Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Young Central Appalachian entrepreneur helping revive region, while inspiring others to do the same

Jennifer Noble is one of a growing number of young entrepreneurs opening businesses in Central Appalachia and helping to revive the economies of towns depleted by the loss of coal jobs. Noble, born and raised in Hazard in Eastern Kentucky, opened Treehouse Café and Bakery three years ago and has found success with a business that serves healthy, natural foods in an area that isn't known for being health conscious. (Atlantic photo by Alana Semuels: Treehouse Café and Bakery)

When she was 24, Noble said she had a choice whether to go to New York to pursue a painting career or move back home to Hazard, Karyn Knecht reports for The Hazard Herald. Noble told Knecht, "New York didn’t need another artist, but I felt Hazard needed something different.”

After seeing photos of downtown Hazard during the coal boom of the 1960s, Noble said she chose downtown for her business because she wanted to see Main Street come back to life, Knecht writes. Noble told her, “I just imagined having a business, a storefront, on Main Street. Something that would bring people joy.”

Many people were skeptical that a business that didn't serve anything fried and instead served hummus would flourish in coal country, but it has, Knecht writes. And Noble has remained true to her roots, buying ingredients from local farmers. She told Knecht, “I think we do have more people come in when we advertise that we use local ingredients. . . . I think everyone appreciates that we’re keeping the money local."

Noble, who has become actively involved in promoting and supporting the region, told Knecht, “I always try to inspire young people to get involved. . . . I want them to want to be involved and to help make it a better place because it’s where their children are going to grow up, where my children are going to grow up. We need to make it better for them.” (Read more)

1 comment:

Mountain Justice said...

They should sell Ale 8 One