Shop Market on Mellwood April 17

Shop Market on Mellwood April 17

With warmer weather on the way and life slowly but surely returning to normal, we are excited to announce a new tenant-led event, Market on Mellwood, springing up this Spring on April 17th. The brainchild of our friends at the Mellwood Antique Mall and Barn Doors and More, Market on Mellwood will be an outdoor, open-air market featuring an array of different vendors, including jewelry makers, leatherworkers, a wreathmaker, candlemakers, and many more. The event will feature tenants and non-tenants alike, with RecycloCraftz, Dead Sled Leather, Uneena’s, and Danny Mac’s Pizza among the participating Mellwood tenants. Booths will be spaced out on the front lawn and courtyard, which will not only allow shoppers to socially distance, but also provide them with easier viewing of and access to each vendor’s products. Visitors and vendors alike are required to wear masks.

With Mr. G’s Kettle Corn and Mile Wide Beer providing additional food and beverage options, guests will be able to enjoy craft beer and kettle corn with a slice or two from Danny Mac’s.

Besides offering visitors a chance to get out and support local businesses, Market on Mellwood’s organizers will be raffling off prizes every hour on the hour. Provided by local businesses, prizes will take the form of gift cards or vouchers. These may include vouchers specific to the business providing them or Visa or Mastercard gift cards. Prize donors do not have to be vendors in order to contribute a prize. To enter the raffle, visitors must provide a phone number or email address to receive a ticket. This information will only be used to contact prize winners; entrants’ contact information will not be used for any other purposes and will not be saved or stored in any way. Entrants will not need to be present to win, but must have attended Market on Mellwood to enter the raffle; only one ticket will be issued per visitor. Tickets will be available in the Mellwood Antique Mall.

If you would like to participate, either as a vendor, volunteer, or prize donor, there is still time to get involved. Vendor space is limited. Contact Vicki Brandt at for more information. If you are interested in participating as a vendor or prize donor, be sure to include your name, business name (if applicable), description of products or services, address, business phone number, and business email address. In the event of inclement weather on April 17th, April 24th will serve as a fall back date. For more information, check out the Market on Mellwood 2021 Facebook page.

You Can’t Have It All… or Can You?

You Can’t Have It All... or Can You?

Finding career satisfaction, stability, and job security Is possible

At some point in life, we have all heard from the gospels of stability and job security; perhaps we have even preached it ourselves. But if there is one common thread or theme from our tenants here at Mellwood it is this: stability and security are not adequate substitutes for career satisfaction. In striving for perceived safety, concessions are made. Some opt to find a “safe” gig doing something they are interested in. Others may choose to avoid following their passions entirely. The latter was the case for Karli from Massage on Mellwood.

What initially started as a part-time job while going to JCTC became a full-time position. Looking to ease some of the burdens she carried, Karli dropped out of JCTC and focused solely on her job in data entry and logistics. She appreciated the stability it provided her and her daughter and liked the people she worked with, but it was not something she felt any passion for. Believing it was impossible to work hard and derive satisfaction from it, she continued with this job for six years before deciding to change careers.

Similarly, William, also from Massage on Mellwood, went into a career he was not particularly interested in. After working as a server for two years, he agreed to go into restaurant management following multiple requests from his superiors. While it was less pay, it still paid well enough and provided greater long-term prospects. Although it was not something he had any interest in, he did initially enjoy his job. Over time, that enthusiasm dwindled to indifference and, ultimately, dread. The stresses of the job became increasingly harder to deal with. To cope, William regularly turned to massage. Eventually, William recognized the emotional and physical toll this job was taking on him, and decided it was time to explore a new career path.

It would be tempting to believe conventional wisdom surrounding employment holds true for those who manage to find a stable job in their field of interest, but this is not always true.

Prior to becoming a massage therapist and starting Massage on Mellwood with William and Karli, Tina was a social worker. While social work is a field wrought with stress, Tina had a strong desire to help others, which provided meaning for the work she did. For Tina, the stress became a problem as she rose through the ranks. While society encourages us to strive for this, it removed Tina from doing the kind of work that brought her into the field in the first place. As she advanced in her career, she was eventually placed in a managerial position overseeing 150 people. With her stress levels at an all-time high, Tina left social work.

