By Lorri Drumm
The Meadville Tribune, Pa.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Three buildings in Conneautville’s Market Village house local entrepreneurs who hope to soon be joined by other village shops to create the town’s own Market Village where shoppers can wonder about the mini town and find an assortment of local wares.
One savvy shopper snatched up a rare antique Hoosier cabinet with copper-lined drawers Thursday morning at Buddy Mouse Creations and Collectibles.
“He was in looking at it last week,” Karen Hanna said excitedly of the cabinet she refurbished after she did her own snatching from a garage sale. Hanna claims to be the “Buddy” in the shop’s name.
That shopper might have sensed that word is getting out about the distinctive items available within the three buildings that line the grounds of Canal Park, just north of Conneautville on Route 18. He made sure he got that cabinet while the gettin’ was good.
The Hoosier might be sold, but Hanna and her partners at Buddy Mouse, Samantha Paskorz and Marilyn (Mouse) Vennare, claim to have lots more projects to add to the treasures for future shoppers.
Each of the three buildings in Conneautville’s Market Village house local entrepreneurs who hope to soon be joined by other village shops to create the town’s own Market Village where shoppers can wonder about the mini town and find an assortment of local wares.
The Buddy Mouse shop that occupies a spot between two other shops opened in May. The three women who run the shop are rookies to the world of owning and running a business. Opening a shop seemed like the perfect way to combine their talents, according to Paskorz.
“Karen and my mom did crafts,” Paskorz said. “Mom was also an antique collector.”
The shop features antiques, vintage items, artwork, refurbished furniture and things you may not find anywhere else.
Just one door south of the Buddy Mouse shop is Josie Graff Jewelry Design. Graff was the first of the three shops to open in December.
“I opened up right after a snow storm,” she said.
Graff has been designing and creating jewelry since she was 14.
“You can imagine how excited I was when I found out I could major in jewelry design in college,” she said. Graff earned a bachelor of arts degree in jewelry/metals from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Graff works primarily in hypoallergenic sterling silver and uses textures, gemstones and fine silver granulation to accent her designs.
The northernmost village shop is home to BowerHouse Creations. Tom and Tina Bowersox opened the shop at the end of June. Tina Bowersox sells her creations at various shows and gallerias, but the shop provided an opportunity to have a permanent location to display her goods.
Bowersox started about seven years ago using wire to create wearable art. She now uses wire and other mediums to create sun catchers, wire sculpture pictures, other home decor and jewelry.
Trees are a constant source of inspiration for Bowersox.
Paskorz won’t take credit for the idea of a Market Village, but, as a member of the Conneaut Valley Revitalization Committee, she played a significant role in bringing it to life.
“It really all started with Crawford County Planning Commission meetings,” Paskorz said. “They told us a comprehensive plan hadn’t been done since the 1970s. They asked us what we wanted to do.
“I went to church and asked my pastor if he had any ideas,” she said. “He asked me if I’d ever seen the Tionesta Market Village.”
Paskorz hadn’t seen it, but a trip for her and other committee members was all that was needed to inspire a similar venture in the Conneautville area.
The Tionesta Market Village occupies a downtown Tionesta lot that was destroyed by fire about 10 years ago. It currently has 10 shops that sell everything from handmade items to wine.
Paskorz pointed out a major difference in how the local village is being created.
“Tionesta started out with a $40,000 grant,” she said. “We are creating our village through fundraising.”
Matt Davison and Zach Pyle, both members of the Conneaut Valley Economic and Industrial Development Authority, have been integral in fundraising for the project, according to Paskorz.
“Matt has done a great job getting donations and Zach is our grant-writer,” she said.
“We’re a work in progress, but business is starting to pick up,” Davison said. The plan for the village is to have seven to nine permanent buildings on site, Davison said. He added that he’s been talking with some local people about setting up a fresh produce stand.
Special events are also being planned at the Market Village, with the first one happening today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors to today’s sale can find handmade jewelry, repurposed furniture, handbags, macrame, wood scroll items, chalk board paintings, alpaca yarn items, clothing, plants and more.