The WV Marketplace sells West Virginia wares from vendors large and small
At first glance, the inventory at the West Virginia Marketplace, inside Charleston’s Capitol Market, looks indiscriminate. There’s a wide variety of foodstuffs, along with books, postcards, cutting boards, and pottery. There’s a sizable selection of hand-blown glass. There are dog treats. What makes all these things go together?
“If it’s made in West Virginia, we have it,” says Allan Hathaway, the store’s owner. Every single thing sold at the WV Marketplace is made in the state, and Hathaway is willing to stock just about anything that’s made here. The merchandise runs the gamut from the state’s most famous home-grown products—Blenko and Fiestaware, for example—to goods from obscure, small-scale makers. Some of the items aren’t available in a retail outlet anywhere else. Customers often go in to get a product they fell in love with at a fair or festival and then couldn’t find again.
Hathaway is trying to fill the gap between small businesses in West Virginia and locals and visitors who want to buy their wares but don’t know where. Most weekends the shop hosts some sort of live event like a book signing, taste testing, or cooking demonstration to get customers even more actively involved with the community of local artisans. “This is a small business, they’re small businesses, and together we do great things,” Hathaway says. “Maybe not big things, but great things.”
Mountain State Honey
This honey comes from a family beekeeping business in the mountains of Tucker County. The taste varies slightly depending on the hive’s location and the time of year.
Made the old-fashioned way, with all-natural ingredients and a hand mixer, Brookstone soaps come from a husband-wife team in Huntington. The newest variety incorporates another WV Marketplace favorite—salt from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works.
Duck’s Green Tomato and Pepper Butter
“Customers go crazy for this stuff,” says Clare Wegmann, the marketplace’s manager. It’s a riff on traditional pepper butter, made from hot peppers and prepared mustard.
800 Smith Street, Charleston, 304.720.2244; capitolmarket.net/merchants/wv-marketplace
written by Shay Maunz | photographed by zack harold