Massage on Mellwood: Staff picture

​Initially working as an academic advisor, Jamie enjoyed helping students explore their interests, select their classes, and ultimately start them on their career paths. While Jamie’s greatest passion is art, she was regularly discouraged from pursuing it as a career. She saw academic advising as a good compromise between following her passions and her desire for a stable job. Outside of her job as an academic advisor, Jamie had started The Resource Room, which combined her interest in art with her desire to help people discover their best selves and promote personal growth. Being placed on furlough due to the pandemic this past summer proved to be the turning point for Jamie. After making all the right moves, following a more conventional career course, getting the degrees, and landing the job, Jamie watched as the security she thought she had begin to erode. She knew it was time to make her part-time passion project her full-time focus.

Resource Room: Jamie Shepherd

​For Reba of Reba Renee Design Studio, graphic design is still her passion. After discovering the field in college while working part-time at Café Press, she doggedly pursued it as a career. In the years after college, Reba worked as a graphic designer for two different advertising agencies. Unfortunately, agency life was too rigid, restricting, and ultimately hindered her productivity. Reba found it impossible to grow her career the way she wanted. Thankfully, she had always done some freelance work on the side, which allowed her to find her desired career path. Eventually, Reba was able to leave the agency life for good and start her own graphic design business.

Reba from Reba Renee Design Studio

When all is said and done, career satisfaction is as important a factor as job security or stability. While many of us are willing to sacrifice that satisfaction, in part or entirely, it is an unnecessary one. As each of our five tenants can attest, it is possible to have security and stability while finding joy in the work they do. It is a risk, and our tenants admit as much, but sticking with a job or career which only brings misery carries its own risks with less to show for it.

RecycloCraftz: Where New Possibilities Bring Hope for a Better Tomorrow in Zambia


Where New Possibilities Bring Hope for a Better Tomorrow in Zambia

Most people will face unexpected turns in life. It is a common, perhaps universal, human experience, but rarely does it take us halfway around the world on a mission to improve the lives of others. For Tracy Murray, that is precisely what happened.

On a Mission

In 2007, Tracy and kids found themselves heading to Zambia as missionaries. Zambia was not even on Tracy’s radar until she spoke with her pastor. As an occupational therapist, she went to work one-on-one with people with special needs. In Zambia, the functional literacy rate for seventh graders is less than 14%, with abstract math at 0%. Given the student-teacher ratio of 164:1 in Zambia, many children fall through the cracks. That is assuming they go to school at all, as many girls are discouraged from going in the first place.

Education is not the only source of woe in Zambia. Unemployment is at 47% with an average income of two dollars a day. In Zambia, Tracy worked with a pastor and his wife, who is a full-time nurse and midwife. Together, the couple made less than $500 month, putting them at the lower end of Zambia’s middle class. Even so, they struggled to make ends meet with their three adult children. It was clear that the focus of Tracy’s work needed to change. In 2008, after speaking with the pastor, Tracy began what would become RecycloCraftz.

Wire figures

Initially called New Creations Ministries Zambia, RecycloCraftz, was started on a wing and a prayer. While literacy development is still a core aspect of this non-profit organization, it expanded its scope to include vocational training and employment. All workers receive a fair-trade value for their products on a weekly basis. Since it began, RecycloCraftz has sold over $400,000 of fair-trade goods.

Work in Zambia

One of the trainings provided by RecycloCraftz is a sewing course. Those in the course learn the sewing necessary to produce an array of goods. Once a participant completes 90% of the lessons, they are eligible to receive a microloan to cover half of the cost of a new treadle sewing machine with an auxiliary motor. To date, six participants have acquired new sewing machines and have learned to operate the two on-site industrial sewing machines. RecycloCraftz’s microloan program has also provided assistance beyond their sewing course; it has enabled participants to electrify their homes, add on to their houses, further their education, and start their own businesses. Additionally, the microloan program has a financial planning element to aid and educate participants on saving for the future.

