The Red Caboose celebrates sales record in 2019
HUNTINGTON — Fueled by a significant increase in the number of artisans, The Red Caboose celebrated a sales record in 2019.
The $129,000 in total sales was a 61% increase in revenue over 2018, officials said.
“This past year we’ve worked diligently to increase the diversity of our offerings and improve our displays so that each piece is shown to its best advantage,” said Red Caboose manager Raine Klover.
The Red Caboose is a regional artisan center and gift shop operated by the Huntington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau in the Visitors Center at Heritage Station, 210 11th St.
“We began 2019 with strong sales, and things took off even more when Nomada Bakery opened in September,” Klover said. “Their new client base has allowed us to showcase our artisans to people who may have never visited the shop before or who haven’t visited for several years.”
The Red Caboose currently represents approximately 250 local and regional artisans and authors, with more than 50% of them residing in Cabell and Wayne counties.
Klover said another important factor in the increase in sales has been the choice to vend at local festivals such as Rails & Ales, Huntington Music & Arts Festival and Barboursville Fall Fest.
“We not only want our visitors to have a great experience,” said Tyson Compton, Huntington Area CVB president, “we encourage them to take a piece of West Virginia home with them by purchasing a unique, locally crafted item. And this increase in sales is not just a success for us but for all the artists who are able to sell their creations. That’s the most exciting part of this. Raine has done an amazing job in growing the product line by seeking out and connecting with new artists.”
In addition, Klover, author Sheila Redling and Nomada barista Justin Murphy organize a monthly arts event at the Visitors Center called Arts Night Out, Compton said.
“The event is held the second Thursday of every month and has included visual and musical arts, Huntington Fiction Factory — a craft-forward author series — documentary and short films, interactive arts activities such as drum circles and knit-ins,” he said.
The February edition will be held Thursday, Feb. 13, and will include a record swap, a visual art exhibition by Seth Pitt, and author Tobi Doyle discussing the craft of romance writing.
The shop is located inside the Visitors Center at Heritage Station at 210 11th St. in Huntington. Visit their website at redcaboosewv.com or follow them on Facebook @TheRedCabooseWV.
Nonprofit Publishers Place dissolves after 25 years
HUNTINGTON — Articles of dissolution of regional nonprofit Publishers Place Inc. were filed last week with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s charities division office, according to John Patrick Grace, co-founder and president.
The organization has been based in downtown Huntington since its inception.
“It’s been a great 25 years, and 43 wonderful books launched out onto the world, but all good things come to an end,” said Grace, who is 77 and a weekly H-D Media columnist.
He thanked Publishers Place authors and board members for their commitment to developing quality narrative nonfiction, poetry, history and fiction based on real-life events, by authors from West Virginia and surrounding states.
Landmark works have been “Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry, 1950-1999,” edited by Barbara Smith and Kirk Judd; “Father’s Troubles,” a national award-winning novel by Huntington’s Carter Taylor Seaton; “Purpose and Passion: Bobby Pruett & the Marshall Years,” by sports writer Bill Chastain; “The History and Rebirth of Downtown Huntington,” a four-color 9x12 pictorial by Dr. Joseph Touma; and “Witness at Hawks Nest,” a fictionalized account of the Hawks Nest tragedy of silicon poisoning, by Milton native Dwight Harshbarger.
Over 700 workers died from toxins ingested in digging the Hawks Nest hydroelectric tunnel for Union Carbide in 1930-31. Harshbarger’s work was named as best book of 2011 by the West Virginia Library Association.
Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders Conference on April 1
CHARLESTON — A network of entrepreneurship support organizations will bring thinkers and doers from across the state under one roof to build connections and discuss innovative trends in promoting and supporting entrepreneurship in West Virginia.
The West Virginia Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders Conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1 at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center. The conference will feature national and state speakers who will share emerging trends that support a diversified economy.
“There is an abundance of entrepreneurial resources throughout West Virginia,” said Bill Woodrum, director of entrepreneurship at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI), one of the event organizers. “By bringing these resources and organizations together under one roof, we hope to create an intentional holistic process to support entrepreneurs.”
Keynote speaker for the conference is Andy Stoll with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Stoll also will join Joe Kapp with the National Center for Resource Development and Mary Hunt of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for a panel discussion on building a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem. The conference will feature breakout sessions on entrepreneurship funding opportunities; community entrepreneurship; educational entrepreneurship; and government’s role in entrepreneurship.
The breakout sessions will be followed by a discussion on breaking down barriers to entrepreneurship, led by West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and Michele Christian, SBA national director of the Office of Rural Affairs.
The conference is sponsored by the Entrepreneur Ecosystem Builders, a network of 25 entities including state and federal agencies, K-12 and higher education, regulatory entities, financial institutions and public and private support organizations.