Several local artists appreciate business owner\'s support

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CALLAWAY COUNTY - A group of artists and artisans credit some of their success to a local tearoom.

Cherie Rutter, who owns Cherie's Cake Boutique and Tea Room, said she prides herself on supporting local businesses.

One of the artisans Rutter helps owns a business called Crafted by Christine. She said Rutter's tearoom has made a big impact on her family and by allowing her to be a vendor inside the shop.

Christine Wirth said, "I met Cherie through a mutual friend, who had seen my work. I just called her and fell in love with her instantly because she was so sweet and caring and wanted to help me."

Wirth's handcrafted items include wall hangings, jewelry and crocheted hats. She said having her items in the tearoom works very well and saved her family money.

"I had an actual booth in a local business but I found that it took a lot of my time to go and maintain that booth," Wirths said. "I take my things there, and there are customers in and out all the time. If I sell my things that's awesome, I make money and they do too, but if I don't I'm not out of that rental space.

Rutter's tearoom is right off the Millersburg exit on I-70. When the building's roof collapsed during a winter storm, the original owners could not reopen the theater. In order to preserve the historic building, Rutter opened the tearoom in the lobby.

"Tearooms typically are in historical buildings, or somewhere with a history behind them. This one has the history of the lighthouse and the theater and the music. That's one of the reasons I picked this one," Rutter said.

Rutter supports local musicians and artists and features more than 12 different vendors' handcrafted items inside of her shop. Rutter even sells and plays the music of the previous owner of the lighthouse theater, Hazel Kinder.

Rutter said she is motivated to help the community and local business owners because she started her business out of her home years ago.

"When I was doing cakes from home I was always looking for places that I could sell, to get my name out and this is a way for me to support people," Rutter said. "All of the people that have things here I know personally, and it's a way for me to help people in the community, whether it's a musician, author, someone who makes jewelry, or hand crafted items."

The vendors give their items to Rutter and she displays them around the store.
While customers are waiting on their sweets they are invited to look around.

When someone walks in they may notice the abundance of art, wall hangings, and items on the wall. Anything with a tag attached is actually a local vendor's work and for sale.

One vendor who has made a large impact on Rutter is her father.

"My dad has things here, he handcrafts items from old antique silverware. There are wind chimes, necklaces, earrings, and usually bracelets. He had a stroke a few years ago and after that stroke he became really creative and artistic," Rutter said.

Rutter said doctors believe the work is good therapy for her dad, because the fine detail of jewelry making requires hand-eye coordination.

"He does really cool stuff, and his stuff sells really well here," she said.

Polina Corporate, a national real estate company, ranked Missouri within the top ten "pro-business" states. Rutter said she thinks supporting local vendors creates a good business network within Mid-Missouri.

"If I'm supporting someone locally they will support me," Rutter said. "If they have things here they're obviously going to send people here to shop for their stuff. I would prefer to spend my money with a local small business instead of a big chain. "

Ten percent of all vendors' proceeds go to charity.

Rutter will hold a local vendor showcase on November 15. For more information on her vendors and the event visit her website.