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Hidden Creek Mercantile brings new life, art to historic Hurricane site

By Ali Schmitz, Staff Writer

One historic Hurricane building has been brought back to life as a store featuring local and female artisans, meeting space and a cafe.

Hidden Creek Mercantile on Main Street opened this week after months of renovating the former home of Main Street Art Studio.

But the building’s history goes back even further, the owners of Hidden Creek, Karen Workman and Steve Neu, said. The building was originally two separate buildings, constructed in the 1890s. In the 1920s, the International Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, two national fraternal organizations, purchased the two buildings and connected them.

They added a second floor to the new connected building, with an outdoor staircase. The second floor served as lodge hall for members for decades, while the first floor housed different businesses over the years.

Workman and Neu, who also own Hurricane-based Blind Wizard, purchased the building last summer. As they began planning what they wanted for Hidden Creek, they took efforts to honor the history of the building.

One half of the first floor is an eatery offering organic food like juices and smoothies, partially created in honor of a general store that used to be in the first floor of the building. The other half is a shop that sells art. The majority of the items in the shop are created by artists from West Virginia or women.

“We’re trying to create a hub that promotes and creates that talent,” Workman said.

The second floor of the building is a meeting space again. The Copper Room is available for rent for meetings, parties and other events. It holds up to 70 people.

“We need a space like this in Hurricane,” Workman said. “We don’t have a space where you can hold a nice wedding reception, or corporate event.”

As Workman and Neu restored the building, they used original materials to construct new items.

Materials from an original wall and floor board were used to construct a juice bar on the first floor of the building. While replacing the brick facade, they kept the original original stone marker for the organizations that once owned the building.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Workman said. “It’s a passion of ours, we think.”

She said people are excited to see how the space has transformed, and surprised to see the changes in the building.

They hope the building can serve as a gathering place in Hurricane, just as it did almost a century ago. Workman said. She said it’s a way for them to give a way to give back to the community that’s been their home for seven years.

Hidden Creek is one of several businesses opening on Hurricane’s Main Street within the last several months. Workman said she can feel how excited the community is with the revitalization of the area.

“Part of what re-energizes and revitalizes a community is the passion and energy of the people involved in it,” Workman said. “You can feel the energy walking up and down this street.”

As they worked on restoring the building, Neu and Workman collaborated with other business owners along the street to see what they thought would benefit the area. They’re partnering with other local businesses to help find caterers, flowers, or other decor items for events held in The Copper Room.

Workman said one of her fondest memories of working with her neighbors was at a city council meeting earlier this year. At the meeting, they were going in front of the council to get approval to sell beer and wine at events. Other business owners and community members came to the meeting to support Neu and Workman.

“That was pretty moving to see that type of encouragement and support from them,” Workman said.

For more information about Hidden Creek, visit their website at www.hiddencreekmercantile.com.

Reach Ali Schmitz at ali.schmitz@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4843 or follow @SchmitzMedia on Twitter.


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