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LaGrange Living: Burrow Warehouse hosts its first holiday event

Editor’s note: This story was featured in the December 2020 / January 2021 issue of LaGrange Living.

A newly opened event venue in West Point gave holiday shoppers a chance to buy local for the Christmas season. 

Toward the end of November, Burrow Warehouse hosted its first Merry Market filled with handmade goods, crafts and holiday décor. 

“When we decided to have a venue, part of the goal was to help be a catalyst in this community,” said co-owner Kesha Coniglio. “We live in West Point, and we see the things that we love about this area. We know that there are people around the outside of our county and even in Troup County that don’t come here very often. If we can have a venue and help be a catalyst in the community to help put on other events, draw people here, then it spreads so much wealth in the community.” 

The Burrow Warehouse is an industrial warehouse that sits in right on the Georgia, Alabama line seconds away from the Chattahoochee River.

Michael Coniglio and his wife, Kesha, closed on the building on New Year’s Eve 2020, purchasing the former Chattabrewchee Southern Brewhouse building from Mike and Kathy Denehy.  They’ve been planning on having such a business for the past two years and believe they have the perfect place for a new event center on West 4th Avenue. The Coniglios moved to West Point from LaGrange in 2013. 

The Coniglios salvaged the history and preserved the elements that make the building unique. From exposed brick walls to cement floors and open exposed wood ceilings, the 10,000 square foot building creates a rustic charm for any event, including a holiday market. 

“Years ago, I participated in a Merry Market in LaGrange and we knew we would love to have something like that in this area,” Coniglio said. 

The Merry Market at the venue was a spur-of-the-moment decision due to COVID-19 impacting rules and regulations for inside events. 

“We didn’t know how everything would be with COVID,” Coniglio said. “It turned out really well. We were really picky about our vendors. It was a juried booth to select all the vendors that came in to sell their goods.”  

Coniglio said they had a high number of vendors apply to sell their goods at the market. 

“Next year, we hope to even grow it even bigger than what it is this year,” Coniglio said. “This year we had a lot of local artisans and homemakers. Some of them sold retail items. We tried to pick just one vendor for every type of expertise.” 

S&C Designs owner Sydney Cook sold ornaments, cutting boards and Christmas signs. Cook said she sold way more than originally anticipated. 

“Having local markets like this supports our small business and shows just how amazing our community is,” Cook said. “It gives an opportunity to the small business owners to reach out to a different crowd rather than having our typical online customers.” 

Kelly McClung who just started her own small business, Bracelets by Kelly, was able to grow her clientele because of the market. 

“I sold bracelets, pacifier clips and mask lanyards,” McClung said. “I did relatively well I thought and a lot of people have reached out after because they took my card and contacted me after via my social media.” 

McClung said when given the opportunity, people are willing to and like to shop local.  

“People are so willing to shop and support local if it’s presented to them in the form of a market or something similar,” McClung said. 

“I feel it also brings people together as a community to see that we have so many creative and skillful people and may inspire people to uncover a talent they may not know they have.”

Coniglio said all she heard during the market was how successful the vendors were. 

“We went around and they all would love to participate in this next year,” Coniglio said. “That makes my heart happy, that not just one vendor is thriving, that everybody’s doing good. We had more than 1,000 people walk through our doors to shop.” 

During shut downs and stay at home orders, the country saw a spike in DIY’s, homemakers and people picking up new hobbies. 

“There has been a tremendous amount of people that are wanting to support their local people, whether they have a local business, or they work from their home and sell online,” Coniglio said. “Things like this draw people out, and I think that a lot of businesses have been closed, a lot of activities, fundraising events and just everything has been canceled. So people were eager to come out and shop, participate, have fun and even see their friends.” 

Coniglio said that at the end of the day, it’s all about getting people in the Christmas spirit. 

“We are very thankful for the community and all the people that have helped us,” Coniglio said. 

“We look forward to all the activities that we want to do next year. We have different events that we’re putting on the books already and if anybody has suggestions of something they have been to outside of the area and want to see it here, we are always open to suggestions.”