The Ashland Beacon
James Collins lives in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and identifies himself as the same line of rugged mountain men as Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie, and Davey Crocket.
Collins spends his time forging Frontier and Norse style knives, and running his business, the Avalon New Age Shop.
The Avalon New Age Shop is home to some of Ashland’s most unique finds, including hand-forged knives, tomahawks, and axes from Blackoak Forge, organic beard products from By Odin’s Beard Co., and a variety of crystals, candles, rune sets, herbs, oils, and custom jewelry.
The shop also offers services including psychic readings, Reiki attunements, past life readings and regressions, paranormal investigation, and handfasting’s.
“We’re teaching over 300 classes this year,” said Collins. “We offer over 400 different classes.”
Collins said the business started out as an online eBay business 15 years ago, but quickly expanded.
“We returned to Ashland 10 years ago and the opportunity just presented itself,” said Collins. “We’ve never looked back.”
Collins said that the first years presented a struggle for Avalon New Age Shop, but that the business is doing well.
“We are excited that as a small business we are still growing and going strong,” said Collins. Collins said both he and his wife are artists. His wife, Vash, holds an honorary Doctorate of Religion and is a Wiccan High Priestess. Vash is also the author of the fantasy novel, The Rise of the Shadows.
“We both enjoy creating our art,” said Collins.
Collins said that his specialty is forging blades. Collins spent years crafting the art and ensuring each piece is historically accurate, utilizing the same traditions as blacksmiths from ages past.
“I grew up working with my father who made muzzleloader long rifles, and I started forging knives when I was 16,” said Collins. “I love taking a raw piece of steel and turning it into a piece of art.”
Collins said that his wife enjoys painting and crafting, and the shop’s crystals hold a special place in her heart.
“She is always looking for unique pieces for our shop,” said Collins.
Collins, whom is bearded, said that he had a hard time finding products for his beard that weren’t filled with chemicals, so he created his own line of beard oils and balms called By Odin’s Beard Co.
“We are looking to expand our line into washes and butters this year,” said Collins.
Collins said that one of his favorite aspects of his business is interacting with his customers.
“Each customer experience is amazing and unique in its own way,” said Collins. “We love meeting new people and helping them with their questions on spiritual matters or products we carry.”
Collins said that many of the shop’s customers have shopped with them for many years.
“They are family, not customers,” said Collins. “They have been the motivation for us to keep going even when things were looking grim at times financially. We love what we do.”
Avalon New Age Shop is located at 8106 U.S. Route 60 and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information contact the shop at 606.571.6852.