By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
Several local farmers, artists and merchants who mostly sell products at farmers markets have banded together to open a shop at the Everett Mall.
The Northwest Gifts store is located near the Macy’s store. It’s the second time the store has opened for the holiday season at the mall. This year, however, one of the main vendors at the shop hopes to see it stay open year round.
“It’s an outlet for local producers,” said Richard Buford, the owner of Aldrich Farms.
Buford estimated that about 20 small local businesses sell items through Northwest Gifts. However, many of the large displays that you’ll see in the shop are items from Buford’s Aldrich Farms in Bellingham.
Aldrich Farms sells fruit jams and syrups, chocolate and fruit sauces and flavored mustard. A 5.5-ounce jar of apple chipotle mustard costs $5 — the same price as a similarly sized jar of apricot pepper jelly or huckleberry preserves.
“Everything is made locally,” Buford said.
Besides online sales, Aldrich Farms and some of the other small producers don’t have a spot to sell their products once the farmers markets close for the season. Buford hopes the Northwest Gifts store will do well enough during the holidays to keep the shop open permanently.
“Most of the small businesses, we’re struggling against the giants,” Buford said.
There are similar Northwest Gifts shops in Bellingham and Burlington.
Beside Aldrich Farms goods, the Northwest Gifts store carries bar soaps, $5 each, from the Snohomish Soap Co. Rainy Days Kitchen sells boxes of biscotti for $6.
Chocolate Necessities, based in Bellingham, sells various chocolates at the Northwest Gifts store in Everett, including $4.50 chocolate figures shaped as cats or dogs. Lynden’s Holmquist Hazelnut Orchard offers bags of hazelnuts, $7 for six ounces.
“Nothing in the store is made from outside of Washington — most of it is made in (the area from) Seattle to the Canadian border,” Buford said.
Several artists also have works for sale at the store in the Everett Mall.