Fiddleheads began as an idea in early 2006, with the vision to create an artisan gift shop offering quality-handcrafted items to the local community and tourists alike. The items had to be not only of good quality and possess appeal they had to be created by American craftsman. Within that ideal, the focus was to showcase primarily New England and also New Hampshire artisans. There had to also be a responsibility to offer Fair Trade produced items as well as Canadian since the shop is located approximately 8 miles from the Canadian border. The toughest challenge was to be able to offer all of this at an affordable and reasonable price. The owners Ron and Bette Guerin do extensive research on a continuing basis to find unique offerings, traveling to different venues when the opportunity exists.
The shop opened on May 5th, 2007 and was instantly embraced by the local community. The community’s support has enabled Fiddleheads to continue to showcase affordable works of art and to grow its unique inventory. The shop offers “Artisan Spotlights”, which gives local artisans the opportunity to have a day dedicated to their craft and to meet shoppers on a one to one basis. The shop and its artisans have also used these opportunities to support local charities by raising money through raffles using items donated by the artisans.
Currently, the shop carries over 60 New Hampshire artisans and an additional 75 New England artisans. Produced items by American and Canadian companies continue to grow. An alliance was formed with CRAG (Connecticut River Artisan Group), which has within its membership over 50 artisans from New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Canada. A gallery space has been created to promote this organizations talents, which opened in the Spring of 2010.
Fiddlehead's mission is to promote local, regional and national artisans and to be connected to the community through organizations that focus on the arts. Fiddleheads is a member of the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, New Hampshire Made and the American Made Alliance. Bette serves as VP on the board of the GNWCA (Great North Woods Committee For The Arts) as well as the AANNH (Arts Alliance of Northern N H) Ron serves as a board member of the CDDA and is also involved in the Economic Revitalization sector of that organization .
In October 2011, a second store location was opened at 16 Mill Street in Littleton, NH alongside the beautiful Ammonoosuc River. Although the same mindset exists and the types of items similar, approximately 75% of Littleton's inventory is different from that offered in Colebrook. Bette Guerin states that it was an idea to not only create yet another venue from which her northern clientele could shop from, but to offer each store to have their own unique personality, hence shunning any ideas of being a "cookie cutter" type of growth. Although having such diversity for both shops is a challenge, it gives the owners great satisfaction to offer their customers a wide range of choices and price points to choose from. The Littleton shop also has an on-site gallery promoting local artists and artisans.
Looking to the future for ways to broaden the awareness of the arts in the “North Country” as well as to provide wonderful gifts for the consumer, Fiddleheads happily takes on the challenge!
“We support artistic expression and embrace the ideals of the human spirit”