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Market brings local talent to forefront in Jonesborough

Jessica Fuller • Updated Aug 6, 2018 at 2:16 PM

In a building that once hosted the cogs of Jonesborough’s government, Mill Spring Makers Market has opened its doors to creators in the region and shoppers looking for a unique medley of local goods from soap to chairs. 

A few years ago, business owner Deborah Cruse fashioned one side of the building into what she calls “Jonesborough’s living room,” The Corner Cup coffee shop. More recently, Kruse and town events planner Melinda Copp partnered up to buy the space adjacent to The Corner Cup to offer as retail space. 

Then, a few weeks ago, Copp and Kruse unveiled their new venture, Mill Spring Makers Market with a fresh coat of paint and busting to the seams with local crafts. 

“I was just ready for something new, I have always wanted to be a small business owner and just thought this was the right time and place and decided to take the next step,” Copp said. 

The market, which has yet to have its grand opening, boasts an open space, full of locally made T-shirts, post cards and jewelry. Further back in the building, offset rooms dedicated to knitting and yarn, quilting and other crafts are set off from the main market space. Copp said dozens of “makers” are featured in the market from throughout the region. 

“We really like the idea of having a wide range of mediums available as well as everything for the beginner artist to the experienced artist, so we have a lot of variety in here,” Copp said.

One such maker is Beverly Thomas Jenkins, an artist who specializes in mosaics. Her work can be seen throughout the store on different canvases and a vase here and there. In addition to selling her work at the market, Jenkins will also be teaching one of the first classes offered at the business, in which students will leave with their very own beach box — a wooden box adorned with shells and oceanic colors to create a simple yet elegant mosaic. 

“I like the idea of being able to take a class; if you see something you like and it’s something you’ve always wanted to try, you can do that here,” Jenkins said. “I think it’s really cool.” 

Copp said she and Kruse are just getting the ball rolling on the class schedule, but said she hopes to have everything from knitting to chair making so community members can discover a hidden passion. The classes launch today with a terrarium-making class that begins at 11 a.m. Jenkins’ class will be Aug. 21 at 6 p.m.

So far, the market has been received well by the community, and Copp said she hopes to have a grand opening set for the business at the end of the month. Even on a lazy Friday afternoon, customers flowed in and out of the market, including Ashley Collings and her mother, Dawn Fischer. This wasn’t their first stop in the shop, and Collings said she knew it would be the perfect place to secure a gift for a friend.

It didn’t take Collings long to select a one-of-a-kind tote bag emblazoned with a colorful cat design by Summer Buchanan, a 36-year-old artist with Down Syndrome, and well-known in the community for her colorful pieces. 

Fishcher was on the lookout for pottery, and left the shop with a few new pieces to add to her collection. 

“It’s local, it’s handmade, and they’re one of a kind,” Fischer said. “You’re never going to find another one like it.” 

Mill Spring Makers Market is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The class schedule will be posted on the market’s Facebook page, facebook.com/millspringmakersmarket. 

Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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