CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The market for authentic West Virginia products is big business in Los Angeles these days. Young entrepreneurs Kristan Cunningham and Scott Jarrell, both originally from Boone County, found out for themselves when they launched their new store, Hammer and Spear.
Cunningham, a regular on HGTV's "Design on a Dime" show, said the name of the store indicates both who they are and what they do. "Hammer" is her nickname, and "Spear" is a play on the meaning of Jarrell's last name.
She said she and Jarrell design, build, hunt and curate their goods. The store's tagline is "builders and hunters of lovely goods."
"We've been referred to as the new general store," said Cunningham. "We carry everything from a $6,000 set of Karl Springer gold-leaf chairs to Ordinary Evelyn's Apple Butter."
"Apple butter is nonexistent in California," said Jarrell. "No one here even knows what that is."
Originally the couple planned to do tastings of Ordinary Evelyn's apple and pumpkin butters -- two West Virginia products they carry in their store -- but they haven't needed to.
"People come in, see the 'Made in West Virginia' sticker and they are curious," Cunningham said.
The other featured West Virginia product flying off their shelves is Allegheny Treenware, a line of kitchen goods created by Sue and Stan Jennings.
Cunningham and Jarrell have been customers of the Jenningses for years. According to Cunningham, Allegheny Treenware embodies one of the mantras of their lives.
"You don't need to live with expensive things, necessarily, but the things that you interact with and truly take part of your life every day, the things you touch and love and truly play into your everyday life? That is where you should spend your money," she said.
Allegheny Treenware includes such things as spoons, cutting boards, toast tweezers, coffee scoops and oven jacks. Clever and beautifully made, the items are both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional.
"When we were very poor, and even when we did very well, these were the things that when we went home, even when we couldn't afford much, we could afford these things, and we could afford to live with beautiful things. That is why it is so important to have that line in our shop," Cunningham said.
Couples starting out in their first home may not be able to afford several thousand dollars for a sofa or coffee table, but they can still live with these little luxuries. That is what Cunningham and Jarrell strive to offer.
Hammer and Spear crosses the barrier from exclusive showroom to a residential experience.
"The experience of our shop is to walk in and be inspired. It feels very residential and homey with a fireplace in the middle. It offers a definite vibe," Cunningham said.