Since 2011, Loot Found+Made in the Village of Turners Falls has specialized in old industrial artifacts and locally handmade goods for artists, craftspeople, interior decorators and anyone who loves cool old stuff!
Executive Producer Tony Dunne takes us inside to find out what brought owners Erin MacLean and John McNamara to Avenue A, and how they make everything old new again.
Read the full transcript:
Suzanne LoManto, Turners Falls Resident: I like coming to Loot. It’s a really unique and fresh store and it is kind of showing people that Turners Falls can be a place where you can start a unique business.
John McNamara, Loot Found + Made: We were looking for a place to relocate together to start a life together, Erin and I. So, we came to Turners falls.
Erin MacLean, Loot Found + Made: It was sort of a love at first sight kind of thing. We drove through the town and, for me, I was just struck by the natural beauty of the town.
John McNamara: And we thought this would be a great place to live. And then we sort of caught on to thinking that maybe this would be a cool place to open up a business.
Originally, I was involved in television, but for almost my entire life, ever since I was a kid, I used to pal around with my mom to flea markets and tag sales.
Erin MacLean: My background was in art, so I studied art in school. So, I’m always sort of coming from a design background.
So, that’s sort of what I brought to the table with the store.
John McNamara: We live upstairs above the shop.
Erin MacLean: It took us a long time to renovate. This was a dog grooming business, so we kind of took it all apart, exposed the brick, redid the floors. We did a lot of it ourselves.
John McNamara: So, it’s been a nonstop project since we moved to Turners Falls.
When I go looking for items, what I look for is industrial artifacts that can be repurposed to make into other things. But then I’m also looking for things for artists and creative people.
Suzanne LoManto: Loot has a real energy about it. People who come here also can sense the creativity here.
Erin MacLean: I work with some of the artists, so we have some gifts here as well. We have earrings that are made out of repurposed chaps, so old leather. Earrings that are made from vintage tin.
So, I acquire some of those things, letterpress cards.
John McNamara: And you’ll find a lot of stuff in the shop that is cool. But the question is, what do you do with it? And we rely on our customers to figure out what to do with it.
And we get a lot of feedback and a lot of interesting ideas that come from our customers creating things with the stuff that we find.
Suzanne LoManto: When I come in, my imagination is really sparked. I look at things and I say, “Well, what can I do with that?”
And so I’m always coming up with projects, and it’s a very imaginative place to be. It’s really fun.
Bridget Chaffee: I have a very creative daughter as well, so she just goes to town here and gets all the little trinkets and put something together at home. So, it’s a very creative kind of outlet for us, for our family.
Chris Menegoni, Tuners Falls Resident: It’s just very unique. You know, it’s not like going into a shop where everything is boxed up with the price tag and a bar code.
Erin MacLean: They like knowing that it’s local, that it’s not, you know, from China, that it’s something that was made by an artist down the street or, you know, within New England.
John McNamara: Some of this stuff has a great history and people…people enjoy having these things in their home because it really — they have a connection with it because of our industrial heritage that we have in this town and this country.
Chris Menegoni: The spoon castings, I think are cool. I think this stuff kind of like the byproducts or the things that you don’t see. You see the product because of this.
Suzanne LoManto: The coolest thing I’ve ever found here, I found it was a it was a keychain with my name on it spelled correctly. And it was from the 70s and it was from like the Jersey Shore or something like that, where I’m from.
So, I thought that was really cool.
Effie Paxton, Turners Falls Resident: The coolest thing I’ve ever gotten here was the little red tags. Because sometimes they come in ten packs and I’m five, and five plus five is ten.
John McNamara: One of the neatest things that we found was an old bird target that probably came from Coney Island.
Erin MacLean: The thing I loved were these cement deer, like lawn ornament deer. But those are gone. They’re sold.
That’s sometimes the tough part is selling the things that you love, but you feel like they’re going to a good home. So, you — you let them go.
John McNamara: It means a lot to me to be able to find these things and shine them up a little bit, have other people appreciate them or make something new out of something that was used for completely something else.
Erin MacLean: And people really respond to it. People care about that. They like knowing the story of it and the history of it.
So yeah, you feel like you’re bringing life to something and that’s a good feeling.