The Craft Shack Is Where It’s At

By James Loewenstein
The Daily Review, Towanda, Pa.


Two women who worked together in the local banking industry for almost four decades have embarked on a new venture.

Lou Ann McGuire, who retired last summer as the branch manager at the M&T Bank in North Towanda, and Lisa Brown, who also retired from her job at the M&T Bank, now run a store in Asylum Township called the Craft Shack, where they sell supplies for making crafts out of paper, such as gift cards and scrapbooks.

They and other instructors also teach classes in the store on making gift cards, scrapbooks, and other paper-based crafts.

“It’s fun,” said Brown, who has converted four rooms on the first floor of her two-story, 1800s-era house into the Craft Shack. “It’s a hobby turned into a hobby shared with others. It’s a business, but we enjoy it so much that it doesn’t seem like a business.”

Brown said she and McGuire will show customers how to make greeting cards that are much more than just folding a piece of paper and writing something on the inside.

Birthday cards and other types of greeting cards can be decorated, for example, with artificial flowers and ribbons, they can be made so that something will “pop out” when you open them up, and they can have fancy lettering generated on a computer.

“It’s more personal when you make it yourself, and you have a good time when you are doing it,” Brown said.

The store sells all types of paper, adhesives, decorative items, kits, and other supplies for making crafts out of paper, she said.

In a kind of trompe l’oeil, the store even sells kits and supplies that allow you to make what looks like authentic jewelry out of pieces of decorated paper, a piece of acrylic, and a tiny metal tray.

While you can buy supplies for paper craft making in large stores such as A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann Fabric and Michaels, those stores sell supplies for a lot of different kinds of craft making, Brown said.

By contrast, the Craft Shack specializes in paper crafts, so it carries a lot of supplies in that area that larger craft stores don’t have, McGuire said.

And the people who work at the Craft Shack will show you how to use the supplies the store sells, which salespeople at the larger stores may not be able to do, she said.

The classes in craft making are enjoyable to take, Brown said.

“It’s so much fun to get together with people to learn how to make a craft,” she said.

And making greeting cards and scrapbooks and paper-based “jewelry” is much easier than you would think, she said.

“Anybody can do this stuff,” she said. “It’s just a matter of coming in and we’ll show you how. We’ve never had a person who not able to do anything we taught.”

And people who think they are not creative are successful at it, too, she said.

Classes, which usually last two to three hours, cost $5 to $15, with all supplies included, McGuire said. And you leave the class with one or more completed items, Brown said.

At this time, classes are offered on Saturday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

All items sold in the store are 10 percent less than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, Brown said.

The Craft Shack, which is located at 4964 French Asylum Road, opened on Oct. 4.

The Craft Shack is open whenever Brown is home, which is “most of the time,” McGuire said.

However, before making the trip to the Craft Shack, you should call Brown at either (570) 506-2646 or (570) 265-9424 to make sure she is at home, as she will occasionally need to run errands, according to a flyer from the Craft Shack.

To find out what classes are coming up at the Craft Shack, visit the Craft Shack’s Facebook page or ask to be put on an email list for the upcoming classes.

“Like us” on Facebook “and see what’s coming up,” Brown said.

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