The Local Lens – Local Utopia

This week’s highlighted business couldn’t be more appropriate for shining the lens of The Camera’s Eye!

Local Utopia, located at 32 Lake St in the downtown, historic Owego Marketplace embodies the concept of LOCAL. Liz Skovira, moved back to her hometown of Owego after being displaced from her NYC job during Covid. Inspiration struck while binge watching Schitt’s Creek with her mom during quarantine. She wanted to create a store that could highlight smaller, local businesses that don’t have brick and mortar shops… and that is exactly what she did!

Filled with well over 90% local, hand-made products, Liz’s gift shop has two simple concepts; Waste Free & Chemical Free. Currently, the product focus is Homegoods: candles, teas, kitchenware, coffee, body scrubs, skincare, but she’s ever evolving so if you’re this type of artisan or manufacturer, Local Utopia is your showcase.

Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to 5, you can find Miss Skovira working away behind the desk. A confessed Shop-a-holic, ordering and inventory is anything but a chore for her.

The best part of popping in to check out the vendors within? Liz knows the skinny on each one and is more than happy to share their story, location and how the product(s) are made.

Think about the concept behind this Gift Shop with me for a moment… you’re walking into one store filled with products for your home or body created by manufactures with a passion for saving the environment or keeping chemicals off your skin or out of your blood stream curated by a woman who can tell you anything you want to know about the manufacturing process. No wondering, “what’s in this?” No trying to grab your glasses or your magnification app on your mobile to see the tinsy tiny print on the back of the label. No… you just turn and ask, “Hey Liz, who made this and what’s the process behind it?” Outstandingly Brilliant!

To shop online or for more information, check the web at Local Utopia, call 1 570-731-0373, or send Liz a direct message at localutopia607@gmail.com. Thanks again for reading the Local Lens. This week’s find is a true treasure and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Know a business that’s in need of recognition post Covid or that simply has a lovely concept? Leave a reply on the Blog and I’ll be sure to check it out!

The Local Lens – Hygge Home, Owego NY

This week’s featured small business is an absolutely adorable find nestled in the Historic District of Owego, NY. Hygge Home is not only a downtown shop, it’s a way of living for owner, business woman and mother, Mandy Neira.

While reading a book about familial relationships worldwide, she stumbled upon the Danish concept, Hygge pronounced “hyoo¬∑guh,” meaning Cozy. Completely inspired by the concept, she visited the Scandinavian countries of Sweden and Denmark and fell in love with the lifestyle and the people embracing it.

Mandy tested the concept in a small kiosk, a natural fit for the quaint town of Owego, NY and within a year, moved into a bigger space with much more inventory at 185 Front Street. Before getting one foot in the store that’s enticing you to enter with the scent of aromatherapy, you’re reminded of the concept of Cozy stamped on the concrete doorstep. It’s as if little Gnomes are wafting the scent beneath your nose and fairies are tugging your clothing to enter.

Once inside, there’s an instant feeling of calm wrapped up in an incredible visual of unique de’cor items designed to create a cozy sanctuary within your home.

Every corner is deliberately arranged with concept of creating a cozy, loving, nurturing environment for you, your family – even your pets! Creating a feeling of complete calm; scented candles, essential oils and Palo Santo are intricately displayed in every corner while blankets, pillows, journals and mugs adorn the furniture begging you to “sit a while.”

With so much technology and overwhelming social media in our lives, Mandy believes “we need to disconnect and focus on simplicity and connection with those we Love.”

Another of Mandy’s passionate thoughts is “to create a special place where people can enjoy the moment with peace, relaxation and laughter – a place to host friends, read, journal and find stillness for their well being.” She leaves nothing out when stocking the store with Hygge Home products – there’s even a section designated for entertaining family and friends.

If you haven’t ventured into this shop yet, it’s a must see! Your husband might not be thrilled, but you will definitely leave with an entirely new outlook on decorating your Home. Open Wednesday through Saturday 11- 5pm and Sunday 11- 3pm, Mandy will be there with a warm smile on her face to greet you!