Community Market Vendor Marks 25 Year Anniversary

Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg's Community Market has been around a long time. And in that time, a lot of things have changed.

The building has grown, merchants have come and gone, but one person has remained constant.

Early in the morning, when the sleepy city comes to life, Shirley Carwile comes to work.

"This is my stand. I make the doll clothes that fit the American Girl dolls," she said pointing to her spot.

For more than 25 years, she's sold her unique crafts at the community market.

"Like pajamas and nightgown, a skirt and a top, they can pick out whichever ones they want. Then of course I have the little doll beds; aprons and potholders," she said.

All are sewn by her hands.

"And it's just my little world, right here all to myself," she said.

Sewing isn't Shirley's only specialty.

"We have strawberry, blackberry, mulberry, blueberry, black raspberry, mixed berry."

She showcases homemade jams and jellies as well.

"She's been a farmer, she's a crafter, she's had her own shop here before, she has been on the friends of the market board," said Market Manager Jennifer Kennedy.

In its more than 200 year history, the community market has seen many changes.

"There used to be big tall walls here and everybody had their own little booth, with the big tall walls. So they took the walls down," said Shirley.

But since 1987, Shirley has adapted. She's vended from five different spots in the market. She has no plans to retire, and had this to say on her 25 year anniversary this month:

"I'm just as excited today, as I was the first day I came, it's just the people, mostly the people."

Shirley says she's sold to generations of families. And at 66 years old, she says she plans to continue to sell to generations more.