Bon-Ton Expanding Close To Home Shops

The Bon-Ton Stores is holding it second online sourcing fair as the retailer expands its Close to Home shops and increases its local product offerings.

The retailer continues to cultivate local partnerships and source new and unique merchandise to sell in its expanding number of Close to Home shops. Available in-store and online, the shops feature locally-sourced and themed products, many of which are handcrafted or upcycled. Since opening in 45 stores in 2016, Bon-Ton has more than tripled the number of Close to Home shops to 148 and plans to open an additional 40 in-store shops in early fall. To date, the Close to Home initiative has provided more than 325 small businesses with the opportunity to sell products in the department store, the company said.

The online sourcing fair is part of an ongoing effort to provide shoppers with a broader selection of local products by developing more relationships with area makers. In the first sourcing fair, the retailer vetted applications in more than a dozen product categories with jewelry, artwork, home décor, kitchen and bar, apparel, and accessories topping the list. The company said that more than 1,250 artists, designers, makers, artisans and entrepreneurs submitted applications to the first online sourcing fair.

“We were thrilled by the number of submissions and the level of creativity and quality we found in our first online sourcing fair and are very excited to develop more partnerships with makers,” said Chad Stauffer, evp/chief merchandising officer for The Bon-Ton Stores. “Our ‘Close to Home’ shops allow local artisans to reach a much wider marketplace and offer our customers the true local flavor and personalized offerings they want from their hometown shopping destination.”

The retailer is inviting vendors with established businesses and galleries interested in having their products sold in Close to Home shops to apply online now through August 31 during its second online sourcing fair, located at closetohome.bonton.com.