“Getting back to where it’s supposed to be”

Mavens & Makers opens on Cullman’s east side

Ashlea Chance, with son John Tyler Chance, shows off the new family business. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman’s east side recently welcomed a new shop that is likely to become a popular stop for folks who enjoy eating fresh traditional foods and supporting local farmers. Mavens & Makers, located in the Vogel Building at 609 U.S. Highway 278 E near East Point, specializes in slow-grown heritage meats from the Cullman County farm of shop owners Chase and Ashlea Chance, as well as select kitchenware, home goods and gifts. 

Ashlea Chance told The Tribune, “Our family owns a farm in Baileyton, Alabama that focuses on conservation of heritage breed animals. Many of these breeds are difficult to source, as their populations have dwindled with the demand for bigger, quicker and less expensive sources of meat. We are passionate about getting back to our roots, preserving how things were done for generations before us. One of the best forms of conservation is through consumption. With Mavens & Makers, we are able to provide a storefront where our farm proteins can be purchased by the cut. With increased accessibility, we hope to raise breed awareness and highlight the benefits of slowgrown meats.” 

Chance called it “Getting back to where it’s supposed to be.” 

Though Ashlea Chance is from Huntsville, her husband is a Holly Pond native, so the area was a natural choice for the family when they had their fill of city life. 

Chance said, “We moved here four years ago for our kids, to give them some room to run, out of Huntsville. We started a hobby farm that I thought was a hobby; that’s well beyond a hobby now!” 

As the family farm grew, Chance decided that she would like to make a business out of the too-big-to-be-a-pastime project. 

Chance continued, “So we were looking for an area to sell our farm-raised proteins. We do non-GMO, heritage breeds, slow growers, all pasture-raised, free-ranged-like for our chickens and our ducks and our turkeys-no corn, no soy; kind of back to the basic roots type of butchery.” 

Searching for a fitting retail storefront, Chance discovered the Vogel Building near East Point. 

Said Chance, “We love the building. The building came up for lease, so my husband said, ‘Go for it!’ So here we are!” 

A scan of the refrigerators on the showroom floor shows selections of free-range chicken, duck and turkey, various cuts of pork and artisan specialty foods. 

“We are also partnering with local farms,” said Chance. “We’re carrying local artisan cheeseswe carry local goat cheese, cow cheese and sheep cheese, all from here in Alabama, from local dairies. We are also going to have some local farmers come in with some fresh produce in the summer and fall months. We are working with other local makers and small businesses to offer tutorials and classes and events here.  

“In about a month to two months, our kitchen will be open, just solely to host hands-on demonstrations, classes and tasting events. So, we’ll do cooking classes like a pasta-making class, a rendering lard class, a how to break down a chicken class, some hands-on, some demonstrative things.” 

Additionally, the shop carries a selection of kitchenwareincluding lines from Staub, Messermeister, de Buyer, Demeyere and Rosleas well as handcrafted gifts and decor, many from local makers. Ellie Grace’s Attic and Wooden Crate Flower Farm will be offering classes in painting, crafting and flower arrangement to start, and Chance plans to expand offerings over time, sticking to the main themes from the kitchen. 

Said Chance, “It’s definitely going to be more kitchen-centered, with some home goods and small gift items, but food is my heart. That’s where most of this is going to be driven towards: food and entertaining.” 

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/MavensAndMakers/. 

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W.C. Mann