Mars Hill – Mars Hill residents Kendall and Brian Chandler worked in local schools for many years, but are now transitioning into second act after retiring from education.
The Chandlers have a business in downtown Mars Hill, Quill and Honey that sells Kendall Chandler’s local natural home and body products, including homemade soap, and other local items from about a dozen local artisans.
Kendall Chandler will retire in June 2022 after teaching in Buncombe County schools for approximately 20 years. Her husband, Brian Chandler, was principal of West Buncombe Primary School, also retiring in 2022.
“Because he retired last year, we can do this together,” Chandler said. “It’s surreal and crazy and wonderful and I love it, but it’s never lived the way I expected it to be, but better. It’s amazing.”
Chandler graduated from Mount Mars University in 2005 and spent two years as a teaching assistant in Buncomb County schools before graduating.
“Quills and honey are my thing, so anything bath and body, it’s something I make in the shop,” says Chandler. “It started organically, experimenting with essential oils and making things with it. So, I started going online and we recently moved here. All the body stuff I make.”
Chandler opens the first week of October 2022.
The building is owned by Mars Hill University, from which Kendall Chandler leased the building.
Quill and Honey showcased the work of many western North Carolina suppliers, including Heart Llama from Leicester, Knotted Moss earrings from English Woodwork Co. Mars Hill, and crafts made from recycled quilts from Roses and Pines of Spruce Pine .
Additionally, the store features SNIG Indie Wear, which offers jewelry, apparel and accessories, as well as apparel from Burnsville’s Magnolia and Wren. Quill and Honey also highlights handcrafted leather goods from Weaverville artisans and fishing rods from Candler’s Trout Cruisers Unlimited.
“For most of them, I met them at the market because I used to do a lot of pop-up markets in the area. Most of the people I met over the years were together at different events,” Qian said. Dele said.
According to Chandler, she started dabbling in homemade soap in 2017.
“In 2017, I named the company,” she said. “Quill is my youngest son and Honey Jo is our second daughter. That’s how we got our name. I started because my husband has sensitive skin. I was messing with essential oils and he asked me to make soap.
Every Monday, I do this little Facebook event called “Make It Monday” where I do a class online that teaches you how to make things with things you have around the house and essential oils. Eventually, people asked me to sell it to them instead of making it myself. So this is how it all started. “
According to Chandler, though, plans to own a business didn’t begin until last year.
“None of this was the plan,” Chandler said. “I wouldn’t even dream of being a shopkeeper in four million years. It’s great, I love it, but I didn’t plan for it. It’s a turning point (in terms of our educational career). Timetable is different. Jobs Is different. Nothing is different. I mean, working with people is essentially the same. We work with little people, now adults.”
Chandler said the community’s acceptance of the new business had been “amazing”.
“It exceeded my expectations,” Chandler said. “There are a lot of good people here. I think the community in general is full of really nice people. I got to get to know people from my husband’s past. It’s been such a pleasure meeting people. They’ve been so kind to me and they’ve been there time and time again To come back one at a time – it blew me away, and every time people came back and got more, it mortified me. It’s something I’ve done and it was a really humbling experience for me.”
Initially, Chandler approached the university to move into the space where the new bar of Rios Mexican Kitchen now stands.
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“I didn’t intend to open a store. I thought about it, I dreamed about it, but never thought it would become a reality,” Chandler said. “We intend to exit and strengthen our online business. This is one I think I Possibly affordable small space. So, I sent a Facebook message to (Tony) Floyd, the president of (Mars Hill University).
“I was like, ‘Well, Lord, if it’s your will, I’ll do it, and if he responds to the Facebook message, then so be it.’ He replied that the building was already occupied, but I can come and see the building.”
According to Chandler, the building’s lease began in August. Number 1, 2022.
Since the Chandlers moved in, other Mars Hill owners have expressed their love for the new owner.
“They were fantastic,” Chandler said. “The lady who owns Wild Violet (Michelle Clarke), her daughters are here. Everyone is amazing. I eat at all these restaurants at least once a week. Everyone is so nice. Growing up here. I think they’re excited because they can now come to Mars Hill and spend most of their time. They can eat, they can shop, they can drink coffee. It’s amazing.”
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Chandler said she hopes to continue contributing to Mars Hill’s expanding entrepreneurial spirit for many years to come.
“My real desire is to serve our community and give them a place to come and shop if they’re like me and they don’t feel like leaving their house, or going to Asheville, which I don’t enjoy.” Everyone has theirs, but I like being close to home,” Chandler said.
“Really, my heart is serving this community, that’s exactly what it feels like. I have some college students, I have a lot of out-of-town clients, but the core of the client base is the people who live here. We want to be the good of the space Steward. We want to be the springboard for the continued growth of Mars Hill.”
Quill and Honey is located at 18 S. Main St. in downtown Mars Hill.