News & Views
Photo of Sandwich Village by Joe Janis
What is your name(s) and the name of your business?
Sarah and Mark Cotrupi. The name of our business is “The Porch.”
How/when did you get to Sandwich, NH? Life before Sandwich?
We visited Sandwich regularly for the past 10 years but only became Sandwich property owners two years ago when we bought Polly Jewett’s house.
Before Sandwich Mark and I lived in Nebraska City, Nebraska for about 30 years. It was there that Mark retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency as well as his 28 year career as an Air Force active duty and reserve member. We were both intelligence officers in the Air Force but I separated after seven years and started “Peppercricket Farm,” an antique store and Bed and Breakfast.
This was our first restoration project and was located on our 15 acre farm, utilizing the barn as a shop and workroom. I discovered quickly that selling antiques was way more fun than running a B&B and spent the next 15 years refinishing and selling antiques.
In 2005 we bought and restored a double storefront in Nebraska City and opened a home décor and gift shop called The Keeping Room. Our plan was always to eventually move to New England (Mark has family in Vermont and we learned to love it on our many buying trips for the antique business). Now approaching 50 we decided it was time to move. We sold the business and came to New Hampshire about 10 years ago.
How/why did you start your business?
Mark and I always wanted to restore another old house and looked at dozens of homes in the New England area over the years and never could find “the one” to restore. Too expensive, wrong location, beyond our capabilities etc etc.
Then there was this big old yellow one with the awesome porch. Mark loved it right away and I couldn’t wait to paint it!! So we bought it and got to work. We weren’t sure what kind of business we were going to start but the longer we worked on it the more sure I was that it had to be retail. This house was meant to be shared with others.
Tell us about your business. What do you make, do, or offer?
The Porch features an eclectic blend of antique, vintage and new home décor as well as a women’s clothing line. The building, with all of its natural light, high ceilings and expansive floorspace provides a great backdrop in which to showcase the merchandise. The antique furnishings also blend in nicely with the new items so that customers can better visualize what they may look like in their own home or office.
What is the most fun/satisfying aspect of your job?
The restoration process of the house and working on antique furniture that will have a new home are definitely the most satisfying, but finding inventory with Mark and setting up displays with my sister Chris Milanovich are the most fun. Mark calls it “playing house”!
The one on one conversation we have with our customers is also a fun part of the job. It is truly amazing where folks are from, their background and what their plans are for the pieces they buy from us. We both love the interaction with our growing customer base at The Porch.
What is the hardest?
The days when no one comes in. It happens in all retail but is never easy.
What are your goals and hopes for the future?
To become a shopping destination that brings more people to Sandwich to appreciate the unique beauty of the community. We are looking at expanding the shop into the second floor to complement what we already have in the barn and first floor. The architecture of this house lends itself to display and is something we want to take advantage of.
What else can you tell us about yourself and your life in Sandwich?
Our number one priority in our lives are our two daughters Helen, who is now a freshman at Stonehill College, and Mary Lynn, who is a junior at Moultonborough Academy. Family is a very big part of our lives and something we have learned to cherish.
We truly love the town and the folks who live here and the surrounding communities. Sitting on the front porch of the shop in the summer invites conversation with all who walk or ride by. We hope to be doing it for many years to come.
This Fall Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery is featuring the work of three local artists who are successfully emerging onto the NE art scene. The last exhibit of the season opens on Labor Day Weekend and continues throughout the month of September. Ashley Bullard, Liz Wilson and Valerie Vermeulen are all from the Lakes Region. Each of their paintings reflects their very personal journeys connecting them to the world around them. The exhibit is colorful, contemporary, playful and highly creative.
