KNOXVILLE (WATE) - For more than two years, 6 News has followed Debbie Shepherd, a victim of the recession who's made quite a successful turnaround.
Anchor Gene Patterson caught up with Shepherd in 2009 as she turned unemployment into an opportunity. She and Evelyn Miller went into business making soy candles.
That business, Goode Scents Etc., has expanded, offering lots of other local artists a chance to get a new start, all under one roof.
During a visit to their shop on Carr Street in the Bearden area of West Knoxville, Shepherd is quick to credit Miller for convincing her to start making soy candles.
Once the pair put their minds together, that hobby exploded into much more.
"The Goode Scents Candle was the official candle of the Emmy awards show last year. It burned in every dressing room and in the lounge area and at the Governor's Ball," Shepherd said.
But that honor was just the beginning. The partners now have a bath and body line and another dream has also turned into a reality.
"In the back of my mind, I've always wanted to own a little gift shop and it came to pass," Miller said.
Their shop is filled almost entirely of items made in Tennessee. Shepherd and Miller still specialize in their candles and they also tinker is some of their own crafts, like Southern Charm Stemware made from Mason jars.
The atmosphere in the shop is fun and lighthearted, and signs outside practically guarantee you will leave in a good mood.
"Once someone comes into our shop, they always come back," Shepherd said.
More than 10 other vendors also showed off their handmade wares during our visit. You can find such items as pillows, pottery, frames, artwork, crystal wind chimes and even custom clothing for dogs.
Sharon Trylovich makes canine dresses, harnesses and onesies. "I raised money by sewing harnesses for Small Breed Rescue of East Tennessee. I lost my job so I decided to start my own business," she said.
You might say things have come full circle for Shepherd. She now has the power to help others, and she says buying and selling local is intentional.
"Being an unemployed someone who lost her job, I saw what a life-changing experience it is. And if I can help one other person stay employed by buying that product here rather than overseas, I will," Shepherd said.
The store also offers a small selection of purchased items, but the owners say about 90 percent of their inventory is handmade.
If you're on Facebook, you can like the Goode Scents fan page.