A business built
I love writing about businesses that come with a good story and this week, I have a great one. Alex and Catherine Kisenyi have opened a new event space called The Loving at 1044 Starlight Road. It's a business based right here in McMinnville but its story begins in Uganda.
Catherine explained to me how it all happened. "My husband is Ugandan. We met while I was teaching in Uganda for three years. We got married in Iceland and then came back to the Warren County where we've settled and started our family. I grew up here and went to school at Warren County High School. My parents are David and Theresa Hill. Mom owns Family Care Clinic."
Upon returning to her roots after some time out of country, Alex and Catherine began exploring business options. "We've been here for a few years now and we've been doing some house flipping projects. We noticed a church came up for sale two years ago so we went out and looked at it and we loved it. We really loved its background. It's a historically Black church, started in 1862. The original location was just across the railroad tracks from where it is located now. The building we bought was built in the 1960s and was called Martin Charge. It was a Methodist church," Catherine said.
While now serving as an event space, the Kisenyis feel its very important to honor the history of the building and its legacy in Warren County.
"There is a plaque on the building that shows the date it was built and we didn't put siding on it so it will remain visible. The Black History Museum has done a great job getting us some information about it so we could see what the church used to look like and what some of its history is. We want to have a wall in The Loving that is dedicated to honoring the history of the church and past members of the church. We've been asking people for any pictures they may have taken there or any pictures former members might have from functions there. Wayne Wolford, curator of the Black History Museum, told us he remembers getting fire wood for the church's stove as a young boy," Catherine said.
"We bought it in 2021 and at first thought it could be a cute airbnb space but then we decided it's better as a venue. We've done extensive renovations on it and have given it more of a modern feel," Catherine said.
While it is a smaller venue than some others in Warren County, some events are better held in a more intimate setting and The Loving offers up the perfect setting for those gatherings. "It's a great space for birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, graduation parties; we can accommodate pretty much anything," Catherine said.
The Kisenyis have put much love and thought into every detail of the space and that goes all the way to the name of the venue. "We named it The Loving after Richard and Mildred Loving who won the court case which ruled interracial marriages were legal in the United States. My husband and I being an interracial couple, that is important to us and we feel like it also pays tribute to the Black history that is such a big part of the building. I run the Black Student Union at WCHS and am an advisory member for the Black History Museum," Catherine said.
The Kisenyis are excited about the prospect of their new business while also getting to help preserve a piece of Warren County history. "I'm happy that we get to be a part of preserving the church and that we can bring it into a new life and help tell its story. We've been working on it for well over a year and have just recently opened. Right now, we do appointment only for people who want to view it before renting it. My husband, Alex, is running it and he can be contacted at (931) 743-0384.
A krafty new
There's been a lot of talk lately about the future of Three Star Mall but the present is seeing some exciting new additions as well. Daylon Chandler, a Warren County native, has recently opened The Krafty Hut in the location formerly occupied by Sam's Deli & Sweet Box Bakery.
Daylon has had a lifelong love of crafts and her hobby eventually grew to the point she decided to turn it into a profession. "I started doing crafting at my house for three years or so and it just kept growing. I knew I wanted to have my own shop one day and when the opportunity arose and my husband agreed, I took the opportunity," Daylon said.
Daylon explored many options for the location of her store but knew home is where her heart is. "I had been looking in Murfreesboro, Tullahoma and Manchester but I knew McMinnville was where I wanted to be. I had searched for a couple of weeks when someone told me to check out Three Star Mall. I did and I knew that was the spot. I want the mall to be a success and I want other business to come join us here," Daylon explained.
Her first spot at the mall was a short-lived stay, leading to her current location. "I was originally next to the hair salon for two weeks and quickly outgrew that spot so I asked about moving to the spot I'm currently in," Daylon said.
While Daylon displays her creations in the store, she also offers items from many other vendors. "A lot of people do crafts but craft fairs are often so hot and tiring, so I run the store and let other crafters rent a space and I sell their items for them. I make tumblers, shirts, pens, door signs, aroma bead air freshies and much more. I love doing custom orders. My other vendors also offer tumblers and shirts as well as baby items, wreaths, hand-made cards, hair bows, wax melts, bar soap, facial cleansers and much more. I do my best to keep all my vendors local," Daylon said.
The Krafty Hut's vendors include Sister Forever Crafts, Puff Bowtique, Tumblers N Treasures, JP's Designs, Bless Your Heart Design & Co., 3810 Bath & More, Little Posie Boutique and Freshies by Lex.
The Krafty Hut is open Monday - Saturday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Daylon can be contacted for custom orders at email@example.com or (931) 224-1410. Daylon welcomes everyone to come see her at Three Star Mall and says has a special offer for Business Pulse readers. "Tell me you saw The Krafty Hut in Business Pulse and you'll get 20 percent off your total," Daylon said.
Until next time,
same biz time,
same biz page
Thanks again for reading and for all the kind words of encouragement. If you have a business or know of one you'd like to see featured on this page, please let me know at (931) 473-2191 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll wrap this week's column up by offering a hearty congratulations to the class of 2023!