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Philippi Garden Market Moves, Expands

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When Jessika Toothman is out shopping, she tries to keep an eye out for fresh fruit and vegetables whenever she can. But that can be hard to find at many big name grocery stores.

"You can tell it has wax on it, you can tell it's been there a while, whereas here, everything is fresh, it's relatively cheap, and it's close, it's right in town. I don't have to drive a half hour to go find good fruits and vegetables," said Toothman.

Instead, she's found them at the Philippi Garden Market. The market is an outreach of Heart and Hand Ministries in Barbour County, and it's been one of the most popular ones, too. And thanks to the market's success, it's grown to fill its new space in the old Philippi IGA, supporting the farmers, the community, and the economy.

"Just bringing that all together, helping people know that this food is available, it's nutritious for them, it's healthy, it helps the farmers out because it puts money for them to help them grow. The people come and buy here, that puts money back into the community, and so it's kind of a win-win for everybody," said Robert Sisler, a board member of Heart and Hands Ministries.

But it's not all about the produce. Work is still underway in the building, where employees said there's a lot more that will be filling the space in coming months.

"Right now, we've opened up a doughnut shop, our coffee shop's getting ready to open on Tuesday, then we're going to build a cafe. When we build the cafe, the only stuff that we're going buy is from our marketplace," said Mike Wells, an employee at the new store.

That'll be a big hit for people like Toothman, who said they'll support the market as much as possible.

"Well, I've been here two days in a row, and I'll probably come back tomorrow. I really like this place," said Toothman.