CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – While haven’t been able to be around people like we have been able to prior to the pandemic, we might rely on them now more than ever.
Victoria Sardo, a local entrepreneur, is helping over 80 local artists and vendors to showcase their diverse creations while the local community is also being given a place where they can come support local artists and find wonderful products handcrafted right here in the region.
The Finger Lakes Unique, Victoria’s new shop is located at 99 East Market Street in Corning (in the former Bass Store).
Victoria didn’t set out, at least not at first, to be this connector of people and things. When she started AnnaMarri Soy Candles over a decade ago, it was shortly after her youngest child was born and she sought a flexible option for income. She did research, discovered that soy seemed to be better for the environment and for health. It was also a chance for her to create something “that was just me,” she says.
She experimented and tested the early candles on friends and family, trying to perfect the burn time and the fragrances. “And they kept asking for more,” she adds. Back in 2011, she had a small shop on Market Street and her candles could also be found at The Windmill, at various festivals, and at other stores.
The company, named after her two daughters, Arianna and Marissa, was an endeavor to create a quality offering without high cost. Victoria hand pours each candle and stands behind them, so if a customer has a problem, they’re encouraged to let her know. “No questions asked,” she says.
And while her business has been going strong all these years, she was looking to do something more. “I thought it would be cool to have a store with items made in the Finger Lakes region. To have handcrafted items from local artists. People are often looking for something locally made. The stars aligned,” she admits. “We have had great support and backing. From the landlord who has been wonderful to the Gaffer District to the many artists.
At 90 vendors, the shop is full. With everything from jewelry to skincare, from locally made maple and honey products to her own handcrafted soy candles. From popular Finger Lakes Chocolates to dog treats. “Everything is handcrafted or refurbished by someone here in the Finger Lakes. We have quite a variety, but try not to have duplication.” There are a couple of vendors, for example, specializing in jewelry, but each has a different style. The same is true of the paintings with artists working in different media and using different techniques.
The shop had a soft opening around the holidays in 2020 and has been building a following with its unique quality products.