Utility Canvas: Gardiner Shop Creates Bags, Blankets, and Clothing Out of Canvas

Utility Canvas in Gardiner makes use of canvas for its totes, clothes, throws, and more

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We just adopted a sleek, black mutt who appears to be part Labrador and part seal, judging from her behavior when she comes across a puddle, pond, or any body of water. She’ll even stick her top half in a bucket given the chance. Add her second-favorite outdoor activity — rolling in dirt — and you’ve got a messier-than-average pooch, so I’ve been hunting for a washable, good-looking throw for the sofa that’s durable enough to withstand doggy toenails.

I found just the thing at Utility Canvas, a store in Gardiner specializing (as you may have guessed) in useful things made of canvas. It was started as a wholesale business in 1990 by one-time New Yorkers Hal Grano and Jillian Kaufman-Grano, who have backgrounds in fashion (her) and canoe-guiding (him). The couple designed a line of bags, napkins, placemats, coverlets, throw blankets and pillow shams, and sold them out of a warehouse in Gardiner, where they’d settled. In 1999, they opened a retail store in SoHo. Six years later, they moved the store to Gardiner, which was when locals began to notice that the company existed. “We were a well-kept secret because we’re not good at marketing,” Jillian explains.

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