FAIRMONT — In the mid-2000s, Cheri Bennett sold crafts out of her home in Rivesville, filling orders for people who wanted a homemade touch.
While she stopped to be a stay-at-home-mom around 2006, Bennett has returned to crafting with a shop in Fairmont, Classy Creations, where she makes custom items like signs, pillows, wreaths and flower bouquets.
"I carry a little bit of everything," Bennett said. "I try to do most of the stuff in here, at least 80 to 90 percent, homemade stuff. That's what I want in here, something that someone else isn't going to do."
Bennett opened her shop at 217 Fairmont Ave. the week after Mother's Day, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. She said she had been working to open the shop since the beginning of 2020, and when the opportunity opened through the availability of a shop space, she had to take it.
"I just started making and making and making," Bennett said. "It was all in the process the first of the year. I was on a roll and then it all stopped."
Despite the challenge of opening a new craft business during the pandemic, Bennett said she has been doing well so far. The location is one of the shop's best assets, because it is in a place that many people pass by on a daily basis.
"The location turned out to be great," Bennett said. "The people in Fairmont are amazing, and surrounding places. I've had calls from around the state off of Google."
Bennett's crafts are on display for viewing in the shop window, as well as a back room where she does the bulk of her floral arranging work. Because she takes special requests for items, the area can get messy. But the alternative to this system is turning down a request, which Bennett said she doesn't want to do.
"You just do what you've got to do," Bennett said. "I don't want to lose my business period, let alone for COVID, or telling somebody 'No,' or whatever the reason may be."
The result of Bennett's constant crafting has been a base of loyal customers, from individuals to some funeral homes in the area that use her floral services. This has kept her busy, while many small businesses struggle through the pandemic.
"I've done really great here," Bennett said. "I had a lot of stuff when COVID hit because everything came to a standstill."
Bennett said she wants to be part of Fairmont's up and coming shopping scene, seeing that businesses have been popping up in and around the downtown area for the past year or so. She said the benefit of being a small business in the pandemic is people can come in without having to worry about running into a big crowd.
"The perks are there's not many of us," Bennett said. "We are a small town, people still need things. People are wanting to get out, and I'm not packed, so you can come in here and you're not going to come in here and run into a million people."
Bennett has enjoyed being able to return to craft work, and is looking forward to seeing more people find a hidden gem in her shop. To her, it is her livelihood to help people make that 'great find.'
"For me it's not just a business, it's a livelihood and I want you to tell," Bennett said. "It is what it is and I've put my heart into it."
Classy Creations is open from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the shop can be reached by calling 304-534-8971.