When it comes to shopping, many people like to support small, local businesses over the billion-dollar multinational corporations. The Lakes Region has plenty of small businesses to support. We got to check out three of them last week.
Black Cove Beverages
A hard business to fit into any of our three categories, Black Cove Beverages is essentially a one-man operation that produces one product: Morecello. Morecello is a blackberry cello – a liqueur similar to limoncello only with blackberries instead of lemons. Owner Frank Marino makes 300-gallon batches of it at a time, and bottles, boxes and distributes it himself, sometimes with a little help but often all on his own.
“This was my grandfather’s thing,” Marino said. “He was from Sicily.”
Marino learned his grandfather’s secret recipe and used to make the drink for family members and friends as a gift around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyone always loved it so much that he was encouraged to make a business out of it, so he did.
While you can’t walk into his place and order a glass, or even buy a bottle, you can get it at just about every liquor store in the state, when they can keep it in stock. Because it has 25 percent alcohol by volume, it’s stronger than wine and can’t be sold in grocery or convenience stores.
As far as drinking it, there are a lot of ways you can go about it. It’s meant to be served ice cold, either over ice or even partially frozen – you can put it in the freezer, but it won’t freeze unless you get it very cold. As Marino recommended, I tried it as a topping on a bowl of ice cream and it was perfect with cookies and cream.
The Studio / New Leaf
In downtown Laconia, two neighboring businesses are perfect complements to each other – The Studio and New Leaf.
The Studio is a gift shop that carries a little bit of everything, from pinwheels and rubber eggs to sweaters and jewelry. The philosophy of business partners Melissa McCarthy and Jayson Twombly is “Happy Up,” with the goal of stocking only items that will make people happy. “If it doesn’t bring us joy, we don’t stock it,” McCarthy said.
Next door, New Leaf has a similar eclectic vibe but with its own unique feel. New Leaf focuses mainly on home décor items, including many handmade pieces created by local crafters – some as young as 9 years old.
The shop also hosts workshops where people can come in and learn about the mud paints and milk paints sold there. These paints help give items that old, worn look that is so popular right now. There are workshops for certain items, such as little crates for Mason jars, and ones where you can bring in any piece you have and work on it.
The Studio and New Leaf don’t sell any of the same products, but they each complement each other nicely. They are both small, locally owned and operated shops that sell a variety of very different items, and the owners are friendly, not competitive with each other. You’ll even find them shopping at each other’s stores from time to time.
Whether you’re looking for a pair of socks with dirty jokes on them, a vintage-looking suitcase, a picture of a tree scraped into a metal plate or a hand-painted sign for your lake house, you’ll find whatever you’re looking for at either of these two stores.
New Leaf is at 600 Main St. in Laconia and The Studio is at 598 Main St. Look for them on Facebook.