The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. invites local makers, artisans and entrepreneurs for the “Close to Home” Online Sourcing Fair, Feb 7-March 24, 2017

CALLING ALL LOCAL MAKERS, ARTISANS AND ENTREPRENEURS TO APPLY ONLINE FOR CONSIDERATION

MILWAUKEE, 2017-Feb-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: BONT), which operates Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers stores, plans to expand its “Close to Home” initiative by adding in-store shops to at least 100 stores this year after a successful launch in 45 stores in fall 2016. As part of the expansion, the retailer also announced the launch of the new “Close to Home” Online Sourcing Fair that invites local artists and designers, makers, artisans, and entrepreneurs with established businesses and galleries interested in having their products sold in “Close to Home” shops to apply online.

Product submissions for the first “Close to Home” Online Sourcing Fair are being accepted February 7 through March 24, 2017 at closetohome.bonton.com. Interested applicants must reside in one of Bon-Ton’s 25 states to apply for this exclusive opportunity. The company hopes the “Close to Home” Online Sourcing Fair will attract a large number of new and talented artisans and entrepreneurs eager to grow their small businesses and reach new audiences.

Open year round in-store and online, the “Close to Home” shops feature locally-sourced and themed products and were a hit during the 2016 fall and holiday shopping season. From September through December, “Close to Home” shop sales more than doubled projections and the company expects continued growth in 2017.

“Our regional merchandising teams carefully curated these shops to deliver customers a hometown shopping experience that reflects the tastes and buying preferences of our local communities,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and CEO of The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. “The ‘Close to Home’ shops have been a great opportunity for us to showcase local artisans and entrepreneurs and demonstrate our commitment to supporting the communities we serve.”

More than 100 small businesses from 16 cities across eight states were featured in the initial launch of the “Close to Home” shops. For many, the opportunity to sell products in a major department store provided significant growth for their business.

“I doubled my yearly revenue in 2016 and had more sales in December than the entire previous 11 months combined,” said Carma Wood, owner of Kiyi Kiyi Cosmetics in Willmar, Minnesota. “Being featured in a ‘Close to Home’ shop has allowed me to reach a wider audience of customers.”

“With our products in the ‘Close to Home’ shop, we have seen not only an increase in sales, but an increase in overall brand awareness,” commented Clint McMahon, owner of MPLS STP Clothing.  “We are very grateful to be included because our business is all about helping people celebrate home and show their hometown pride.”

“We started out selling primarily at craft fairs, farmers markets and a few boutiques, and then Bon-Ton called,” said Kelley Grace Quakkelaar of Wisconsin’s Gracie Designs, which produces hand-crafted wristlets and trucker hats for the ‘Close to Home’ shop. “It’s been a significant ramping up of our business.”

While each “Close to Home” shop is unique to its community, most shops include locally-themed apparel; glassware, pillows, blankets and home décor; handbags, scarves and other accessories; natural candles, bath and body products; and other unique giftable items. Many products are hand-crafted or made with locally-sourced materials.

Through the “Close to Home” Online Sourcing Fair, Bon-Ton plans to expand product offerings to include a broader selection of custom-designed and produced clothing and one-of-a-kind creations such as artwork, paintings, jewelry, décor and art objects crafted by local artists.

Bon-Ton aims to have “Close to Home” shops in at least 150 stores by mid-2017, representing more than half of the company’s stores. As the program expands and rotates featured makers, new items will be added frequently and seasonally. As such, the “Close to Home” shops will always have fresh and unique product assortments. Bon-Ton will hold future online sourcing fairs as part of an ongoing effort to develop more relationships with local makers and curate a broader selection of local product offerings.

About The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.
The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., with corporate headquarters in York, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, operates 263 stores, which includes 9 furniture galleries and four clearance centers, in 25 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates. The stores offer a broad assortment of national and private brand fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics and home furnishings. The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. is an active and positive participant in the communities it serves. For store locations and information, visit bonton.com. Join the conversation and be inspired by following Bon-Ton on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog, #LoveStyle.

SOURCE: The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.

Amazon to launch new store featuring genuinely handmade items crafted and sold directly from artisans

  • Handmade at Amazon items are factory-free, handcrafted
  • Shop for handmade items from more than 60 countries around the world
  • Artisans are adding thousands of new items daily

SEATTLE, 2015-10-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced today the launch of Handmade at Amazon (www.amazon.com/handmade), a new store featuring genuinely handmade items crafted and sold directly from artisans. With Handmade atAmazon, customers can discover artisans from around the world, and shop local from artisans based in their community with the familiarAmazon experience they know and trust. Handmade at Amazon was designed to provide customers and artisans a tailored store specifically for handcrafted items. All products available on Handmade at Amazon are factory-free and must be made by hand. Handmade at Amazonfeatures a variety of product categories including Jewelry, Home Décor, Artwork, Stationery and Party Supplies, Kitchen and Dining, and Furniture.

“We have designed a custom shopping experience for customers looking for handmade items by bringing together many of the best artisans in the world, and they’re adding thousands of items daily,” said Peter Faricy, VP for Amazon Marketplace. “Knowing an item has a unique story behind it creates a personal experience that customers have told us makes owning handmade items special. Handmade at Amazonoffers customers more than 80,000 quality handcrafted items from around the world, and over 30 percent can be personalized by artisans to delight customers.”

Handmade at Amazon offers customers:

  • Genuinely Handmade: We only approve artisans whose products are handcrafted. We are factory-free. Customers will enjoy on-trend jewelry like modern earrings, interlocking rings necklaces and tassel statement earrings.
  • Explore the World: Shop by country to find products from artisans in more than 60 countries. International items include walnut cufflinks from Australia and handcrafted wooden lamps from Italy.
  • Discover the Artisan: Every artisan has a profile that describes how their products are made. Shop locally by finding artisans in all 50 states. Customers can experience music-themed artwork from a New York artisan that’s been playing music and doing art for over 25 years, to adorably cute heirloom quilt, bib and burp cloth baby collections from a Wisconsin artisan initially inspired to make handmade heirloom treasures that would forever remind her of the first precious months with her children.
  • Shopping Made Easy: What you love about Amazon, now for Handmade. We’re bringing the friendly experience, convenience and value you love and trust about Amazon to the world of handmade items. To start, more than 600 handmade items are Prime eligible with more being added each day.

Every Handmade product page contains a location icon identifying where the artisan is based, along with a link to the artisan’s profile. To find the Handmade at Amazon store from the Amazon.com homepage, customers can click on the “Handmade” link in the “Shop by Department” navigation or type in terms including “handmade,” “handmade home décor” or “handmade jewelry” into the search bar.

Handmade at Amazon features a growing collective of artisans. Here’s what artisans are saying:

“Handmade at Amazon will change the customer shopping experience because Amazon has made the artisan profile personal, and customers like personal. Feeling like they know who made the item, the process behind how each piece is made, and how much time and effort went into every item will bring customers back to shop for even more Handmade items!” – Carlee, AmazziRoots

“Amazon will know how to do handmade right.” – Chuck, Down to the Wire Designs

“I think that Handmade at Amazon is a really great platform to put our products in front of a big audience, a big diverse audience.” – Eve and Kristen, Bright Beam Goods

To explore products and view highlighted artisan videos on Handmade at Amazon, click here.

About Amazon
Amazon.com opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.

Source: Amazon.com, Inc.

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