Student sells handmade furniture at downtown store

Jacob Parker

A WKU student is selling handmade furniture down on the square, which is being featured in the Capitol Theater until the end of February.

Hands of the Hill is a furniture making business in downtown Bowling Green, run by a WKU student contest winner, Auburn graduate student Jonathon Randolph.

Randolph won a business contest put on by the Gordon Ford Business College and the Center for Research and Design.

The contest was to provide an outline of a business venture, with the winner receiving a free, six-month lease to a building in the downtown community.

Randolph conceived the idea of a handmade furniture store because of experience he had gained at the farmers market the summer before, and said in the few months since opening, business has been going well. 

“We’ve made around $5,000 so far,” he said. 

Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) also sells Kenyan baskets through the store and the majority of the proceeds go back to the weavers in Kenya who made them.

Randolph said a lot of people come in, especially those with Pinterest orders.

“We see a lot of people that come in with pictures of things they had seen on Pinterest. If you can get the dimensions, we can get it made,” he said. 

Randolph said that currently, he is figuring out the future of the business.

“I need to find a place for equipment and a couple other things, but I’ve got a few different options to keep it open,” he said.

Randolph said that the contest was really helpful.

“I couldn’t have done it without this opportunity,” he said. 

Zubair Mohamed, interim director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said that it wasn’t difficult to narrow down the winner.

Mohamed said that Randolph won because he was basically an up-and-running business that just needed a place.

“He put together a well-conceived, great business plan that really stood out,” Mohamed said. 

Mohamed said that the business fits in well with the community, and that the business name is not a misnomer. 

“It represents many hands helping,” he said.

Bowling Green junior Molly Tarter is a friend of Randolph’s and sometimes helps him out at the store. 

Tarter said the downtown community has really embraced the business.

“We’ve had orders from the candle store, we’re being featured at the Capitol right now, the people next door have gotten a couple things and they’ve been really great,” she said. 

Tarter said there’s a lot of different ways customers can get their furniture.

“There’s Pinterest, but we also have people who come in and see something they like, but they need it smaller or bigger, and we can do those adjustments for them. We can also mix and match the parts to a custom build,” she said. 

Hands of the Hill is located at 422 1/2 E. Main Street in downtown Bowling Green. Store hours can be found on their Facebook page.