Made in Martinsville, a new store in Uptown Martinsville, will provide a place for local artists and artisans to sell their goods.
When Forrest Forschmiedt and his wife decided to downsize from the hustle and bustle of life in Seattle, they moved to Greensboro. With a background in small business management and accounting, Forschmiedt was no stranger to the inner workings of local businesses and how they operated. He was also no stranger to creativity, creating and selling his own goods.
“For probably the last six or seven years now, I have been doing my own handcraft things, making handcrafted soaps and doing woodcrafts, and working farmers markets, gift shows, that type of thing,” he said.
At these events, Forschmiedt was surrounded by people with similar goals and passions, and was able to get a sense for what people in these professions felt was missing. “I met lots of other people who, like me, wanted more regular places to display and to sell their goods instead of waking up early on a Saturday morning and carting everything up and packing up at the end of the day,” he said.
When he and his wife downsized yet again and moved to Martinsville, he discovered a need in his new community. “When we got here in Martinsville, I saw that there wasn’t another place like this,” he said. “There was a real need for a place that brought all the goods of the fantastic local and regional makers to the public.”
The concept of the store, a little shop for local handmade products, was not a new idea for Forschmiedt. However, as he became more involved in the scene of local artists and makers, his perception of what the store should be and what the community needed began to shift.
“It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for at least four or five years, kind of along with my own craft business, thinking about how nice it would be to have a little craft business like this,” he said. “It really evolved from opening a little soap store with my own soaps to realizing that that probably wouldn’t be enough to really make a real good store. When I started talking to people at craft shows and farmers markets, I realized that it wasn’t just about me, that there’s a ton of talented people who needed representation.”
Made in Martinsville offers a wide variety of products from all sorts of local makers. Forschmiedt does not limit local artists to what they can sell in his store. “Because there are so many people making so many things, the door’s open for whatever will fit through the door,” he said. “Be it furniture, jams and jellies, locally roasted coffee, paintings, greeting cards, pottery, all sorts of different things are in here now and I expect all sorts of different things are going to come in here in the future.”
Even with all of the hard work Forschmiedt has put into the creation of this business, he makes it clear that it was not all him. “The biggest thing is this is not something I did by myself or could do by myself,” he said. “It’s all about community and the outpouring of support that I’ve gotten from the people and organizations in the area.”
Forschmiedt mentioned many people and organizations who were instrumental in helping him get started, including Kathy Deacon of the Uptown Partnership, the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, the Gauntlet program at the Advancement Foundation, and Michael Scales at the Longwood Small Business Development Center.
While he has goals to keep filling up his shop and be a good resource for locals, Forschmiedt says that he believes the small feel of the store as it is now is what gives it its charm and purpose. “Honestly, I think long term, I don’t have grand plans to turn this into some monolithic business,” he said. “I am really enamored with the community aspect of it. It’s just so important to be a part of the community and support the community.”
Made in Martinsville is located at 105 E Main Street, Martinsville. Their hours and some of their products can be found at their website www.madeinmartinsville.com or on their social media.