Bent River Trading Company is a must-stop in Capon Bridge.
The eastern Hampshire County town of Capon Bridge is small and friendly—a community of families and farmers, entrepreneurs, artists, and craftsmen. At home among them is Kiersten Alderman, the 29-year-old owner and operator of Bent River Trading Company.
“The idea for the shop came after starting my family,” Alderman says. She had been looking for natural products for herself and her baby and found many that were locally made. “I thought it would be great to have a space for these products in an actual shop and not only online.”
As her dream grew to include art, woodworking, and a variety of handmade items, she called Bent River Woodworks, a local woodshop specializing in log furnishings, hoping they might allow her to have space in their gallery. “Once we met up, we discovered we had similar standards and ended up creating a business plan that would support West Virginia vendors.”
The 100-year-old, 2,800-square-foot space was emptied and remodeled, and Alderman worried at first that she wouldn’t be able to fill it. She spent months searching Etsy and the web, contacting artists from all over the state, and trying to convince vendors the new store in the small, rural town would be a success.
“Our vendors fell in love with the feel of our space, and they trusted us,” Alderman says. The store opened in September 2021 with 45 vendors and a goal of having 100 within a year. “We now have 205 vendors from all parts of West Virginia.”
Among the store’s best-selling products is pottery created by Woodshop Pottery in Martinsburg, but handmade jewelry, candles, and blacksmith work are also popular, as are West Virginia beers and wines. Asked about her personal favorites, Alderman says, “I really love our health and beauty bar. My family and I completely switched to handmade products. We have vendors who make soap, lotions, hair, and face products—even toothpaste. I can truly give these a five-star review.”
Alderman is most proud that every item in the store is made in West Virginia, showcasing Mountain State talent. She regularly highlights vendors on her store’s Facebook page, telling a little about who they are and what they create. “We try to do as much as we can to get their names out there.”
Spring and summer, the Capon Bridge Farmers Market brings around 15 local farms to Bent River’s campus each Saturday. The store plans to add a stage and additional parking so it can host events with entertainment, food trucks, and pop-up vendors. “We do this to help charities that need help around our county,” Alderman says. Over the past year, such events have helped raise over $2,500 for local causes, including the library.
It’s easy to tell Alderman loves where she lives. She describes Capon Bridge as “a happening little town” and says the river and mountains are drawing people there—that it is becoming a destination, not just a place you might stop while passing through.
3464 Northwestern Pike, Capon Bridge, 304.856.1202, bentrivertradingco.com