The Shifflet Cabin in Berea’s Artisan Village has served as a backdrop for local concerts like Pickin’ On the Porch. Next month, the historic structure will soon play an expanded role near the city’s welcome center when it opens as a storefront for two Berea artisans.
Woodturner Tim Wade and broom artisan Justin Dean Burton will set up shop in the cabin, establishing two new craft businesses in the arts/retail district more commonly known as Old Town. Grand opening is slated for June 22. Both Wade and Burton are currently participating Arts Accelerator, program sponsored by the City of Berea and the Berea Tourist and Convention Commission.
Discussions to use the cabin began four months ago when Wade approached the city about opening a storefront for his craft business. At the time, the Shifflet Cabin was being used as storage space, and Wade approached city officials about clearing it out and converting it to a gallery/retail space.
Wade suggested the city could expand the use of the cabin in a way that would open another storefront but also give visitors the chance to see the inside of the building. “A lot of people have never seen a real historic cabin of this type except maybe on TV. This is a great opportunity, and if we can sell some stuff, that’s okay, too,” Wade said.
For the cabin to work as a retail space, some minor upgrades will have to be made, including improving the electrical system, but Wade emphasized nothing will be done that will negatively impact that historical or financial value of the cabin. “I gave my word that when we do vacate it, we’ll leave it better than we found it,” said Wade.
Both Wade and Burton will finish their commitments to the Arts Accelerator program in the fall. In the meantime, the two artists will divide their time between the 123 Gallery on North Broadway and their new retail space in Shifflet Cabin.
Though opening a new storefront is a challenge, Burton believes he and Wade are ready for the challenge. “I’m excited. This building has been sitting here for years, and it’s a good opportunity not only to establish a storefront in Old Town but to share this building with more people,” Burton said.
“We’re going to set it up so it has a very nostalgic atmosphere,” Wade agreed.
The porch of the cabin is a familiar venue for Pickin’ On the Porch, and it will also be a stage for the Levitt AMP Berea Concert Series beginning in July, but Wade and Burton emphasize their new arrangement will not interfere with established events. “Everything everyone is doing here will still happen. Hopefully, we can make it better,” Wade said.
According to a plaque on the site of the structure, the Shifflet Cabin was built around 1813 by Thomas Shifflet in Drowning Creek. It was used as both a home and a country school house. Around 1980, a descendent of Thomas Shifflet, Raymond Layne, moved the structure to Adams Street, where it remained until it was donated to the City of Berea in 2003. It was moved to its current location in front of the Welcome Center.