The beautiful town of Northampton in Western Massachusetts is known for being an academic and cultural hub. It also has many thriving independent businesses. Our retailer Beryl has been in business there for four decades!
In 2020, after 8 years of owning the business, owner Maya MacLachlan rebranded to its current incarnation to better reflect her style and love of jewelry. Beryl has carried my collection since 2018, and as we close in on 5 years of business together, it seemed fitting to chat about what makes their store such a local gem.
Tell us about the History of Beryl
My shop has a lengthy history! I worked for the previous owner of the store for twelve years as the manager before I purchased the business in 2012. In February of 2020, I rebranded and changed the store name to Beryl to make it my own. And no, Beryl is not my name! I wanted a more jewelry-oriented name and that's how Beryl came into being.
What compelled you to open your store?
I always thought I would love to own my own store someday (like when I used to play “store” when I was younger, but with more seriousness!). When the opportunity came up to purchase the business that I loved and worked at for twelve years, I took the chance. And I'm so glad I did!
Describe the customer who frequents your shop. What are they on the hunt for?
What's great about having worked at the same business for 20+ years is that I’ve known many of my customers for years! It's fun catching up while helping them find just the right item. My customers are lovers of handmade jewelry + goods and are always on the lookout for unusual, yet wearable designs. They’re also huge supporters of small businesses. On any given day, I’ll have a customer looking for the perfect engagement ring, while another is treating themselves to a fabulous pair of earrings, and still another requesting a custom design.
What requests or trends are you sensing right now?
I definitely see more interest in colored stone jewelry these days, as I've seen consistent sales of Corey's Theia necklaces and Cleo rings. I'm also seeing a strong pull towards jewelry with meaning, as well as celestial designs.
How many designers do you carry? Do you sell products besides jewelry?
I probably represent 100+ designers at my shop. I sell everything from jewelry, ceramics, glass, and home goods such as candles and tea towels, so it's a fun shopping experience!
What is interesting about your neighborhood or location?
Northampton is a small city, but it’s a community full of appreciation for art and culture. There are five colleges in the area, so that in itself keeps the city interesting and vibrant. I'm on Main St right in the heart of downtown with its infamous red brick that makes up part of the sidewalk. In Downtown Northampton, you can easily walk from one end to the other with many great restaurants, galleries, and shops along the way.
Do you have a favorite place for a meal or coffee nearby?
Northampton is full of wonderful places to grab coffee and dine! I love Familiars, which is a cafe around the corner from my shop. My go to drink is their matcha or earl grey latte. There are so many great restaurants including my neighbor, Amanouz, a fabulous Moroccan place. I’m looking forward to warmer weather, so I can enjoy outdoor dining!
Is your store a part of any local organizations or charities?
It’s meaningful for me to be an integral part of Downtown, so I’m associated with the Northampton Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Northampton Association. I also make contributions to UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center, Safe Passage, and the public schools to name a few.
If we’re in the neighborhood, what’s not to miss?
So much to do in Northampton and the surrounding areas! Smith College is right in town, so it’s always great to visit their art museum and the botanic garden. The array of small shops, galleries, and restaurants are wonderful too.