The Palace in downtown Middlesboro has been a mainstay for artisans and crafters since December 2014. It will be closing its doors on Dec. 31 and hopefully opening with a new face and new name in Spring 2017.
Before The Palace, the concept and artisans shop was known as the Makers Market.
“I was so intrigued with how many people have arts and crafts and talents to share, that I just fell in love with it. I wanted to help,” said Jeannie Allen with The Palace.
At its inception, The Palace was funded through a New York Community Trust grant which will be ending at the end of 2016. It was run through a partnership with Discover Downtown Middlesboro, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP) and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.
“With this, we were able to bring in a full-time and a part-time person. We also brought in some very qualified partners to teach entrepreneurs how to sell online and how to run a business. We’ve had over 200 artisans and crafters to come in since we started,” said Allen.
Allen estimates that 85 percent of the crafters are still involved with The Palace today.
She is currently in the process of applying for another grant and, if The Palace receives this grant, the partnership with SKCTC will continue but the partnership with DDM and EKCEP will be ending.
Additionally, if The Palace receives the second grant it will be transforming into The Palace Coffee, Cafe and Gift Shop.
“It will not be The Palace we know today, but we are closing down for remodel and to add the coffee shop. We’ll hopefully be back on our feet this spring and better than ever. This is really bittersweet for me,” said Allen.
The Palace hopes to eventually add a hands-on candle shop. Allen believes and hopes that proceeds from the candle shop and the coffee shop will make The Palace of the future sustainable without the assistance from grants.
She also said that without the partnership from the artisans, customers, volunteers and community members, The Palace would not have been possible.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.