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Country store focuses on supplying customers with quality folk art

Published: July 1, 2010 4:52 PM
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As she points to items in her downtown Berlin store Harvest Moon, Cathy Coe can talk about many of the vendors who fill her store with handmade goods. Some have become close friends and others are much closer. Her husband, Dale, provides antique window mirrors and caramels sold at the front counter while her mother sells Amish dolls and crocheted doilies.

"I'm picky about what I bring in here," Coe said. "My house looks a lot

like this."

The store looks deceivingly small, but its long, narrow frame holds several theme rooms stocked with anything from Ohio State University wares, kitchen supplies, decorations and teddy bears to Christmas trimmings.

Coe's store opened in 2001 as a large craft mall, but after three years, she decided to go in another direction to see if she could find a niche in the market.

"People don't just pay for hand-crafted anymore," she said.

Although Coe said the craft industry has been suffering, her store definitely supports small, homegrown enterprises. A young Amish mother makes aprons, baby blankets and Amish-style dresses for little girls to sell in the store, and Jason Harrold, an EMT from Apple Creek, supplies Coe with baskets he makes in his spare time.

Harry Gorby, who is one of Coe's vendors, makes frames for his wife's company, Caroline's Collectibles. Gorby retired from working for the United States Postal Service and said he never would have dreamed a part-time hobby would give him full-time work.

For the past 15 years, Gorby has been making frames for country art prints and distributing them to stores around Appalachia and some a little farther east.

"Now folk art is my little corner of the world," he said.

Gorby said he's been working with Coe longer than any of his other customers. (He corrected himself after calling Coe the "oldest customer" and assured her she was the "longest standing.")

Coe admits she focuses on drawing in products that are manufactured as close as possible to her store for multiple reasons. For one, she's concerned tourists who pass through Berlin get a genuine feel for area craftsmanship.

"I'd rather have all local," Coe said. "I think that's what Berlin is about."

And for the things Coe can't find locally, she takes pride in handpicking merchandise after studying companies like Willow Tree, Bearington Bears and Wood Wick Candle.

Without a doubt, though, Coe gets the biggest charge from interacting with people -- whether they're her vendors or her Irish regulars who pay her a visit each year.

On the days business is at a lull, Coe will even join visitors who sit outside on the bench in front of her store to chat for a while.

"My favorite part is customer contact," she said. "I love to visit with them. We talk grandkids -- whatever."

Harvest Moon is located at 4792 E. Main St. in Berlin 44610. For more information call 330-893-3711 or visit the store website at

www.harvestmoonofberlin.com.


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