If you’re making your way up to northern New Hampshire, just off of Route 93 after Franconia Notch, consider a stop into Bethlehem and Lonesome Woods, owned by Nick Storella & Family. Experience a nostalgic and friendly atmosphere while you look for a unique gift or want to peruse the record collection after you spend a day hiking or skiing. Nick spent some time with us to tell us about his shop:
First off, tell us about your business!
We are an Antique, Vintage, Apothecary, and Dry Goods store located in Bethlehem, New Hampshire.
We sell a mix of antique and vintage items, and we make our own line of apothecary goods and candles.
What is the story behind your business? How did it all come to be?
My wife, child, and I moved back here from California in 2015 to raise our daughter closer to nature. We wanted to create a business that would enable a high quality of life: be our own boss, create the vibe, and hours that would let us to enjoy where we live, and spend time with our child. We also wanted to create a store that we would want to shop at.
What is your background and did you always want to be doing this?
Sarah & I met in NYC in 2001. I was a professional musician for many years and have traveled extensively. I've always collected vintage and antiques, I have a background in retail and antique dealing, and always wanted to do my own store. Sarah worked in New York as a fashion editor and stylist for 14 years, she always made her own apothecary products, but started focusing on more natural ingredients when she was pregnant.
What is behind your business name ?
Bethlehem is in the middle of the White Mountains and surrounded by national and state forests. Lonesome is not a negative term for us- it's symbolic of a remote, solitary peace, with a little dark beauty; trees casting long shadows, howls in the night.
Favorite things to create?
We like to create things that we'd use ourselves. We decorate our house with the antiques we sell, we wear the clothes we sell, we use our apothecary products. We think about ourselves, family, and friends when creating a new product or deciding on graphics: do we feel comfortable using this near our child? Would we display this on our shelf? Would we give it as a gift to a local friend, and to a SF or NYC friend?
What are your sources of inspiration and creativity?
We have both traveled extensively throughout the US and overseas so we have a huge amount of inspiration to draw from. Last year we went to Australia twice, we always do New England day trips, we lived in New York and Los Angeles for 20 years. We look at interior and architectural books, magazines, Instagram, we listen to our customers suggestions. Our 4 year old inspired our potpourri jars by collecting baskets of flowers, herbs, and cones from our property over summer- it was strewn everywhere drying and looked beautiful, so my wife started putting it in jars with her, it's one of our best sellers, but very small batch.
What has been the most challenging part about having your business? What has been the most rewarding or fun?
The hours working for yourself doing everything from chopping wood, to shipping orders, the trial and error of new products and ideas. The rewards far surpass the challenges: the realization and success of an idea, being self sufficient and doing something I actually like while hanging out with friends, or having my little girl visit and rearrange the store.
Are you originally from New England? How has the New England community played a roll in your business?
I actually grew up in Bethlehem, NH, the town where our store is. My wife is from Sydney, Australia and our daughter was born in California. I really feel part of a community here, there are a lot of creative people reinventing and growing this small town, it’s good to be part of what is happening in Bethlehem.
What are your favorite things about New England?
I enjoy seeing the four seasons, we spend a lot of time outdoors, but also enjoy relaxing with no distractions- it's very easy to check out up here if you want to. Since we have a festive child we've been embracing New England seasonal traditions like mulling cider, cook outs, roasting marshmallows by the fire, making pies etc.
What other local businesses do you love that we should know about?
What does the future look like for your small business? Any grand plans?
Just enjoying life, taking baby steps and expanding our Lonesome Woods line of goods.
Where can we find you or your product in the future?