By Jeff Fox

The Craft Shop lives on.

The popular store on the Independence Square, selling a variety of hand-made items from 50 mostly local crafters, has passed into new hands.

“I’ve heard from many of (the crafters), and they’re all excited,” said Dru Lewis of Independence, who has run the shop for last 12 years, along with 16 volunteers, generally people who also sell crafts at the store.

Lewis ran it for 12 years and had said several weeks ago she would close it just before Christmas unless someone new could be found.

Joy Reickmann, who lives east of Independence, has stepped forward. She said Friday she hopes have as good and long a run as Lewis has had. The shop has been around for almost 40 years, and Lewis oversaw its move from the Truman Courthouse to the Emporium at Main Street and Maple Avenue, and then its subsequent expansion.

“It’s a well-oiled machine,” Reickmann said.

Just about everyone involved also does some crafting, and Lewis said now she plans to “sew, sew, sew” on her specialty, making outfits for the 18-inch version of the popular American Girl dolls.

“Now I can just come in and have fun,” she said.

Some new things could be coming to the store. Reickmann and Lewis said they’d like to have American Girl tea parties, probably starting with Valentine’s Day. They’d like to add craft classes or perhaps a gift-wrapping service.

Ever heard of a birthday tree? Think of a two-foot Christmas tree, purchased in advance of a loved one’s birthday. Presents pile up under it as the big day nears. The shop might pursue something like that.

Reickmann said she’ll find a craft niche, too, probably involving sewing.

“I will try to do something that’s original that doesn’t compete with any other crafters,” she said.