The Adirondacks is a unique place and not just because of its stunning High Peaks and crystal clear waterways. We have all four seasons and a variety of elevations. You can tower above on the summit of a mountain, gazing out with a bird’s eye view, or you can paddle one of our many rivers or lakes, gazing above at the stars. Because of this variety, we take pride in our mountain towns and hamlets, each with their own unique identity and flavor. Tupper Lake, a distinctly Adirondack town, has some of the best local craft breweries and shopping in New York state. Spruce and Hemlock, a family owned and operated country store, filled with handcrafted gifts, contributes to this local charm and offers great opportunities to shop and feel at home all at once. I had the chance to visit the store and speak with owner, Faith McClelland, and Sales Associate, Janelle.
Faith and her husband, Andrew, own and operate this country store that opened its doors in 2015, the same year the Wild Walk at the Wild Center opened. Before the store, they started the business online. Faith specializes in custom engraving and provided wholesale custom made gifts for weddings and other large scale parties like family reunions. After ten years of selling online and circuiting local craft fairs, Faith and Andrew opened up Spruce and Hemlock nestled right downtown on Lake Street among Tupper’s eclectic residences and local businesses. Faith felt Tupper Lake needed its own store that reflected the culture of the town that is both Adirondack grandeur and small town charm. Her goal is to draw in tourists, so they can appreciate Tupper’s unique cultural charm, and to serve the locals.
Her vision for the store — and you will certainly feel it once you step right on to the wraparound porch — is to showcase the pride and heritage of Tupper Lake’s down home appeal. Gifts, including sweatshirts, tee shirts, hats, and even pencils are engraved with different Tupper Lake logos. Faith and Janelle said their best selling items are often the ones emblazoned with the Tupper Lake logo. People from all over the world can purchase a slice of Tupper and take it home with them. The designs are all unique often highlighting the mountainous and aqua rich landscape.
Other items in the store feature local artists, like Earth Girl Design jewelry. The store is driven by local talent. They even carry Faith’s mom’s crocheted items including scarves and hats. All of these hand crafted goods add to the charm and appeal of this store chock full of talent. Faith described Tupper’s up-and-coming small business community to me, explaining how they work together to support each other. For example, Spruce designs Raquette River Brewery’s (another local favorite) T-shirts and bottle openers.
Spruce and Hemlock consists of two floors in what would be considered a farm house with plenty of rooms for exploring. Each room offers a new surprise from baby onesies and children’s books to hoodies and trucker hats with Tupper Lake designs. They even have an area for Christmas decorations.
Faith said that because of the store’s popularity, there is a lot of turnover among items, which adds to the uniqueness and originality of it all, but that also means when something is sold out, it’s replaced with a different design. So get it while it lasts, but rest assured Spruce and Hemlock will always be brimming with shirts and cutting boards and ornaments and mugs and scented candles and bat houses. Yes, bat houses. If I had to choose a favorite gift, it might be the bat house set. Mostly because I love the idea of it.
One of the exciting gifts at Spruce is their custom engraved cutting boards. Below is a before picture with Faith’s mom’s recipe for no bake cookies that will soon be engraved right on the board.
Most impressive, though, and special about this country store is the love and labor that Faith, Andrew, and Janelle put into it. They custom engrave right on site, and Andrew also owns a screen printing store right down the street so all the clothing is screen printed by them too. If that weren’t enough, they also make their own scented candles from 100% soy. The scents include such delicious variety as blue spruce, hot apple pie, maple bourbon, and Christmas hearth. Each one is adorned with a handmade wooden label shaped like a fish. I don’t always recommend scented candles, but these candles are absolutely delightful and smell 100% natural. And they are made right there in Spruce’s kitchen.
Before I left the store, I got to chat some more with Janelle, asking her what she truly loves about Spruce and Hemlock. She told me she loves to meet all the different people that come through and she loves sharing Tupper Lake with them. She grew up in the town and described it as, “A good place with good people. It’s hard to find that these days. People look out for each other here.” I definitely felt the warmth of Tupper Lake in Spruce and Hemlock, and I was endlessly surprised by the different high quality gifts in every corner.
The store is truly a work of art and should be on your bucket list when you visit the Adirondacks this season. While you’re in the area, you can stop by Raquette River Brewery for some local craft beer, and then spend all afternoon sifting through the goodies at Spruce and Hemlock. You’ll want at least an hour in the store because there is so much to see. With fall arriving, Faith said they are preparing for Tupper’s annual Halloween walk. Spruce and Hemlock is a special place so make sure you check it out and see for yourself.
This week in ADK news: