DOVER - A new company in New Hampshire aims to support local businesses by delivering New England made products to customers' doorstep. Touch of New England is a service offering New England-made subscription boxes that showcase the quality craftsmanship found in many of the region's products. While the pandemic reduces direct traffic to small businesses in the northeast, customers can still receive handmade and unique goods through Touch of New England's curated collections.
Owner Angela Mills explained that the pandemic has taken its toll on producers across the country and she wanted a way to highlight the dedicated businesses in her back yard. New England small businesses generally receive income from tourism, but the current pandemic has drastically reduced travel over the last year, thus substantially limiting commercial income.
"We want to help these local shops get their products into customers' hands without requiring that foot traffic," Mills said.
With 15 years of professional experience with nonprofits and small business development, Touch of New England was a natural transition for Mills. She sees it as a way to directly and positively impact the area small businesses and artisans. It allows her a way to help highlight Main Street businesses who may be suffering from lack of more traditional sales.
The company assists by seeking quality items produced in the northeast and assembling them into unique collections. Customers can choose between various themed boxes. Some themes highlight the allure and culture of New England, such as "Winter Wonderland," "Lobstah Bake," and "Magnificent Maple." Other themes celebrate ideas which may not be specific to the region, but contain quality goods made in the region, such as "Pump Up the Jam" and "Bee My Honey."
"We love the culture of New England," said Mills, "and we believe in supporting local businesses."
Mills said the subscription boxes give them a fun way to spotlight the goods produced in the area they call home. Items available include products from staple brands like Stonewall Kitchen in Maine or Yankee Candle in Massachusetts but also from companies with a smaller reach. Shipments have included a New Hampshire made version of the now popular "Bernie mittens," candles handmade in Connecticut, maple syrup made in Vermont, and ceramics made in Rhode Island. Boxes generally include handcrafted home goods, lifestyle items, and snacks, embracing the unique and unexpected.