- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Crafts Guild of St. Mary’s County recently celebrated its 35th anniversary with a gathering of past and present members.
The Crafts Guild is the parent organization under which the Craft Guild Shop (formerly known as the Christmas Country Store and Old Towne Crafters) operates and is one of the oldest cooperatives operated by its members in St. Mary’s County. The purpose of the guild is to promote the appreciation of handmade crafts and original art by local artisans.
From 1976 to 1996, the Christmas Country Store operated out of the Cecil’s Country Store located in Great Mills. Through the generosity of John Allen Cecil, who donated the property in 1975, the historical society and the bicentennial commission, the concept of an outlet for local artisans to sell their handmade works was realized. In 1977, the Crafts Guild made arrangements to lease the building on a year-round basis. The Crafts Guild and its membership spent many hours repairing, cleaning and preparing the store for public viewing.
The new beginning in the old Hollywood post office was established in 1996 as the result of a lost lease in Great Mills, and the subsequent operation of the Christmas Country Store in the old Hollywood firehouse during 1998-1999 facilitated the growth of Crafts Guild membership. In 2000, the Crafts Guild relocated to Leonardtown and voted to change the store’s name to Old Towne Crafters to reflect its new locale.
Then, in 2006, the Crafts Guild moved to its current location next to the Maryland Antiques Center on Route 5 in Leonardtown.
The store features a wide variety of handmade items of all kinds, as well as Maryland souvenirs and a year-round Christmas display. Crafts Guild members give a 25 percent commission to defray overhead costs, pay a minimal space fee and work part time to run the store. The Crafts Guild also participates in local festivals, events, craft shows and charity fundraisers throughout the county.
For more information on the Crafts Guild, visit the guild’s website and online store at www.craftguildshop.com.