Nancy Bruns grew up in a large, close-knit family that valued quality foods and a farm-to-table lifestyle. She carried that passion into adulthood, running her own small restaurant and catering business. Years later, she and her brother revived their family’s salt business in the Kanawha Valley in the Appalachian Mountains.
In the 19th century, people began boiling brine from mountain springs in western Virginia to make salt. One of Nancy’s ancestors, William Dickinson quickly invested in “salt properties” along the Kanawha River of West Virginia. Seven generations later, J.Q. Dickinsons’ rich Appalachian salt products can be found in over 600 retailers and restaurants across the country.
Through her work with the Salt-Works over the past seven years, she got to know many Appalachian artisans. In 2019, she launched J.Q. Dickinson Appalachian Mercantile, a business that curates high-quality Appalachian foods, home goods and crafts. J.Q. Appalachian Mercantile sells the goods via a subscription-based model directly to consumers.
“While selling salts to restaurants and retailers, I made some great connections and partnerships with artisans and makers in Appalachia,” says Nancy. “I realized there was no place to find these high quality Appalachian foods under one single umbrella, so I decided to make them available to a much wider audience.”
Customers can choose to buy individual products or sign up for a monthly or seasonal subscription service. Each box varies with seasonal foods, crafts and home & bath items from Appalachia, along with a personalized recipe and information on each artisan.
While you can shop the Appalachian goods online, the business also has a shop in Malden and is building another location in Morgantown, WV.
Nancy is a stellar entrepreneur that understands the massive need in the market for authentic brands from the Appalachian region. With this knowledge, Nancy’s mission is to share her love of the picturesque Appalachian region and its artisan excellence with the world.
To experience the rich culture of Appalachia, click here.