Many congratulations to all of the women profiled in last Saturday’s (July 19) Minneapolis Star Tribune as the “bag ladies” for their wonderful handbag designs! A very special “YIPPEE!” goes to Laura Nelli, who worked at Max’s between 2006-2007, and Tracy Dyer, one of Max’s favorite customers (Tracy…..LOVE the ring!). It was a lot of fun to open the paper on a sleepy-eyed Saturday morning and utter “wow…I know them!” Well done ladies!
So, do you think there’s a such thing as too much chocolate for one person? No, I don’t really think so either, but there was a time in the last couple of weeks when I began to ask myself that question. I was in New York at the Fancy Food Show searching out some new chocolates to bring into the store as well as getting a glimpse…and a taste….of some new products from some of our current chocolatiers. One of my goals was to find some more single-origin chocolates that were manufactured in the same country that the beans come from. Well, after having eaten countless samples of different types of chocolates….bars, truffles, toffees, caramels, you name it….I’m happy to report that I’ve found some wonderful new products. We now have some bars made of chocolate that is grown, crafted and packaged in Madagascar, as well some new chocolates from Equador…again grown, crafted and packaged there….which include some chocolate covered berries and banana pieces. We also have some delicious new chocolates from Sao Tome and Principe Africa…the beans are grown and the chocolate bars are produced there by the farmer and his two sons. And, finally, at least for now, we have some chocolate discs that are made in a very traditional Mexican style that uses stone mills to grind the beans into a coarse texture. So….too much chocolate? Never!
It’s with a great deal of both pride and humility, that I want to let you know of Max’s nomination for a NICHE award as a top retailer for 2008! The NICHE Top Retailer Awards, which are sponsored by NICHE magazine (a trade publication for retailers of fine American Craft), recognizes the nation’s best craft retailers, arts nonprofits, museums and guilds for growing and strengthening the American craft community. The program annually recognizes 24 retailers and gallery owners as Top Retailers and one Retailer of the Year, and gives awards in 10 other categories. Needless to say, I am thrilled that we were nominated! We will find out in August whether we have been recognized with an award, so stay tuned. As an FYI, in addition to publishing NICHE magazine, The Rosen Group produces the bi-annual Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft, the nation’s largest wholesale American craft tradeshow which is a major source for many of the wonderful artists we represent at Max’s.