A Very Vintage Christmas: Empire Fleet Vintage Welcomes Local Artisans To First Holiday Market

Crisp, wintry air greeted customers Saturday, Dec. 4 at Empire Fleet Vintage’s first holiday market. 

Empire Fleet, located on Fifth Street near downtown Lynchburg, came to the Lynchburg area in May 2021. Store owners and sisters Lisa and Grace Jonas urged the community to come out and shop both local vendors and a sale in the store. 

The Jonas sisters not only had a love for vintage pieces but also saw a need for a vintage store in the city. When the space opened for rent, Lisa and Grace knew they had to take the opportunity. They saw the space as a communal meeting point for many different people and decided that it was time to bring their passion to the area. 

When the holiday season began, the Jonas sisters had the idea to bring the community together in the form of a holiday market. They had been a part of other local markets previously and appreciated the hard work done by those who facilitated them. It was time to give back, they decided. 

“I am really grateful for how the community has come together,” Lisa Jonas said. “People have really showed up, and I love being a part of this community.”

Many local businesses had the opportunity to display their holiday goods as well. A wide variety of products were sold, including coffee, clothing, handmade goods and more. 

Deidre Stone, owner of Storm and Stress, has sold to the Lynchburg community for 10 years. A self-taught artisan, Stone creates handmade candles and turns metal into jewelry.  

“I’ve been doing this for a lot of years,” Stone said. “But what makes it really special is the community of people who also sell their product.”

While there were many different types of handmade crafts at the holiday market, Rosetta Coffee Company, local to the Lynchburg area, stood out. 

Aaron Skeem started this business 15 years ago with a mission to serve the community and work with people doing good for others around the world. Rosetta Coffee Company offers coffee from a variety of places, including Africa, South America, Central America and Indonesia. Skeem sells the coffee at The White Hart Café, Lynchburg Coffeehouse and online. 

“We try to roast coffees that people love,” Skeem said. “And we try to meet our customers where they are.” 

The owners of Empire Fleet Vintage have not yet decided whether this market will be an annual event. 

The store can be found on Instagram at @empirefleetvintage. 

Farmerie is a feature writer. Follow him on Instagram

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