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Boxcar Betty’s to host third cash mob in ongoing series

What do old records, bicycle chains and forks have in common? A lot, when it comes to one of historic Jonesborough’s newest shops.
Boxcar Betty’s Eco Depot initially began as an online retail store, but owner June Beck knew she had a good thing going when her vision quickly grew into a budding shop located in downtown Jonesborough.
“The fact that downtown Jonesborough is historic is why I wanted to open here,” she said. “It is such a nice fit with what my business is about.”
Boxcar Betty’s items are almost as attention grabbing as the store’s name, with merchandise from various backgrounds including unique home décor products and novelties such as mirrors and clocks made from recycled LP’s or bike chains.
“One of the biggest sellers includes a line of people made out of forks and spoons that can hold salt and pepper shakers, play golf or hold business cards,” June said. “They are funny and functional.”
Think back to a time when most of the things people bought were not so disposable and would be reused or made into something else.
Boxcar Betty’s Eco Depot turns those actions into the business’ mission: An eco-friendly store that carries recycled, repurposed, handmade and fun gifts.
With something for everyone, Beck tries to focus on ensuring that men can also have fun in her store as opposed to sitting somewhere on a bench waiting for the women to finish shopping.
That idea has stemmed into products made from recycled tires, bike chains, records, road signs and even auto parts.
The women aren’t left out with an eclectic collection of eco-friendly handbags and jewelry fashioned from 1800s silverware and Depression-era glass.
In addition, the Kids Kaboose corner is full of fun toy options as well as clothing and gifts for baby showers, family and friends.
“We have everything from art to function to fun, even down to our eco-friendly gift wrap and handmade cards,” Beck said.
Upcycling is not where Beck’s goals end. She also began her eco-friendly vision by researching and locating national artists who made interesting pieces of work from recycled or renewable resources.
Then, she expanded into other countries with the hope of supporting artists all over the world by paying them fair wages.
“We support several Fair Trade organizations, which brings goods to market from other countries where people are paid a fair wage for their work” Beck said. “One of the organizations I purchase products from aids young women who are coming out of the sex slavery and trafficking trade.”
Creating art gives them the opportunity to provide healthcare and education to themselves and their families, she said.
So, you ask, what does a boxcar have to do with eco-friendly shopping? And who is this Betty character?
According to Beck, it took several family brainstorming sessions with her daughter to find a name for their vision.
“We first settled on the name Betty because it was a name that has been around for many years. We combined that with the fact that Jonesborough is a train town, and Boxcar Betty came to be,” she said. “Then we added Eco Depot to indicate what type of merchandize the store would carry.”
June wants to continue sharing her business with those who live in the region and visit Historic Jonesborough.
“I want anyone who visits to have a good time and feel welcome,” she said. “If they leave with a smile, then I am happy.”
Boxcar Betty’s Eco Depot is located at 101 Courthouse Square in Historic Downtown Jonesborough. For more information about the store and the stories behind the merchandise, visit www.ecoboxcar.com, call 423.753.2006 or email [email protected]
As part of the We Dig Jonesborough Cash Mob event series, August 18 will feature a Sandcastle Building Contest sponsored by Wetlands Water Park at 10 a.m. in front of the downtown Courthouse. The children’s contest will be divided in the following age groups: Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten through Second Grade, Third Grade through Fifth Grade and Middle School. One adult helper will be allowed per child as shovels and buckets will also be provided. Each team will have 15 minutes to assemble their sand castle. Prizes for each participant will be provided by local Jonesborough businesses. Call 423.791.3732 or email [email protected] to enter. There will be a limited number of entries.