WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — This shopping shrine for cable television DIY fans is also a tribute to West Virginia craftsmanship.
Barnwood Living, a shop right across from town hall in White Sulphur Springs, is a destination not only for local shoppers but also for international travelers who love “Barnwood Builders” on DIY Network.
“We feel like the store epitomizes what we do as a company — small, hometown, Americana,” said manager Katherine Shelton.
“Barnwood Builders,” a documentary-style series that has completed nine seasons, features a team of builders converting historic barns and log cabins into modern houses.
At the center of the show are Greenbrier County resident Mark Bowe and his team of builders. Bowe’s West Virginia-based company is Antique Cabins and Barns.
As a loyal fan base grew, there was enough demand for a standalone shop selling “Barnwood Builders” swag, as well as handmade products that match the “Work hard. Be kind. Take pride” motto of the program.
Barnwood Living opened almost three years ago, now attracting customers from as far away as England, Australia or Trinidad. As Shelton showed off the shop on a recent Wednesday morning, there was a steady flow of customers.
“Who knew someone in Australia could ever know the names of a bunch of hillbillies in West Virginia,” Shelton joked, “much less wanting to come visit us.”
About 80 percent of the shoppers are fans who have sought out the brick-and-mortar store as a destination, she said, while the remaining 20 percent stop in casually.
When newcomers arrive, the employees at Barnwood Living also direct them toward the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau just down the street to learn more about what the area has to offer.
“We’re really proud of the positive effect we’ve had on our community as well as the state,” Shelton said.
Barnwood Living is one of the many shops around West Virginia that will be participating in Small Business Saturday, the day following the Black Friday shopping rush to remind people of the value of shopping locally.
“The benefit of Small Business Saturday is it draws attention to your local retailers. And it boosts our economy in small towns across the state. It is important for the retailers,” said Bridget Lambert, president of the West Virginia Retailers Association.
“It’s a win for consumers because they don’t have to travel very far to take advantage of the deals that these businesses highlight that day.”
Lambert is, of course, a fan of retailers. But she is also a fan of the “Barnwood Living” television show, as well as of handmade items that can be reconstituted.
“I love Barnwood Builders. It’s a phenomenal company. It shows a very good spotlight in West Virginia,” Lambert said. “And it also shows the value in refurbishing and reusing natural products that are there.”
Shelton said the most popular items at Barnwood Living are Tshirts and hats paying homage to Bowe and the crew of builders. Some may include references to the state of West Virginia.
“They love to rep West Virginia wherever they are,” Shelton said. “We feel we’ve become unofficial ambassadors for our state.”
Some West Virginia-made products, including from Blenko Glass or Fiestaware, are available in the store. More handmade products from local craftsmen, ranging from candles to wooden tables, are also for sale.
“We feel like we get to show off the best of West Virginia,” Shelton said, “to really highlight West Virginia in a positive way.”