Ashley Bullard lives and works in Sandwich. Bullard’s abstract landscapes are painted with energy and emphasize color and texture to achieve their mark. The series at the gallery this summer is about Ice Out on Squam Lake. The subtle reflections seen in the snow and ice as it cracks and melts are rendered in delicate hews that transfer via the artist’s brush to canvas. One can feel the cracks in the jagged lines and smell the spring in the pastel palette. Bullard spent many days last spring perched above Squam Lake watching the lake melt. These painting are about new beginnings.
Liz Wilson lives and works in New Hampton. Her work is colorful, active and to a degree playful. It engages the viewer in a conversation, an invitation to look deeper and enjoy. Wilson’s words best describe her work: These paintings are impressions of my experience in the world at a specific moment. When I am able to focus inward, I see in my minds’ eye my sensory experience translated into shape and color. This experience is a part of my reality: it is the author, creator of my painting language. In the process of making the images I simplify and to a degree caricaturize my experiences. The source of the images is specific. However, what I am depicting is the sensation that I took from the moment.”
Valerie Vermeulen lives and works in Holderness. The subtle color and undefined shapes in her abstract landscapes challenge, soothe and engage. Vermeulen talks about her work: “I spend my days studying and recording the constant, subtle, changing elements of nature and life. My work provides a nostalgic sense of place and simplicity, yet is ultimately defined by the infinite. I hope to elevate the viewer, both aesthetically and spiritually. The images are reflective, surreal, and organic in nature. The work also explores the mystery and the solitude of the anonymous human experience. I am driven to capture the changing atmosphere and the endless nuances of a landscape, both physical and psychological, to reveal the truth of a limitless reality. In the image, a dream is reflected, and the esoteric quality of a moment has been remembered.
Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery is located at 69 Maple Street in Center Sandwich. Gallery hours are from 10 to 5 Monday through Saturday and 12 to 5 on Sunday. You will also find work by all our artists on line at patricialaddcaregagallery.com.
Tappan Chairs are a New Hampshire ladder-back design first crafted in Sandwich, NH in the early 1800’s, and they continue to be crafted in Sandwich to this day, over seven generations of makers, using a medley of modern and historic machinery dating as far back as the 1850’s.
Adam Nudd-Homeyer is the current owner, making him the seventh generation in Tappan Chairs’ line of craftsperson-stewards. It is under Adam’s tenure that Tappan Chairs now celebrate their 200th anniversary--a celebration which had an early start in 2018, with Tappan Chairs’ move into the former, historic, and long vacant Sandwich General Store building, turning it into an open workshop, showroom, and history exhibit, and marking the first time in the business’ long history that it has had its own free-standing building.
Adam Nudd-Homeyer writes:
We welcome you to stop by and visit our shop on August 3 (Saturday), from 10 am - 1 pm as we formally celebrate our bicentennial in Sandwich! We'll have some cake and light refreshments to share, and one or more state "dignitaries" will also be present! We will also be making some exciting announcements...
1. Firstly, we'll be unveiling the first of a "200th year only" style of commemorate rocker (of course!)...
2. We'll be revealing the details on our acquisition of TWO national furniture brands--something that we have been working on for nearly a year, and which is finally happening now(!)--and which we expect to bring a half dozen or more skilled jobs to Sandwich over the next year or so...
3. Finally, we will be announcing our transition in the coming months from an LLC to a benefit corporation, with its core purpose being the support of non-profits which benefit Sandwich and its greater community!
So please save the date and stop on by! If you've never been in our new shop at the old Sandwich General Store (Skinner St./Upper Main St. in Center Sandwich), or haven't been in for awhile, we've added a number of new things to see and learn about for both the business as well as the two historic buildings that we now occupy. And of course, we'll be on hand to give the full scoop on all of these exciting developments...
Please join us—we hope to see you there!
(603) 726-6550, www.tappanchairs.com
News & Views
News of what's happening in Sandwich and other items of interest.
Meet Our Members
Please enjoy the Sandwich Business Group's 2021 project called Meet Our Members. Read interviews with fascinating people who live here and run businesses, organizations, and engage in other creative pursuits.
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