When founder Ron Spivak first opened the Hawkins House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was President, a new car cost $4,785, a loaf of bread went for 36¢, gas was 65¢ a gallon, and Vermont had more cows than people. Over the past 30 years a lot has changed, but one important thing has not changed - Hawkins House's commitment to the community providing exceptional quality handcrafted jewelry, crafts, unique gifts, and customer service.
In the mid-1990s, Ron and his wife Inga Spivak set the stage for a "second generation" of owners for the family business when they hired their daughter-in-law Elizabeth Ganger. "You always have to be really careful hiring family" Inga remembers, "we told Elizabeth, 'we love you, but if it does not work out we will fire you!'" Fortunately, Elizabeth had a natural talent for the business, and in 2000 she and her husband Jonah Spivak became the official new owners.
If you've ever visited Hawkins House you may have been surprised by it's size. "We have over 3,200 square feet of retail space making it a haven for browsers" says owner Elizabeth Ganger. "We have the work of hundreds of artisans including an exceptional selection of handcrafted jewelry in gold and silver." The Hawkins House crafts market has grown over the years to include two historic buildings with a modern expansion. "The additional space has allowed us to add new lines such as clothing, lamps, handbags, and an expanded children's section."
Hawkins House is well known as "the place to shop for jewelry" and even a quick look around will show you why. There is a wide selection of earrings, necklaces, pendants and bracelets in gold and silver, with or without stones. There is religious jewelry, including crosses and St. Christopher's medals. Do you collect amber? Check out the Baltic amber in a variety of colors. There is a large selection of sterling silver chains as well in a variety of styles and lengths - all at very reasonable prices. Mother's rings and pendants are popular and can be custom ordered with birthstones for each of your children… a wonderful Mother's day gift or a special surprise anytime. Hawkins House is also the perfect place to find engagement rings or wedding bands.
In addition to their extensive collection of handcrafted jewelry, Hawkins House has everything from blown glass to pottery, from books and cards to leather-bound journals and planners, from handbags to scarves, woodenware and cutting boards, jewelry boxes, aromatic candles, toys, games, clothing, and much more.
With so much to offer, how do you summarize what Hawkins House is? A jewelry store? A gallery? A gift shop? "We are all that" explains Elizabeth, "But most importantly we are a fun place to shop; filled with beautiful things to amuse you, delight the senses, adorn you, and pamper you."
Elizabeth and her husband Jonah are always looking for ways to improve the shopping experience at Hawkins House. "New products are coming in every week" Elizabeth notes. Some of those products includes watches, necklace and earring sets, handblown glass, handbags by Hobo, and scarves.
Online shopping is becoming more and more popular, not to mention convenient! Hawkins House is pleased to offer for secure online purchases one of their most popular jewelry lines - handcrafted jewelry by Ed Levin.
As a second generation family business, Hawkins House is proud of it's 30 year history of providing exceptional quality jewelry, crafts and gifts. The secret of their success? "Customer service" says Elizabeth. "We love our customers and we do everything possible to reward our customers for their business." One way is by offering free gift-wrapping, another is the Preferred Customer Program. "Simply shop at Hawkins House and earn 3% on all purchase (excluding gift certificates). At the end of January each year, we will mail out a gift certificate valued at 3% of your annual purchase! It's our way of saying 'thanks!'"
Hawkins House is located at 262 North Street in Bennington. If you've never been to Hawkins House… what are you waiting for! As our customers say, it's "well worth the trip."
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