Best Places for Local Shopping
Ever thought that you should make more of an effort to shop locally? Here’s a short list to get you started on the right track. The following stores are as local as it gets, selling New Hampshire-made products and supporting local artisans, brewers, winemakers and more.
Hannah Grimes Marketplace – During its 25 years, this Keene hub of all things local — from beer and wine to apparel and jewelry — has welcomed more than 1,000 artisans. You can trace their mission to support small, local businesses and the spirit of entrepreneurship back to local historical figure Hannah Grimes. Grimes was born in Keene in 1776, and while she’s likely not a household name outside of the state (or, really, outside of Keene), she was an advocate for small businesses and well-made, locally sourced goods.
Beyond supporting vendors by offering a place to sell products of all types, the nonprofit, women-run Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship educates, supports and aids aspiring business owners. The center provides physical needs — such as coworking space and tools — plus assistance through their incubator, workshops (such as the Radically Rural Summit) and connections to useful resources.
Soon you’ll be able to purchase select items online at hannahgrimesmarketplace.com, but make sure to stop by in person. Not only are there many more delightful things to discover in the store, you can also explore the wonderful fine art gallery as you shop.
NH Made – Regular readers of the magazine, and especially our loyal newt spotters, are likely familiar with NH Made. Not only is New Hampshire Magazine a proud member, but these boosters of all things locally made have long supplied our monthly prize for hunting down all four of our red-spotted friends.
Their recently overhauled website (nhmade.com) is a convenient place to shop and discover members, but don’t miss the new boutique on Deer Street in Portsmouth. It opened at possibly the worst moment — winter 2020 — but is happily still going strong. You can also visit the New Hampshire Stores at the 1-95 northbound and southbound NH Liquor & Wine Outlets in Hampton.
League of NH Craftsmen Fine Craft Galleries – With seven locations — Center Sandwich, Concord, Hooksett, Littleton, Meredith, Nashua and North Conway — there’s ample opportunity to enjoy (and maybe purchase) traditional and contemporary fine crafts made by some of the region’s most talented artisans. Each gallery is different, and they all carry various assortments of décor, jewelry, pottery, fiber arts, glassware, wood furniture, prints and even instruments. If one-stop-shopping is more your style, make plans to attend the 89th Annual Craftsmen’s Fair, August 6-14, at the Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury. Learn more about League members, this year’s fair or shop online at nhcrafts.org.
WREN Local Works Marketplace – The Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN) Local Works Marketplace on Main Street in Bethlehem features the work of more than 90 local member artists. They carry natural bath and beauty products, fine art prints, local books, pottery, spice blends, greeting cards, home décor and much more. Founded almost 30 years ago, the nonprofit organization offers more than just a lovely place to shop — they are dedicated to promoting and innovating rural economic development, and providing assistance and resources to local artists and entrepreneurs in the North Country. In addition to the marketplace, make sure to visit the Gallery at WREN, also located on Main Street. Visit wrenworks.org for more information.
New Hampshire General Stores
From pickles and candy to dry goods and maple syrup, there’s nothing like the old-fashioned concept of buying (pretty much) everything you need at the general store. As a bonus, many include delis, so maybe show up hungry.
The Brick Store – This Bath institution is on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been in business since the early 1790s. There’s rich heritage here, not to mention tasty cheese, ice cream, homemade fudge, a deli, spice rubs, smoked meats and much more. thebrickstore.com
Calef’s Country Store – Calef’s in Barrington has sold a variety of New England products since 1869, but this charming, historic shop may be best known for its cheese — the Snappy cheddar, specifically, which they age to sharp perfection in their cooler. Need some cheese advice or lunch? Visit the deli for both. calefs.com
Zeb’s General Store – While Zeb’s is much newer to the scene, this North Conway favorite embodies the spirit and experience of the classic general store, from the penny candy counter to nostalgic Moxie gear. Plus, you can’t beat the impressive variety of local and New England goods, including their own line of products. If you’re stumped when it comes to gift-giving, they also specialize in custom and pre-made gift baskets. zebs.com
The Old Country Store and Museum – Dating back to the 1700s, this Moultonborough institution has exactly what you’d expect — penny candy, cheese, pickle barrels — plus a huge range of cookware, memorabilia, New Hampshire tchotchkes, toys, hats, plaid shirts, candles … you name it, it’s probably here. nhcountrystore.com
Mont Vernon General Store – Originally opened in 1840, the Mont Vernon General Store briefly closed in 2011 but was quickly revived in 2012. Today, enjoy gourmet sandwiches named for famous Granite Staters, pick up heat-and-eat meals, shop for groceries (including beer and wine) or peruse local products, including honey, dairy, eggs, dip mixes, preserves and more. montvernongeneralstore.com
Harrisville General Store – This just might be the quintessential general store and, happily, we’ll likely be able to visit it for many years to come. Opened in 1838, it’s now owned by the nonprofit Historic Harrisville, which is dedicated to the preservation of the town’s mill buildings. The deli serves breakfast and lunch, plus offers themed take-home dinners each Friday (must be ordered in advance). harrisvillegeneralstore.com