Article from Owensboro, KY's Messenger Inquirer

Today the regional paper here in western Kentucky ran an article about FOLK and FOLKstore. Here is the full text of it below.

"Beaver Dam man getting national attention through Folk

by Suzi Bartholomy, Messenger-Inquirer
Published: Monday, January 2, 2012 12:09 AM CST

A magazine with origins in Beaver Dam is sold in every major city in the United States.

Folk magazine creator and editor Ben Ashby released his first publication in September and has a circulation of 5,000.

Ashby said about a year ago, he went to Lexington "to get away from everyone."

"While there I hypothetically planned a magazine, never dreaming I'd get to do this," he said Wednesday morning at his shop in Beaver Dam. Folk is distributed at specialty shops and by subscription.

Folk magazine and his store of the same name are companions. The magazine has stories and ads from shops across the country. Some of the featured items in the magazine are sold at his store on Main Street in Beaver Dam and the merchandise in Folk can be ordered online. Folk is a catalog, travelogue and recipe book, with freelance writers from across the country contributing stories, photographs and recipes. He found most of the writers on blogs, and some approached him.

When Ashby conceived the idea of a magazine and store, he thought it would be a slow process, but with his skill in social networking, he put the magazine together in a few months and launched the store in about the same time.

The 22-year-old University of Kentucky senior has had help from friends and family. "My mom likes the magazine but she's not crazy about the store because of the time commitment," Ashby said. "She helps out a lot at the store."

"I think the magazine has the most potential," said is mother, Darlene Ashby, who was at Folkstore Wednesday morning.

Heath Stiltner, who writes for the magazine and is its creative director, was also at the store Wednesday.

"I have the concepts and Heath makes them work," Ben Ashby said.

Stiltner is a senior at Transylvania University in Lexington.

Folkstore opened in December and business has been good. "I was blown away," Ashby said.

He also received help from the townspeople.

"All the other businesses have been supportive. They found me this space," he said referring to the shop.

"There is a real sense of community in Beaver Dam. I thought that they might not like the competition, but I was wrong," Ashby said, adding that the general consensus among the merchants is more stores will draw more people downtown.

Ashby's major at UK is rural revitalization, which ties in with what he is doing with his new enterprises.

"I talked recently with the dean and I got 15 credit hours for the store and magazine," he said.

Ashby has the benefit of another relative who is willing to work for free.

"Ben keeps me young," said his aunt Linda Reid, who proofreads Folk. The duo also meet every Friday at daybreak for breakfast and a photo session in the woods or any interesting place they might find. Reid, a retired school teacher, also writes for the magazine.

Ashby is not only creative but thrifty. On Wednesday morning he was planning a luncheon in appreciation of the people who have been working with him. Besides creating a beautiful table with fresh flowers and items from the store, he was going to photograph the display for the spring issue of Folk.

"To say Ben is unique is an understatement," said Paul Sandefur, mayor of Beaver Dam.

Sandefur said in an e-mail that he doesn't usually call attention to a particular business because there are several unique shops in Beaver Dam, but Ashby, because of his young age and success of his magazine, deserves the attention.

To subscribe to Folk, go to To learn more about Folk go to facebook.comwearefolk.

Suzi Bartholomy, 691-7293,"


  1. What a nice article about you guys! It sounds like your town is very proud of you. When I Googled your town to see where it was, I realized that you are not that far from where my family had owned land for over 100 years. We just sold our land in Narrows, KY a few months ago. Beautiful area.


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