Featuring food and gifts, Maple Run Emporium opens April 5 in Potsdam
Sunday, April 3, 2011 - 5:58 pm

POTSDAM -- Maple Run Emporium, the gourmet grocery and gift emporium specializing in maple, will host a grand opening celebration on April 5 from noon to 2 p.m. at the shop at 49 Market St.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce, maple tastings, and complimentary maple samples.Maple Run Emporium, the gourmet grocery and gift emporium specializing in maple, will host a grand opening celebration on April 5Maple Run Emporium, the gourmet grocery and gift emporium specializing in maple, will host a grand opening celebration on April 5

Owner Mary Hilton of Madrid will host the celebration along with staff members Sue Hewitson and Ryan Meashaw, both of Potsdam.

“I’m very lucky to be working with two people who are so perfect for the shop,” said Hilton. “Sue used to own The Bagelry with her husband Mark, and she also worked for Sunfeather Natural Soap Company for many years. Ryan has a great retail background and he’s also a chef at a local bed and breakfast. We make a great team.”

Guest maple producer providing samples at the Grand Opening is Maggie Finen of Finen Maple Products in Norwood with her husband Jim. Maple Run carries the Finens’ syrup, cream, sugar, and popcorn plus maple fudge made from their syrup by The Candy Kitchen.

The Grand Opening will also provide attendees with the opportunity to try some maple flavorings that may be new to them. “Maple flavor can be smoky, as in maple smoked salmon, or creamy and sweet when used in a cold gelato,” explained Ms. Hilton. “It also adds a rich, nutty flavor to savory seasonings for dips and it balances the hot, spicy grilling sauces. Maple soda and maple seltzer are really refreshing cold beverages.”

Nearly half of Maple Run is devoted to maple wood kitchenware including cutting boards, bowls, boxes, pepper mills, mezzalunas, and wine stoppers. Local artisans made many of the items such as the spectacular rolling pins handcrafted by Gary Pierce of Lisbon. “Some of these pieces are functional art,” noted Ms. Hilton. Additionally, the emporium stocks American-made maple kitchenware created by internationally known makers such as Vic Firth, J.K. Adams, and the Culinary Institute of America.

“We’re also adding wonderful hand-crafted maple furniture made locally from local maple trees,” noted Ms. Hilton. “We’ll have a farmhouse table and stools from Catamount Lodge and Chris Potter of Potter’s Custom Woodworking has designed a maple dry sink.”

Complementing the maple foods, Maple Run offers Nordic Ware cast iron griddles, pancake pans, and Belgian wafflers plus a huge variety of mixes for pancakes, waffles, and flapjacks. “And since we have maple creams, butters, and jellies, we’re offering mixes for baked goods like cornbread, muffins, scones, and crepes,” noted Ms. Hilton. “We’re excited to offer ebelskiver pans and mixes. You can add all kinds of different fillings to the ebelskivers, which are Danish pancakes, and of course they’re excellent with maple syrup.”

Tapping into another aspect of maple, Maple Run is showcasing its own line of maple-scented products made exclusively for the shop by Sunfeather Natural Soap Company. “Apart from the aroma of warm maple in cooking and baking, there is a totally different dimension to this scent when you mix it with other fragrances,” pointed out Ms. Hilton. “We created three extraordinary scents - Maple and Lavender, Maple and Rum, and Maple and Rosemary. These scents are not at all sweet, but rather are quite subtle and sophisticated. It’s the maple that gives the creamy, dense, rich aroma in our soaps, lotions, and candles.”

Emphasizing the gift shop aspect of Maple Run, the emporium offers complimentary gift-wrapping. The papers, twines, and stuffings are in natural colors and made from recycled and organic materials. Even the cellophane used to wrap the gift baskets is compostable. Specialty baskets and bowls are available and can also be created by customers using products of their own choosing.

The interior of Maple Run Emporium was created during a three-month renovation that started in December 2010. The nearly 2,000 square foot space was essentially gutted and then refurbished with a new maple floor, new ceiling, new paint, and new light fixtures. Rebecca Weld of Renew Architecture and Design of Potsdam supplied the plans and J.A. Randi Construction, also of Potsdam, performed the renovation. David Kingsley of Heuvelton handcrafted 10 custom maple bookcases that showcase specialty items such as glass syrup bottles, scented items, and books.

“The goal of the renovation was to create a space that has a harmonious ambiance and feels like walking into a well-stocked gourmet pantry. That goal was accomplished - the space is beautiful. It has a great feeling,” said Ms. Hilton. “Everyone who worked on the project was fantastic.”

Maple Run Emporiums, Inc. was incorporated in December 2010 and is the culmination of ideas that started 20 years ago when Ms. Hilton read a series of books by Scott and Helen Nearing. “In the past two years, the ideas gelled and then snowballed,” Ms. Hilton explained. “I had a lot of help and encouragement during the past 12 months. This whole project would not have been possible without the help of Marc Compeau of Clarkson University’s Entrepreneurship Center, Duane Pelkey and Matt Rollins of Community Bank, Michelle Collins of the Small Business Development Center, Fred Hanss and Jim Murphy of the Potsdam Office of Planning and Development, and Leigh Rodriguez of the St. Lawrence County Office of Economic Development. This is a wonderful community in which to start a new business. Having the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce come do the ribbon-cutting for our Grand Opening is a great launch for us.”

Maple Run Emporium is open every day from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting Friday, April 1, offering a preview of the shop prior to the Grand Opening Celebration on April 5 at noon. For more information, visit www.MapleRunEmporiums.com.