By COLBY DENTON
The Museum Center at Five Points discussed the success of its 2017 Open House and a vendor’s giveaway while planning for next year’s festivities. The Museum Center’s Christmas Open House …
The Museum Center at Five Points discussed the success of its 2017 Open House and a vendor’s giveaway while planning for next year’s festivities.
The Museum Center’s Christmas Open House and Artist Showcase was held on Dec. 3, and featured nearly 30 different artists from wood turners to authors. One of these artists was a company called The Spice Rack, which held a drawing for a basket full of their own spices, a $50 value.
“This was a great event, because we not only had all of our artists displaying their wares for the citizens of Cleveland, but we also had a Santa Claus for the kids, the Tennessee Christian Preparatory School’s choir sang for us, and we had almost 500 attendants,” said museum store associate Katie Cortez.
An excellent opportunity to showcase their works, the Open House allows local artists the chance to meet and develop relationships with the public, while also selling their products.
“Regarding The Spice Rack, I know that people who enjoy cooking, such as myself, love testing new spices and trying new things, so I believe that there is a high demand for this sort of product in our community,” stated museum executive director Janice Neyman.
The Spice Rack presented its prize to the lucky winner, McKayla Riley, on Thursday, Dec. 21.
“We have fresh spices that are just the spices, no additives. They are really fresh, and it makes a lot of difference when you are cooking if you are using absolutely fresh spices,” said Spice Rack co-owner Mike Culp. “Using our spices, you get far more flavor with far less spice used than in store-bought brands.”
The business started several years ago and its creation is partially attributed to Mike’s wife Theresa’s diabetes.
“Theresa was needing cinnamon in her diet. Cinnamon in a diabetic’s meals every day helps their diabetes quite a bit,” said Culp. “We were noticing that most places were charging ridiculous amounts for just lame, store-bought cinnamon. We discovered a strain of it called Ceylon cinnamon, which is far superior in taste and quality. Due to our discovery, we are now some of the only carriers of Ceylon cinnamon in the area. The only other carrier is in Knoxville, and they charge double our price. We just blossomed from there!”
Culp states that ordering the spices from overseas sends them through USDA and customs, but also allows them access to the pure, unadulterated spice with no fillers or additives.
The business idea came to the Culps after taking retired veteran Mike McDonald’s course on starting a business through his organization, Veteran Entrepreneurial Training Command, or Vet-Com.
“Mike was so helpful, and really kick-started our idea to begin a business in something we are passionate about,” Culp said. “He also never charges veterans like myself, our spouses or children of veterans for his business course.”
“I know that The Spice Rack was a great artist to hold this drawing, because it gave the winner something interesting and fun to take home with them! I believe that our Open House provides the same thing for attendants, because it’s growing every year with more and more talented people,” said Cortez. “I would love to have more activities in 2018 that engage people, because our gingerbread workshop was a big hit.”
Cortez believes that the spices coming from a local vendor will add value to the products and make them more heartfelt. This year's Open House was also combined with a fundraiser, as a local bakery, Just a Bakery provided gingerbread decorating kits for the attendants.
Santa was there for the children in attendance, and local resident Ronald Derrick helped out at the event.
"People in the community are just so helpful, as we had volunteers from Lee University and Cleveland State!" said Neyman. "'Just a Bakery' was also instrumental to this event, because they donated a gingerbread replica of the Lee chapel, which was auctioned off to benefit the Museum Center.
"The purpose of our Open House is to communicate to the public that our facilities are here for everyone, and that we have artists in our community that need to be recognized," Neyman said.
To be invited to the Open House, current artists are considered first, then the doors to the event are opened to all local artists with an interest in showcasing.
Neyman encourages all artists to come show their products to better market themselves through the Museum Center.
The 2018 Open House is scheduled for the first Sunday of December in the afternoon, as Neyman wants locals to be able to attend church prior to visiting the museum.
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