By Elsie Aubrey
Board Member, Dedham Exchange
Just as “The Little Red Engine That Could” children’s book by Watty Piper chugged along, so does the little red barn, home to the Dedham Exchange non profit gift shop. Established in 1914 to support artisans and donate proceeds back to the community, the Exchange has been operating in the red Baker Barn on Washington Street since 1948.
In 2015, the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts awarded the Exchange green certification as the first business in Dedham to complete the sustainability checklist for improvements to the shop and operations. Amy Haelson, Executive Director of Dedham Square Circle, and Virginia LeClair, Dedham’s Environmental Coordinator, challenged the Exchange to work with SBN’s team to make adjustments so that the little red barn could become more green. Tasks to the barn included electrical and plumbing improvements to be more efficient and environmentally responsible. Renewed efforts were focused on supporting local artists and their hand made products, as well as sustainability awareness within shop operations. Slogans such as “Reduce, Reuse & Recycle” and “Carry Out What You Carry In” serve as inspiration to the 50 volunteers and 2 staff members who dedicate their time, energy, and expertise at the non profit gift shop.
So, indeed, the little red barn could and did become green!
Please visit the Dedham Exchange to see first-hand many local products such as hand crafted beeswax candles and honey, hand knit baby sweaters, and hand woven textiles. We also carry a wide variety of commercial gifts, home décor, and gourmet foods. Ask us about our commitment to sustainability, thanks to SBN’s guidance.
Look for the red barn at 445 Washington St., Dedham Square. 781-326-0627. Shop hours are Monday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm. www.dedhamexchange.org
SPECIAL DISCOUNT: in honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, BYOBag to receive a 20% off of your purchase of one item from Monday April 17-Sat April 22nd.
To learn more about the Town of Dedham’s Green Business Program and other environmental programs, including town-wide Recycling Day on Sat. April 29th and the town-wide Clean Up Day on Sat. April 29th, please visit www.dedham-ma.gov
To learn more about Dedham Square Circle’s support of local merchants and businesses, please visit www.dedhamsquarecircle.org
Your business and you COULD make a GREEN difference, too!