On the surface, Stanford, Kentucky may look just like any other small town in the state. With a population of just under four thousand people, you really shouldn’t expect much in the way of luxuries—a few shops here, a restaurant there.
Don’t let the size fool you, however, because Stanford has a lot more to offer than you might think. If you’ve read this site for long, you have already probably read about my undying love for Stanford’s own Bluebird Cafe. They’ve been quietly changing the game on small town diner fare with fresh and delicious farm-to-table meals that I am really addicted to. (For the record, no, they don’t pay me to say that, and if they did, I would only take the extra money and spend it on another meal there.)
Meander across the street, however, and you will find another one of the city’s hidden treasures: Kentucky Soaps and Such. This small gift shop offers a wide range of toiletries, books by Kentucky authors, and a dizzying array of Kentucky Proud products. What you may not realize, however, is that all of the soap products are handmade in the store’s basement.
Soap production started out as more of a hobby for the store’s owner, Angela Correll. Her husband Jess was hand milking their goats and a lot of the milk was used in soap production. It quickly grew into something more. Nowadays, the goat’s milk is supplied by my awesome friends at Sweetgrass Granola. Jacob Gahn milks the goats and then hand delivers the milk to the shop on his bike.
The store employs a full time soap maker and they make a genuine effort to avoid the use of unnecessary chemicals in their products. They strive towards using recycled materials in their packaging and are always looking for ways to be more friendly towards the environment. (To make things easy for you, a typical store-bought bar of soap might have twenty or thirty ingredients, whereas a bar from this store has between five and ten) They are always experimenting with new products and new production methods. When I was there, they were trying out some natural dyes to color their soaps.
I wanted to highlight Kentucky Soaps and Such because when you go visit the Bluebird (and you WILL, won’t you?), I didn’t want you to miss this little spot across the street. I had the lovely opportunity to meet Angela, the owner, and her commitment to her community was refreshing. She and her husband have used their financial resources to create the Stanford that they want to live in. By investing in businesses like the Bluebird and Kentucky Soaps and Such, they are putting their money where their values are. Local and natural is important to them, but so is providing economic opportunities for others in their area.
To me, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. Why would you go buy a bar of soap manufactured in some far-off plant by total strangers in possibly deplorable work conditions? The soap, filled with toxic ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, is then shipped across the country (or possibly the world). Instead, you can support a Kentucky business that is in turn supporting farmers like my good friends Jacob and Carolyn while giving you a product that is better for you and priced competitively.
Not all of us can afford to open businesses, but each of us can choose to patronize small, local businesses that are concerned with people as well as the environment. There are quite a few boutique soap shops around the state, and I know Mrs. Correll does not want all of your business to go to her—find the soapmaker closest to you and buy today! (If you can’t find someone, however, Kentucky Soaps and Such does process online orders on their website.)
When I told the beautiful ladies at Kentucky Soaps and Such that I would be writing this post, they wanted to share a little something with you. They’ve generously donated a $75 gift basket to one lucky reader. The Kentucky-shaped basket (could it get any more perfect?) includes a wide selection of their products for you to sample. To enter to win, leave us a comment on this post with the name of your favorite Kentucky small business. To earn additional entries, you can like Sustainable Kentucky and Kentucky Soaps and Such on Facebook—just be sure to leave a comment letting us know that you did! We will pick a winner at random on August 9th.
Visit the Kentucky Soaps and Such website for more information on their business and to place an online order.
Comments are closed. Maggie Ashmore was the winner of this beautiful gift basket!