How long does it take to get a business up and running? According to Shayne Hannum and Connie Fisher it’s about two weeks.
That is when Cookey Milam, a long-time hairdresser and owner of Cookey’s Hair Gallery, proposed a plan to Hannum and Fisher as they waited for their hair appointments.
“She asked us if we would be interested in managing and running a craft market,” Fisher said. “We both were taken by surprise.”
After going to lunch to discuss the possibility, the decision was made. And thus, Little Creek Crafts & More was born.
Located at Milam’s shop in the plaza across from Pete’s Hot Dogs, Little Creek is home to 19 vendors from the area.
“I’d been wanting to do this for a long time,” Milam said. “I’ve always had crafts in the shop, but this has been the dream.”
The weeks since the agreement was made have been busy ones for the three friends. Painting, moving things around and coming up with attractive displays have filled the hours prior to opening.
“We really want this to be an inviting place,” Hannum said. “It needs to showcase the crafters well and I think it really does.”
Finding artisans to fill the space was not difficult. Fisher, known for her baked goods as Nana’s Kitchen, has established many connections through the craft shows she has been part of for the past several years. She was also one of the organizers of the Wild & Wonderful Arts and Crafts Show for four years.
“Connie just reached out to friends and got a tremendous response,” Hannum said. “I also make handmade jewelry but am not part of the craft show circuit. This is the perfect place for me to put my work.”
Several well-known local artisans expressed appreciation for the opportunity to be included in the shop.
SHEinspired owner Brienne Roush, who has found success in other outlets such as an Etsy shop and a local retailer who sells her smaller items, says this is a unique opportunity.
“Being able to display my creations in a setting that includes so many other talented craftsmen is wonderful,” she said. “It also allows my local Etsy customers a place to pick up items to avoid shipping fees. I love that Jackson County folks are always enthusiastic about ‘shopping small’ and helping local artisans support their families.”
Roush will be stocking Little Creek with wooden signs, door hangers, home décor with some crocheted items being added in the fall.
Local artist Lola Smith also appreciates having an outlet close to home.
“My work which, features creative lettering and Scherenschnitte Christmas ornaments, is all handmade,” she said. “They are available at Tamarak, The Blennerhassett Museum and other sites, but I’ve not had the chance to have a local presence except the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair. I’m very happy that Little Creek is here.”
Fisher said she’s proud of the quality of the items offered at the shop.
“We jury everything that comes in,” she stated. “Everything on display shows great skill and craftsmanship.”
With the current health crisis, many fairs and festivals have been cancelled. Both Hannum and Fisher said the shop came at the right time, offering crafters a way to sell their goods.
The best part for the three long-time friends is the chance to work together.
“Connie and I started doing crafts together back in the 1980s,” Hannum said. “Getting to work together while giving Jackson County a chance to shine is wonderful. We want to help make this area a destination place for fine, handmade items.”
Little Creek Crafts & More, located at 223 South Church Street in Ripley, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. Appointments are available by calling 304-532-8940 or 304-532-7173.