BUCKHANNON – A group of local farmers and artists have congregated to create an indoor Farmer’s Market and Local Artisan Shop in Buckhannon.
The new shop can be found at 1 College Avenue, Suite 102. They are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Tom Thacker, who owns the property, said he always wanted to facilitate an indoor farmers market and the opportunity recently presented itself.
“The manager, Sherry, wanted to place to sell her crystals, rocks and different things, and I was looking for a space for an indoor farmers market because I’ve thought Buckhannon should have something like this for years,” Thacker said. “Year after year goes by and the farmers are stuck in the same situation: They always have to sit there for hours, sometimes get rained out, and it’s only for a few months of the year, so it’s really hard to get a consistent customer base.”
The market’s day-to-day operations will be handled by general manager Sherry Brunelle, while Thacker operates Endo Solutions on Main Street.
“I’ve always thought this needed to happen somehow, and I got lucky enough to get this building at an affordable price,” Thacker said. “Then Sherry said, ‘Great, let’s do it.’ We really needed some artists and farmers, but the artists always follow the farmers. They plant seeds, and they grow artists basically. In the wintertime, the artists are going to sell stuff through Christmas and holidays, so hopefully, they complement each other.”
The shop has gathered vendor participation from between 35 to 40 artists and around 10 farmers.
“It’s been great, way better than I envisioned,” Thacker said. “It will take a while to catch on to get the word out, but there have been several days where 20 people or more have come in, so it’s been even better than I expected in the beginning.”
Brunelle said she set out to find local artists who were producing work no one else was selling.
“I met a lot of vendors at different events throughout the five or six years that I attended festivals and things like that, so I grabbed business cards or took a special interest because I knew I was going to do this someday,” she said. “I have a pretty big network of vendors. The ones that I didn’t know, some of them got ahold of me through the Facebook page. I did post looking for some arts and crafts vendors who were unique and different from anyone else.”
She hopes the shop will become a place for regular produce shopping and purchasing unique, quality gifts.
“I would like this to be a community market where people can come and get not only their grocery needs, but maybe some of their gift giving needs for birthdays or Christmas or whatever holiday,” Brunelle said. “I know we’ll have special Valentine’s related items like chocolate covered strawberries, Strawberry Festival items and we have big plans for October.”
On top of produce and baked goods, they plan to start selling eggs and meat by the end of the week.
“I’ve had a lot of compliments and people telling us they needed a store like ours in this part of town,” Brunelle said. “I think it’s been wonderful, and it’s only going to get busier from here on out with more vendors coming in. We’ll have meat coming in soon and we already have eggs and honey.”
Jane Scott, owner of Grandma’s Temptations, recently joined the shop after selling backed goods at the Lewis County Fair for eight years.
“It’s part of me, it’s what I do,” Scott said. “I’m noted for my fancy pies and cookies. I have the original recipe from Frank’s Bakery, and Frank’s was famous here and in Weston. He retired years ago, but he took me into his kitchen and taught me how to make his cookies, and I make them the same way he did. I have another line of cookies I switch up all the time, and I also make many loaves of bread. Today’s special was strawberry banana.”
Items available at the shop can be found on their Facebook page and contact information for individual vendors can be found in the store.