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EDITORIAL: More than just business owners

We at the Ironton Tribune were saddened to hear the news that The Vault Market will be closing its doors at the end of May.

Launched in 2019 by Amanda Cleary and Abby Kuehne, the shop was conceived as a collaborative space regional artists and creators offered a refreshing example of what could be done to revitalize an empty downtown space.

In addition to selling a variety of unique products, Cleary and Kuehne also hosted events, such as the Market After Dark, a vendor fair at the adjacent Rotary Fountain, and offered community classes on topics from painting to chemical-free cleaning.

While the shop earned acclaim both in town and from visitors, unfortunately, its momentum was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many small businesses struggling to survive from decreased traffic of social distancing and health restrictions.

Not only were Kuehne and Cleary an important part of downtown Ironton’s business community, but they have also been very active in their community.

Their nonprofit, Third and Center has secured funding for many projects in Ironton, such as the installation of artistic bike racks by the fountain, the creation of sidewalk murals at multiple points downtown and, most recently, securing money for several swings which will be installed on the riverfront later this year.

To put it simply, these past two years, they have been the epitome of the kind of citizenship we need more of and represented the idea, espoused often by its owners, of being the change you want to see in your community.

Despite their shop closing, Kuehne and Cleary have said they will remain active in the community and the work of Third and Center will continue. We encourage everyone to support them.

We will miss The Vault Market and all it has to offer. In its remaining weeks, we encourage everyone to drop by and visit the business as a thank you for all they have done.