with some of the crafty items they sell at the store full of old and made things.

TURNERS FALLS — Top five in New England? Seems fair.

Loot, a local crafter shop at 62 Avenue A, won some national and regional attention this month in the latest edition of Yankee Magazine, which lists the young business as one of the top five shops in the region for crafters.

The 2-year-old shop offers practically everything, depending on when you stop in. The ever-changing stock includes or has included boxes of lead letter type, miniature glass-plate photographs, vintage ties, globes, fake moustaches, hand tools, jewelry and paintings.

Erin MacLean describes the shop she co-owns with partner John McNamara as a candy store for artists. “That’s what sort of the idea is, that you can come in here and there’s all these things that you can collect and assemble into something,” she said.

Much of the jewelry has been recycled from materials as diverse as retaining washers and leather scraps from rodeo chaps, and other items await similar creative recycling.

The shop’s main line is in industrial antiques and the imposing work benches go for hundreds of dollars, but there’s much on the shelves and in the bins priced at a dollar or a few cents. Lock washers, electrical odds and ends, wood scraps and large ball bearings fill a rack of plastic hardware tubs at the back of the shop. There have been boxes of $2 tools, belt buckles, tokens and patches. There are often typesetters trays, paint boxes, military storage crates and slide projectors.

The Yankee Magazine list is a personal top-five of recommended shops from blogging and writing team Debra Immergut and Nicole Blum, on pages 25 and 26, under the “Best of New England” stamp.

MacLean said Immergut and Blum are customers, and was flattered by the comparison to one of her favorite shops, in a slightly different line and also included in their list.

Immergut and Blum are far from the only customers, and MacLean says business is going well in Turners Falls, where the couple are also involved in many of the downtown events and occasionally host their own.

“We are completely, 100 percent invested in this town,” MacLean said. “We aren’t going anywhere.”

Loot is one in a spate of new art, craft, and otherwise unusual shops on Avenue A, including nearby Madison on the Avenue and Funk*Shun, both wrapped around a corner of Avenue A and Third Street. Several examples of re-used Loot materials can be found at Funk*Shun where owner Christa Snyder has stitched neck ties into purses from Loot’s apparently inexhaustible stock of vintage ties.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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