When Stacey Hammer and Heather Luxenberg put the word out that they were opening a store in Gaithersburg featuring locally handcrafted items, they were overwhelmed by the response from the creative community. They chose jewelry, pottery, candles, soaps and other products from 70 artists and makers (mostly from Maryland, with a few from Virginia and D.C.); 100 more are on a waiting list. “During COVID, people had so much time on their hands; they were crafting and making,” says Luxenberg, who opened Locally Crafted with Hammer in October. The Rockville moms became friends years ago at a local crafts fair after realizing they both had kids at Lakewood Elementary School. Hammer, an attorney, makes jewelry; Luxenberg, a former teacher and assistant principal who most recently worked in college admissions, does scrapbooking and creates greeting cards. Sensing a demand from consumers, they gave up their day jobs to open Locally Crafted. “We think people are tired of Amazon products and giving their money to the big corporations,” Hammer says. “There’s an eagerness, too, for people to just get out and interact…to see, feel, touch the products that they’re buying.” In their 4,000-square-foot storefront at rio, they sell funky, durable and fun-to-play-with jewelry by Charm City Fidgets; handmade one-of-a-kind dolls and crocheted giraffes by V’s Inspirations; photo collages of local landmarks and sporting events by Reinventing-Reality; and lots of whimsical crab-themed items. Space is available in the back of the store for the community to rent for events and DIY workshops.
Locally Crafted, 125 Boardwalk Place (rio), Gaithersburg, 240-428-8797, locallycraftedshop.com