Wood bead bracelets

RecycloCraftz has seen successes outside of their microloan program as well. Thanks to their efforts in education, all children involved are attending school regularly. Many adults, especially women, are learning to read, something they were either denied or lacked access to as children. To expand their educational efforts, RecycloCraftz plans to build a school to serve a neighboring community.

RecycloCraftz also offers an emergency medical program. This program covers an array of different medical issues, including chronic health conditions, age-related medical issues, and disabilities. The program will also help cover funeral costs for direct family members.

Keeping the Lights On

Operating in Zambia has come with its own unique challenges. Perhaps the biggest are the power outages. Currently, most of Zambia’s electricity is generated by a single hydroelectric dam. Unfortunately, persistent drought conditions have caused the reservoir to diminish. There is rarely enough live water to turn the turbines and generate electricity. In an effort to conserve electricity, the Zambian government instituted rolling blackouts. To combat this, RecycloCraftz installed a battery backup system to power their compound when the electricty goes out. To date, this has been sufficient in meeting their needs, but they plan to add a solar array in the future.


Beyond helping the men, women, and youth of Zambia, another core aspect of RecycloCraftz is upcycling; this is the process of taking discarded objects or materials and repurposing them. The first product made by the artisans of RecycloCraftz were bags made from old plastic grocery bags. Overtime, they shifted from plastic to fabric. Today, a visitor to their shop will find a wider array of upcycled goods. In addition to the bags, you can find reversible patchwork aprons, reversible sling bags with handmade buttons, paper bowls, nativity scenes, bottle cap trivets, wooden bead bracelets, wire figures, and backpacks. All proceeds go back into the program to pay the artisans fair-trade value and procure more crafting materials.

Tracy Murray instructing volunteers

As RecycloCraftz expands, so too does their need for volunteers. Assigned duties would depend on the volunteer’s skillset. For more information, you can email Tracy at

If you are interested in purchasing some of their fine handmade goods, there are numerous options. Besides their shop here at Mellwood, RecycloCraftz will be making appearances at various farmer’s markets and fair-trade and holiday events. They will be at the Norton Commons holiday sales and Jeffersontown Beckley Creek events throughout November and December. You can also find them online at, where you can purchase goods from their shop or make donations. All donations can be earmarked for specific programs or to sponsor families.

Butchertown Brewing Set to Open

Butchertown Brewing Set to Open

Louisville’s beer scene will soon be welcoming its newest member with the eminent grand opening of Butchertown Brewing. A part-time passion project for Andy Cobb, who operates two other companies, Butchertown Brewing makes the brews its sole focus.

"You’re not going to go to my place and watch the game or anything. It’s going to be about the beer."

Andy’s passion for beer spans decades. He first started with homebrewing back in 1994. Over time, he experimented with different styles of beer. Andy also connected with other beer aficionados to share information, recipes, and their enthusiasm for the sudsy goodness. He was even given the title of “Louisville Beer Mayor” by his fellow members of the Louisville Beer Snobs Facebook group.

Amongst his fellow brewers, Andy is best known for his stouts. He has particular fondness for bourbon barrel aged stouts. As such, it has always irked him to see how few Kentucky-based breweries capitalize on the opportunity available to them.

Building frame for bar
Phase 2 building bar with plywood
Finished bar

"We’re in bourbon country, and I love barrel aged beers. It upset me that there were all these breweries from outside of Kentucky getting all these bourbon barrels and putting beer in them, putting great beer in them, making great beer, and we go and buy that beer. I’d like to see more Louisville breweries do that, so that’s going to be one of my main focuses: barrel aged beers."

Besides its focus on bourbon barrel beers, another aspect which will set Butchertown Brewing apart from other Louisville breweries will be its invite only membership. Members will have a 1 – 2 week window of time for first pick of the bourbon barrel aged stouts. Afterwards, these stouts will be available to the public at large. Andy plans to brew up other styles as well. Each month, Butchertown Brewing will offer two other types of beers, which will be available to members and non-members alike upon release, no member-exclusive purchasing period.

