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Foothills Crafts eyes moving shop into 21st century

Posted on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 9:05 am

Foothills Crafts member Maureen Pierce works on knitting while volunteering at the store. She has been a member since 1984. -Staff photo by John Coffelt

John Coffelt

Crafting generally focuses more on the traditional than the modern, but the newly installed Foothills Crafts board is looking at ways to update and modernize the gift shop.

The first big addition is developing an online presence with social media and creating the store’s first website,

Meri Lapham, incoming president of the Foothills board, said, “We’ve had travelers from all over the country – actually, world travelers – who have stopped in, which is a testament [to the] notability of the quality that we offer.”

She added, “We are coming into the age of technology and going to be upping our presence with the new Foothills Craft web domain, which will offer our members the opportunity to sell their items online and give them more exposure.”

She commended the previous boards for carrying the shop forward.

“When it comes to transitions, in any organization, there are bumps in the road,” Lapham said. “We’re a strong team and are looking forward to expanding the membership and sales of the shop, while continuing on with the great tradition that was started by the founder Jeanne Webb.

“We really need to get our exposure out there and that is what this board is really working toward,” she said.

To capture the creative minds of youth, the board will begin contacting schools to expand the shop’s classes. She said that many times arts and crafts classes get cut during times of tightening budgets, so it’s important to keep the skills alive.

“Right now they do card classes and some knitting and crotchet classes. We’re looking to build those along with the community.”

Keeping with the shop’s non-profit identity, the board hopes to implement a scholarship for students at Coffee County Central High School students going into the field of the arts.


Foothills, 37 years of quality crafts


This is the 37th year that Foothills Crafts has offered some of the finest crafts that the area has to offer.

Webb originated the shop Oct 1, 1981. It is part of Tennessee Heritage Arts & Craft Trail; Southern Middle Tennessee Resource Conservation & Development Quilt Trail and Tennessee Backroads Heritage. Membership is juried twice a year, once in March and once in September. Current members who branch out into a new craft category must also have theirs juried.

“When we talk about judging, we’re talking about establishing minimum competency for people for people who are crafting,” said board member Randy Gloden. “Does this product represents the competency on the part of the artisan? There are also stipulations about the kind of things that are allowed in the shop.”

The standards committee juries potential items. The board wants to add an additional jurying session.

“They are pretty strict,” Lapham added.

According to the board information, it is “dedicated in generating participation in quality craftwork through class instruction and seminars educating the public in the appreciation of fine crafts and providing facilities through Foothills Craft Members to exhibit and offer their crafts for sale. Juried crafters are qualified as exhibiting members.”


Heralding in the season with annual craft show


Foothills Arts & Crafts Festival is for many the beginning of the Christmas season.  The annual event will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Nov. 10, 11 at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Blvd.

Admission is free as well as parking.

Members and non-members offer gifts that range from clothing to ornaments. Over 42 vendors are scheduled in addition to the annual bake sale fundraiser.

Lunch is prepared by the conference center will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A fundraiser silent auction will be held during the event with results announced at 4 p.m., on Saturday.


Store location, hours


The Foothills Crafts shop, located at 418 Woodbury Hwy (I-24 Exist 110), is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.