A New Craft Era: Parallels, Perils, and Possibilities

By Christopher Schooley, Coffee Roaster, Coffee Shrub

I currently live in the middle of America in a fairly small college town, however, I used to live in another town in the middle of America, albeit a much larger one. In that larger town there was a rich history of service and independent businesses that made and sold the fruits of individual and often traditional crafts. If you needed old world pickles; not a problem, there were neighborhoods where you could go to a number of different shops all with their own take.

Even if you needed something as mundane as a hot dog, you could visit a factory right in the center of town with over 100 years of experience making them. This atmosphere bred new craftspeople that would reap the benefits of a marketplace full of consumers who were already quite accustomed to going out of their way for one particular item, and were eager to try the best of whatever the town had to offer.

While this type of craft marketplace existed in many of America’s larger cities for some time, it seems as if in the last decade there was a particular boom. This boom has spread beyond the larger cities and has worked its way into communities where national brand recognition still has plenty of sway, but the independent craft centered businesses are finding curious, receptive, and passionate consumers. The convenience of one stop shopping as well as price sensitivity and looking for the best deal are still the greater norms, but conscientious consumers who are looking for something authentic and want to know not just where what they are putting into their bodies came from, but how whatever it is came to be in the first place are growing in number.

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