UPPER POTTSGROVE PA – In addition to its trees, there’s an entrepreneurial spirit growing at Althouse Arboretum on Gilbertsville Road.
Green Allies, the non-profit that partnered with the township to launch the popular 17-acre park, its trail system, nature preserve, and student activity programs, recently opened an “Eco-Store” to sell decorative and useful items created by craftspersons from natural and recycled materials. Its goods include handmade and all-natural soaps, candles, hummingbird feeders, and many other items (at top) produced locally and across the world, according to Executive Director Ken Hamilton.
Yes, Hamilton acknowledged, the store has only a small footprint inside the farmhouse on its first floor, but Green Allies believes it can have a big impact.
It promotes Fair Trade standards that allow workers who produce goods sold in the Eco-Store to receive better prices and wages. It also encourages sustainable production; the products it sells are “made out of everything from oil drums to candy wrappers!,” he reported.
Including items from local craftspeople helps boost their own businesses. There’s an educational aspect, too. The arboretum’s strongest supporters, many of them students from Pottsgrove High School, are learning about retailing from the Eco-Store. “The student leadership team at the Arboretum selected the products and created the displays,” Hamilton noted.
That’s the reason Hamilton believes local shoppers can find “unique and eco-friendly gifts for everyone” at the Eco-Store during the holidays. Sale proceeds support arboretum efforts to provide low-cost and free outdoor programming for the community.
The store is located in the farmhouse and business office at the arboretum, 1794 Gilbertsville Rd., but it won’t be open for much longer. It is available to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 3-5 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon only until Dec. 23 (2017; Saturday). Then it will close for the winter, and re-open on the first day of spring.
Photos by The Post Publications