Yesterday, the first snow of the season put me on the quest for a warm and cozy space. Walking up Glen Street, I couldn't help but smile when I saw the 166 Glen storefront, decked out in welcoming holiday decor with an earthy feel. The second I went in, I was greeted by 166's owner, Tim Reed, whose earnest spirit came through as he explained the various pieces in the space.
166 Glen is a gallery and store featuring high-quality works made by local artists and craftspeople. I was expecting to find the ever-popular but limited "rustic" trend, which is so common just south of the Adirondacks. What I found instead was an aesthetic that's much more old-school and organic with a mix of industrial charm.
The space has everything from inexpensive yet beautiful little pieces to incredible hand-crafted furniture, and everything in-between. A great place for holiday shopping, I saw something for everyone I'm buying for this year - and I should tell you that it's always hard to find something for my father that he couldn't make himself.
I looked through the store, pausing at the items that caught my eye: hand printed flour sack towels, creative doorstops, a gorgeous landscape painting, and so many more pieces. I stopped at a whittled fish, which Tim explained was the product of an elderly craftsman who had never thought to sell them before - and was thrilled to hear it was the first item to sell at 166 Glen. I'm sure that even if Tim hadn't known I was going to write about the store, he still would have taken the time to give me the piece's story.
It's clear that each piece in 166 Glen has a narrative. From artisan crafted fishing flies to carved miniature houses, it's as though every item has lived a life and awaits a new home. I asked Tim how he selects the inventory and he explained that he chooses quality, locally-made, hand-crafted, items from great people. It's a strategy that can't fail.
Even though I only met Tim, I was surprised by how many items were made by his friends and family. There were lovely hand-towels printed by his daughter, vintage photographs of Italy from his brother, and a series of mixed media folk art by a high-school buddy. Tim loves to be the bridge between the artist and the customer, helping to fuel the personal relationships that many large retailers have lost.
A Glens Falls native, Tim didn't expect to own a store until much later in life. Tim is a craftsman and contractor himself, specializing in restoration. Anyone who knows a restoration guy knows that there are always piles of misfit antique pieces, just waiting to be re-purposed. So, Tim always wanted to own this sort of craftsman's gallery, but didn't know it would happen so soon.
Tim and his wife Suzanne own the building that is now home to 166 Glen. After trying to rent it for a while, Tim decided it might be time to venture into opening his dream store. They opened the store on November 22nd with just a month of preparation. Tim remarked that he's still learning, noting he forgot to take the "Open" sign from the front window on Monday. He was grateful to see that the community was forgiving of the gaffe.
Tim and Suzanne were surprised to see how many local and regional artists brought in their work within the short 3-4 weeks he put together the collection. Nevertheless, there's still plenty of space in the storefront for many pieces, so if you know local/regional craftspeople, send this article their way.
166 Glen will soon host a big open house where the community can meet the artists and craftspeople, and really connect the work to it's creator. Later, they'll have nights for individual artists to give demonstrations, talks, and answer questions. This further fosters their efforts to connect each artist with the customer.
In the meantime, you can stop in Tuesdays - Saturdays from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm and Sundays from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm and take in the genuine warmth of the space and the intimate feel each piece will bring you. If you hadn't guessed it, the store is located at 166 Glen Street.
Follow 166 Glen on Facebook or give them a call at 518-588-2559, but trust me, this is the kind of place that garners a good, old-fashioned drop in.