Huntsville’s Switch House ‘hitting the tracks’ in late January

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Monique Given, owner of The Switch House just outside A.M. Booth’s Lumber Yard on Cleveland Avenue spends her days purveying locally made and sourced goodies from area artists and artisans.

“Which is extremely important people of Huntsville: shop local. Support your local artists and vendors,” Given exclaimed during an interview with WHNT News 19 in July 2013.

That's been Given's mantra for the past four years at her tiny, eclectic and über local shop.

Last year, Given told us she was excited about the completion of the $1.5 million project to create a park near Cleveland Avenue and Meridian Street. She expected new features to bring in new foot traffic and increased business.

But Given won't be sticking around to see that project come to fruition.

She announced on January 1 that The Switch House will be closing up shop at the end of the month.

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Given is a free spirit and an admitted nomad, and she says it's time to hit the tracks.

"Anybody that knows me know that I move. And it's one of those things: it's in my blood -- we go," explains the artist and educator who spent her childhood all over Europe.

While Given admits business has waned slightly over the past couple years, she says lack of loyal patrons is not the reason for her 'new adventure.'

"We're going to kinda take it on the road. My son and I are moving. We're going up outside of Pittsburg, PA. -- tentatively have a really amazing building up there that basically I'm going to do the same sorts of things like locally hand-made; a lot of products that I'm making myself."

In addition to the change in location, Given plans to further develop her own brand: 3-Ring Traveling Apothecary.

When Given gets up and running in the Keystone State, her Tennessee Valley patrons will still be able to purchase her wares.

"One of my artists in here, former student, graphic design, he's going to help me do an online store. So people don't have to freak out, they can still get my candles and a lot of my products online."

Customers should stay tuned to The Switch House Facebook page for forthcoming information on the new online shop.

Given though says she has much larger plans for her brain child once she gets her brick and mortar shop settled.

"I'd like to eventually build a caravan or a vardoe and take it on the road to festivals and arts festivals and events and sort of do like an old snake oil traveling show really pushing local and handmade and just art in general," Given imagines.

Displayed proudly in Givens' shop is a sticker emblazoned with an image created by a friend and fell local business owner. It reads, 'Support Good Local.' In addition to gratitude towards her friends and patrons, Given says she want to leave them all with a message she's promulgated for years -- even before it was cool.

"People say, 'oh, I shop local.' What I would say to Huntsville is please don't make that a catch phrase: please do it. You have so many talented artists here in Huntsville; so many talented vendors who make things like locally roasted coffee, locally made bread, you know, all these amazing things. Don't say it -- do it."

The Switch House will be open through January on Cleveland Avenue downtown Tuesday - Saturday, 12:00 - 5:00p.m.