By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor

Pictured above and below are samples of what will be available at the Urban Market on August 17, 18 & 19.  Urban Market is located at 413 Pike Street in Shinnston.   It’s something you won’t want to miss!!!

Some time ago, when Shinnston’s Home Style owner Melissa Aldridge closed her second business right door (Urban Farmhouse), she continued to rent that space, knowing that she had other plans in mind for it.

Since that time, that space has provided ample room for her to hold craft classes as well as painting classes where participants could utilize a painting product she sells called Rethunk Junk.  Her next use of that space is to hold what she is calling an “Urban Market”, and it is drawing lots of enthusiasm!  Passersby are dying to take a peek at what treasures are hidden behind the paper-covered windows.  Melissa is guarding the contents, though, and strongly warns that there will be NO early sales.

So what exactly is this Urban Market?  She explains that it is a pop-up shop of a new style of merchandise, but one that is trending in today’s decorating market.  If you have watched and enjoy the show ‘Fixer Upper’ on HGTV starring Chip and Joanna Gaines, then you are going to love what Urban Market has to offer!

Items for sale will include furniture items, pottery, galvanized containers, tin signs, simple accessories – an industrial look that adds country charm to a home.  The colors you’ll find will be shades of white and gray with a pop of cheery green here and there.  It lends a classic yet comfortable touch to the farmhouse style.

“This style is very popular today,” Melissa said, “but it is often difficult to find a lot of these pieces.  Items like windmills are ‘in’ and so are galvanized decorative accessories.  We’ll have plenty of that at the Urban Market in mid-August.”

Galvanized metal décor has been around a long time. Just think back to days of old when farmers had huge barns with metal roofs and equipment and they utilized galvanized tubs; they were long-lasting and durable – even when they got a little rusty!   Now it has become trendy for accessorizing; it adds a simple charm within the home and embraces the farmhouse style.  The decorating world has discovered that even rusty things can be pretty too!

Melissa explains, “My Urban Market is going to be much like a farmer’s market.  Every time you go to a farmer’s market, you may see different produce that is in season.  Comparably, every time you visit my monthly Urban Market, there too you will find something different during each visit.”

August’s Urban Market will be held August 17th – 19th with the following hours: on Thursday, Aug. 17th, Urban Market will be open from 5 to 8 p.m.; on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 18th & 19th, hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.   The public is invited to come and see this mix of the old and the new, but be aware that what you see this month may not be available next month!

Urban Market’s September dates are already scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7th, 8th & 9th with the same hours.  In September the pop of color will be shades of gold and brown.  Although November and December dates have not been set yet, both months will feature pops of red to spice things up somewhat.

Speaking of spicing things up, Melissa’s other business, Home Style, is already abundant with autumn displays!

“As soon as school starts, everyone begins to think ‘fall’, so we’re ready for it with pumpkins, scarecrows and garlands and wreaths in rich, fall colors,” she said.

Her business in Shinnston has been very successful and will soon be entering its 8th year.

“I opened on September 23, 2009 just in time for Frontier Days that year,” she remarked.  “It has really been a blessing to do business here, and one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t be successful by offering the same thing all the time.  That would not make my business thrive, nor would it make me happy … so that’s why I’m testing the waters by offering Urban Market.  It’s something new and different for this area.”

Melissa tries to stay current and she flourishes with consistently new ideas.  Each year, she and her husband attend a small business conference in Michigan, learning from other business owners and benefitting from the exchange of ideas.

“Each time I return from one of these conferences, my mind is reeling! In fact, that is where I got the idea for my Gold Card Rewards program, which, after their 6th purchasing visit, gives 10% back to customers via an in-store gift certificate,” she explained.

Classes continue at the Urban location and, once again, she steers towards what is popular.  What is popular now appears to be string art, and classes in August and September will be teaching that technique.   It is simple to do and very therapeutic, she says.  Samples of what class participants can make are on display at her Home Style location on Pike Street in Shinnston.  (Hint/hint – if your heart lies in West Virginia, you’ll love what you can make!)  Class size is limited to just twelve, and August dates are already filled to capacity, so now is the time to sign up for September’s classes.

Yes, between stocking Home Style with lovely items … Rethunk Junk painting classes … craft classes … and preparing in advance for several months’ worth of Urban Market provisions, Melissa Aldridge is one busy lady, but just like her business, she seems to thrive on it!

Mark your calendars and get ready for Urban Market’s unveiling next week.  If you like the simple touches of the comfortable farmhouse style, you’re going to be delighted with what is behind her windows!  Perhaps you’ll get some ideas to emulate Joanna Gaines and revitalize your home with some cozy farmhouse details.