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BY: Tiffany Monde, Tonawanda Source | October 25, 2012

NORTH TONAWANDA - Martinsville Emporium, an artisan gallery and soap shop located in North Tonawanda, is a business you probably drive by more often than you realize. It is located at 672 Niagara Falls Blvd, near Erie Avenue, inside an old Victorian home. The shop has only a small sign in the front that store owner, Heather Kalisiak, says can make the building hard to miss.

She sells her handmade soaps, body wash, candles, and other home goods while artisans sell their works on consignment.

“The artisans also use this as their own little personal store; they meet customers at craft shows and don’t always have a place to meet with customers after they place orders so they can use the store space for meetings if needed,” said Kalisiak.

While opening a small business was her dream it has not been an easy financial road. She opened the store on Sept. 2, 2011 with less than $200 in operating capital and no personal reserves left.

Kalisiak recently launched a funding campaign on indiegogo.com to help raise funds to continue to run her small business; she is hoping to raise $25,000 to help offset various costs. Websites like Indiegogo help people create campaigns to raise money for whatever their cause may be.

“You are asking the entire internet for money for whatever you are looking to do,” said Kalisiak. “In my case I opened this store and I have no operating capital.”

When you donate money, you get perks depending on your donation. Donations for Martinsville range from $5 to $2,000, perks range from lip balm or a year supply of soap, to having a soap scent named after you.

Kalisiak’s favorite perk is called ‘Get into it!’ For $35 you will spend two to three hours in the lab with a group of up to three people to help measure, mix, and mold. When you’re finished you will take home some of what you helped to make.

“It’s a very hands on experience to give people an idea of the process that goes into making these items.”

For those interested in the soap making process there is also an event every forth Friday of the month at the store where she does soap making demonstrations for the public.

The campaign on indiegogo goes until Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. For more information on the Martinsville Emporium’s campaign to raise money go to www.indiegogo.com/martinsville.

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