Maker's Market in Middlesboro hopes to diversify area's economy

MIDDLESBORO, Ky (WYMT) - It is the town's latest effort at trying to diversify eastern Kentucky's economy. Discover Downtown Middlesboro, a nonprofit organization, is hoping a new market in downtown Middlesboro will promote buying local.

Next time you drive through Bell County, local craftsman David Dunn hopes you will stop by the Maker's Market.

"It is something that wants to keep the culture alive, our old culture, and I figured that I could contribute a little bit to it that way," said Dunn.

For Dunn, participating in this showcase of eastern Kentucky specialties is a way to share his craft with a greater audience.

"For years, I have had probably 30 or 40 bowls in my house laying around, not doing anything. But I would like to extend that out to other people," said Dunn.

That is a sentiment jewelry maker and market volunteer Michelle Evans understands completely.

"You know, when you go to a flea market, they do not want to pay what something is really worth. They are looking for a bargain and so for a long time, I did not sell my stuff. I just made it," said Evans.

But now she says there is quite literally a market for her products.

"When we first opened, I made sales almost every day we were open," said Evans.

The two say this grant funded project gives them hope that their local economy can finally turn around.

"People are buying products that are machine made and made overseas, but we really need to start going back and buying handmade things by people here in the US and in Kentucky in particular," said Evans.

The market is open every Saturday. Next week, they will have demonstrations by artists, who sell their work at the market.


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