WAYNE — Lacy Ferguson had no idea if opening a business on Small Business Saturday — during a global pandemic — would result in a crowd too big to be safe or an empty shop with no customers.
She said the day turned out to have a steady flow of great people, conversations and products.
“It’s been awesome, incredible really,” she said. “We’ve talked to a bunch of different people and had some really great conversations and it’s just been a wonderful day.”
With a hope to give local vendors a chance to reach more customers, the Twelvepole Trading Post opened its doors Saturday, Nov. 28, showcasing 19 different vendors from throughout West Virginia.
Ferguson, co-owner of Twelvepole Trading Post, said the shop is a chance for people to find unique gifts for the holiday season.
“We have everything from maple syrup and maple candies, to pottery, to a lot of stuff from different artists,” she said. “We have a seamstress who’s made pillows; freshly baked bread; soaps and lotions from the local monastery; woodwork and just a good variety of products. This is definitely an opportunity to find things that they (customers) wouldn’t have otherwise found in Wayne or other areas.”
Located at 7355 WV 152, Ferguson said while the shop is only open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays for now, people can also sign up for virtual and in-person shopping appointments by contacting her at 304-360-9809.
Park Ferguson, Ferguson’s husband and another co-owner of Twelvepole Trading Post, said he hopes the shop turns into a local staple for the community — but the owners are not trying to rush into fast business.
“We’re looking to become a place where people can stop and get their meats or their drinks, maple syrup or whatever they want and take it to some of the tourist locations,” Park Ferguson said. “But we’re not pushing too hard too soon. We’re just trying to let the shop grow organically and change as the demand increases. Right now we’re just keeping costs low and getting a feel for how things could go at this point.”
Lacy and Park are both board members of ACCESS West Virginia, a nonprofit organization focused on helping small businesses get started and focusing on sustaining systems such as farming and agriculture.
Lacy said it has not been just the couple putting work into the new shop, but there have been multiple people and organizations involved with getting Twelvepole ready for opening day.
She said the goal of the shop is to help her other small business, Elmcrest Farm, as well as other businesses sell products — especially those whom may be struggling more this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our goal is to one, move our own products from Elmcrest Farm, but to also help a lot of other small vendors who don’t have a lot of opportunity and need it, too,” she said. “A lot of these people would normally have set up at a fair or a festival or a Christmas bazaar, and they’d have holiday sales, but that didn’t happen this year, so we’re helping them create a sales outlet that didn’t previously exist.”
Park said while the shop is mainly handcrafted items that make good gifts for the holidays, the business plan includes expansion to allow more access to different demands throughout the year.
He said the items currently in the shop will stay, but more will be added as each season comes.
“There are a lot of plans for expansion, and it’s going to evolve throughout the seasons,” he said. “Right now, it’s gift-like stuff because we’ve got Christmas coming. But in the spring, it will be more of like a farm and garden center and the gifts and stuff will stay but people will also see plants and seeds and stuff like that.
“Then of course a farmers market will be here in the summer once there’s more fresh produce, and we hope to sell meats.
“It’s just going to continue to grow and evolve.”
Park added that Saturday consisted of a lot of friends coming to see the new shop, and he hopes to reach out to other demographics as business grows.
Lacy said she is excited to see what the future looks like for Twelvepole Trading Post and added that the owners are always looking for new vendors interested in selling their products in Wayne County.