Just in time for the holidays, Inside Appalachia takes a trip down memory lane with two family businesses in West Virginia with deep cultural traditions. Join host, Jessica Lilly, as she talks with broom maker James Shaffer and grist man, Larry Mustain, about what the future holds for their business and for them.
The interviews feature a few tears and plenty of “telling it like it is” that might sound familiar to you.
“Each new story I find about traditions and artisans makes me feel at home and reminds me of my family,” Lilly said. “Sometimes, the stories capture the elements of everyday life that are common or overlooked to us locals. There’s something magical about the moment when people realize they have something special to share, their story.”
Discover the stories of these family traditions in the Inside Appalachia TV shows, A WV Broom Maker Legacy and Still Grinding: A Miller's Tradition.
Watch the premiere Friday, December 21, starting at 8 p.m. on WVPB.
Inside Appalachia: A WV Broom Maker's Legacy - 8 p.m. In 2017, a film produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting in collaboration with the West Virginia Folklife Program was screened at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. The story ended with a question: would this dwindling art continue once Shaffer retired? Well, it turns out, a whole family in Hampshire County makes brooms together, and they were inspired by Shaffer himself.
Inside Appalachia: Still Grinding: A Miller's Tradition - 8 :30 p.m. A hundred years ago, gristmills weren’t just a place where people went to get cornmeal and flour, they were also gathering places for communities. But supermarkets replaced the local gristmill economy, and few working mills are still in operation today. One of West Virginia’s last remaining gristmills, Reed’s Mill in Monroe County, was placed on the list of endangered properties by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia last year. The man who owns this mill, Larry Mustain, is wondering how long he can continue to keep his family’s business going.