Once open, Butchertown Brewing will have monthly tastings to allow people to sample Andy’s small batch craft beers. Sessions will run around 45 minutes with groups of 20 – 25 people. All purchases, including beer, will be done through Butchertown Brewing’s website at To keep up with the latest news and announcements from Butchertown Brewing, be sure to check out their Facebook or Instagram pages.

Genna & Absolute Studio Theater

Genna & Absolute Studio Theater

Genna Greene’s Absolute Theater was open a month and a half before shutting down due to the pandemic. The community theater aims to give local thespians a creative outlet. Now, Absolute Theater has reopened and Genna has big plans.

Genna always knew she wanted to be a fashion and costume designer. After formal training in New York under Nicole Miller, Genna teamed up with Matthew Tyldesley to combine wig art and fashion design. Still partners to this day, you can view their eccentric combinations on social media.

Currently, Genna splits her time between her theater and her home studio. She creates costumes for a variety of clients from theme parks to major motion pictures such as Hell on the Border. You can also see Genna’s work anytime you visit Kentucky Kingdom or Disney theme parks. Plan on traveling to Shanghai Disney? You are sure to see her costumes there too (up to 36 to be exact).

Absolute Theater’s post-pandemic debut will be Rocky Horror Picture Show with a twist.

“We had to think outside the box to keep people safe.”

Along with zany costumes, actors will be adorned with masks and gloves as well. The shows will be quaint, with a maximum booking of 50 people in order to adhere to social distancing standards. Reserve your seat for October 24th and 30th by purchasing tickets online at Additionally, keep an eye out for the ever-so-entertaining Drag Pageant hosted by Unsupervised Adults also in October.

In addition to her theater, Genna is working to make the Mellwood Art Center the “happening spot” for artists and art lovers. Currently, she is organizing a Shop Small Day on December 5th to encourage the community to buy local for their holiday gifts. Lastly, the Absolute Theater will also perform a Christmas play and additional performers will be outside caroling and entertaining guests during the event.

To learn more about Absolute Theater and upcoming shows, visit

Danny Mac’s: Surviving COVID-19

Danny Mac’s: Surviving COVID-19

At this point, many of our readers are well aware of the struggles facing small businesses resulting from COVID-19. For many, the best case scenario is remaining open with an unclear future looming ahead, while others have been forced into closing their businesses for good. One of our tenants, Danny Mac of Danny Mac’s Pizza, finds himself among those able to stay open since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“We’re service people and we’re trying to make the best of the situation. The first three weeks really made us nervous. We didn’ t know what was going to happen, if we were going to be shut down. We were prepared to do anything we had to do to survive.”

In the 14 years Danny Mac’s Pizza has been in business, he has faced nothing like COVID-19 before. With such an unprecedented health crisis, Danny saw the need to adapt his business in order to keep going. “It’s just a totally different situation. We were probably 95% dine-in and we had to modify things, like add curbside service and we modified our operations on carryout. We added a bar right at our front door so nobody has to touch any knobs or come in the building.”

Remaining open and ensuring the safety of his staff and customers has come with some frustrations. Suppliers running out of goods and price hikes has meant that Danny had to adjust his menu in order to cope, something he did reluctantly. But to Danny, it is all worth it when he sees his smiling customers. Despite the challenges and frustrations posed by the pandemic, Danny Mac feels blessed to be able to stay open and that his business has seen healthy sales. He credits much of this success to the words of praise he and his business have received from his customers regarding not only the quality of the food and the friendly demeanor of his staff, but also the precautions he and his staff have taken to keep everyone safe.

When asked for advice he would share with other small business owners, Danny encourages owners to be creative.

“You definitely have to think outside the box. There’s a lot of changes we have to deal with. Just continue to think of different ways to sell.”

If you are looking for some of the best pizza in town, Danny Mac’s Pizza is sure to satisfy. You can find them online at or call (502) 890-6331 to place a to go order.

Photos courtesy of Danny Mac’s Pizza