A-Town's Delaware Avenue is home to a handful of gems that are adding to its up-and-comer image. Count fair-trade advocate The Silver Birch Trading Post among them. A hybrid of an art gallery and a boutique, the store's goal is to help support starving artists both around the way and around the world. So if you're a lawyer by day and pillow stuffer/wood ring carver/hot shot photographer by night, release your artsy output right here.
It isn't "staff" that keeps this creative joint running, it's family. Owner Brooke (her parents and sisters help out) is all smiles and will direct you toward the funkiest birthday gift or give you the background on any of the artists on display. Go on and test her--we did, and she seriously knows her inventory.
Silver Birch has no real theme. As long as it's fair-trade, impressive art, anything goes. A surprise fact--the store is also an eBay community, so if they're short on shelf space or if an artist wants to go national, Brooke and crew will post pieces online.
The Vibe: The room is a square foot shy of tiny, and the intricate displays combine to make you feel like you're in your hippie grandmother's La Jolla, California sitting room. A posted sign on the door proclaims "browsers welcome!" and that's half the fun, but you'll more than likely walk out with something. Maybe Shorties Incense ($.10/stick) or an "I heart Boxed Wine" tee ($20).
Price Point: Affordable. There's a $20 average on gifts and $100 average on art.
Score! Find: A pair of 12-year-old girls, self-titled The Diamond Sisters, make a branch-and-origami mobile of teensy paper cranes and beads. $25 per branch, and the "aw, shucks" factor is just priceless.
The Silver Birch Trading Post
294 Delaware Ave
Albany, NY 12209
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