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A Handmade Christmas in Shepherdstown: Christmas market visits Town Run Tap House and Community Pub for second weekend

By Staff | Dec 20, 2019

Ethel Hornbeck, of Shepherdstown, looks at jewelry being sold in Town Run Tap House and Community Pub on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — This year’s A Handmade Christmas in Shepherdstown once again featured a variety of local artisans, during the two Saturdays it was held in the Town Run Tap House and Community Pub.

Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and this past Saturday, the market also had a second mission — to raise donations for local nonprofit, JJBags.

“We’re collecting pajamas and books and blankets for foster kids, like we did for JJBags at last year’s A Handmade Christmas in Shepherdstown. We always use this event to support a charity. Today we’ve collected a lot of children’s books,” said event founder and organizer Michelle Kwiatkowski, mentioning people who donated an item to JJBags received five raffle tickets in addition to the one raffle ticket all shoppers received.

According to Kwiatkowski, each Saturday of this year’s event featured an entirely different group of sellers, with her company, the Wild Rose Soap Company, being the exception to that rule. While the market today features about 20 artisans, when Kwiatkowski began the event four years ago, she had no idea how much it would grow.

“The reason I started doing this, was because the Christmas market in the War Memorial Building didn’t accept soap vendors, and the Christmas market at the Entler Hotel was booked solid,” Kwiatkowski said. “This market gives me a good place to sell my stuff, and also features so many of this area’s talented artisans.

Jack Meyer, owner of Appalachian Chocolate Company, talks about his organic chocolate with shoppers in Town Run Tap House and Community Pub on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston

“Here, everything is handmade and local, and our shoppers tend to appreciate that,” Kwiatkowski said. “It seems like the market brings a lot of tourists to Shepherdstown and Town Run Tap House, as well.”

Appalachian Chocolate Company owner Jack Meyer, of Shepherdstown, was one of the artisans at the market. Meyer chatted with customers about his chocolate, which is made out of organic cacao beans..

“Business has been very brisk today, so I’m happy to be here,” Meyer said, mentioning he regularly sells at the Shepherdstown Farmers Market. “This would equate to a very profitable day at the market.

“My chocolate’s all organic. I make it in small batches and source out organic beans from different countries — Ecuador, Peru, Madagascar and Nicaragua. I stone grind the beans for three days, so the flavor is very smooth. All of the dark chocolate is actually vegan,” Meyer said. “It took me about two years to develop the particular flavors the I make. I don’t use any additives at all to stretch it out, and people like that — the fact that it’s just chocolate.”

Jacob Mellow, of Mellow Works, said he was glad he had decided to sell his cutting boards, wood accessories and furniture at this year’s market.

A bowl of cupcake-shaped bath bombs was one of the items on sale at Wild Rose Soap Company's booth in Town Run Tap House and Community Pub on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston

“This is my first time at this market, and it has definitely been a large crowd,” Mellow said, mentioning he only saw a break in traffic around the lunch hour. “I initially got into woodworking because my grandfather was a woodworker. When I was a student at Shepherd, I took some more classes about it in their sculpture lab.

“Woodworking is a hobby for me — I work throughout the summer and then sell what I make through the holiday season,” Mellow said.