North Central Mass Origins: Squirrel-Eze
- David Ginisi
If there is one location whose name alone would catch your interest, it would have to be Squirrel-Eze. But there’s more to this Townsend store than just a catchy name and beautifully hand-made silver jewelry: There’s also a story; about a couple that has managed to take what they love and turn into a business.
Backstory of the Company:
Squirrel-Eze, is a business that Helen and her husband, Jim, have been building for 24 years. The store mainly focuses on jewelry, with Helen making three-dimensional jewelry, in a variety of styles. Jim works with chain-maille, which Helen describes as: “a series of interconnected woven metal rings, once worn by knights for protection, now modified and refined to create classic, elegant jewelry”. Helen and Jim have nurtured it to blossom into a brand that is known all across the country.
Goals and Ambitions:
Helen has met her goals; she and Jim work full-time at this business, and they are able to travel across the nation, sell their products. Helen’s work has made its way into several museums and won awards across the country. She also leads yoga programs, teaches on and sells a variety of Native American Style flutes. These expansions have spread their reputation.
Origin of the Name:
As she grew her business, Helen was told she should acquire a patent to protect her invention of a portable jewelry stand — and to her delight and pride, the patent her attorney filed was approved on its first submission. All she needed to make it official was a name. She wanted something easy, and something that stood out in a crowd. After mulling it over for a couple days, she noticed a squirrel gathering her treasures out her window. This was her eureka moment, with her portable jewelry stand women could squirrel their jewelry away with ease. It was a nutty idea that worked.
Goals and Accomplishments:
Helen is most proud that she is able to work full-time on this business with Jim. She is happy they are not only a couple, but a team and good friends who can work together without getting on each other’s nerves. Sure, there will always be moments where things just don’t work out for one reason or another, because life isn’t perfect. But, their deep friendship is the cornerstone of not only a successful business, but their marriage as well.
Ambitions and Improvements:
If there’s one aspect of owning a business that Helen wishes could be made easier for the couple, it would have to be the nitty-gritty, tedious parts of the job. It would be nice to have someone who would worry about the paperwork, whether it was for a booth at an event, or just the day to day business. Although she would like an extra person for assistance, she has no immediate plans to add staff.
Being a part of Visit North Central:
As her business has grown, Helen said she has met many wonderful people, especially Diane Burnette, Burnette who works at the Johnny Appleseed Visitors Center that also carries her wares. She’s also pleasantly surprised, she notes, by the number of people who stop in simply because while driving by, they are intrigued by the shop’s name.
Helen loves what she does; it’s as simple as that. This is her passion. Even when she’s working twenty-four seven — and seems to take only working vacations — Helen can’t get enough of what she does. She wouldn’t trade this job, she says, for the world. Because when you love what you do, work becomes play, and something to keep doing for a lifetime.
Intrigued by the shop’s name and its owner’s story? Stop by Squirrel-Eze at 18 Highland St, (Rte. 13), Townsend. Visit www.squirrelezeshop.com to check details about hours throughout the year.