Dagan African Market

Dagan African Market

We stopped into a hidden gem in the heart of Clarksville a while back and were completely surprised at what we found. Did you know there was a very cultured African market here in Clarksville? The Dagan African Market is right off Fort Campbell Blvd and is a family-owned operation by Adolph Dagan.

About Adolph Dagan

Adolph, originally from Togo, moved to America (IL) and joined the US Army. The Army brought him to Ft. Campbell where he served his term and got out in 2009. He loved serving his country but felt it was time to move on and start a new venture.

After getting out of the military in 2009, Adolph got a job as a teacher (teaching French) at Rossview Middle School and worked on getting his college degree during this time.

Since 2004, even before the Army, it has always been his dream to open his own business so he can bring some of his own country to Clarksville. However, he just didn’t feel the timing was right.

After years of debating back and forth, he decided to pull the trigger in August of 2019 because he saw an increase in the demand for an African Market. Previously, everyone had to drive all the way to Nashville for this!

About the Market

The Dagan African Market has so much more than you may think from the outset. They are loaded with real, organic foods from all over the world.

 

Everything from Yams, to authentic Clothing from Togo & Ghana, to organic toothpaste (from neem), raw honey, essential oils, and so many different types of leaves and spices!

One of the top selling items is actually a product that makes you *gain* weight. It’s called “epidoma” and Adolph said he cannot keep it in stock!

The thing that surprised me the most was just how *raw* everything was. It’s certainly a store that stocks its shelves with only the best, quality ingredients. You can get all types of raw fish, goat, chicken, and other meats from their huge stock of freezers.

 

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Conclusion

 

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The Dagan African Marketing is located at 1681 Fort Campbell Blvd, Suite D, here in Clarksville and is looking to expand in the future! Go check them out and tell them we sent you!

– Wes Foster – WesFoster.com – @realwesfoster

Bethlehem Bakery

Bethlehem Bakery

Bethlehem Mexican Bakery is a family-operated bakery in Clarksville, right outside of Ft. Campbell. They’ve been serving the city of Clarksville since 2011 and offer a huge variety of foods, desserts, and cultural snacks.

We stopped in here to learn more about the business and family and were pleasantly surprised at just how much was packed into this building!

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Where it all started

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The Bethlehem Mexican Bakery originally started in 2011 in a small ~1800 square feet office in Clarksville. Diego says, “It was small, but it was perfect. We made it work, opened up shop, and were so happy when we made our first sale of $70!”

Since then, the family has had to upgrade the building to accommodate the increase in demand!

The current location, which they moved into in 2016, is about 3,000 square feet. Inside, you’ll find a nice dining area, shelves upon shelves of pastries and desserts, and a huge menu detailing all the different foods they serve, including empanadas and burritos!

Diego and his family love serving the Clarksville area and specifically outside of Ft. Campbell because the culture is so diverse in the area.

What makes them unique

Bethlehem bakery, staying true to their culture, makes everything from scratch–with many of the recipes being passed down through multiple generations! Diego, one of the two sons who actively work in the business, walked us around and gave a grand tour of the shop!

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The baked-goods in this unique bakery tend to be less sweet than what you may be used to in a traditional American bakery. For this reason, customers from all over the map come in to get a taste of the not-so-sweet, but still-so-delicious desserts.

The majority of the desserts and pastries are under $1.50 and Diego says that you cannot beat that price. Since everything is handmade from scratch every morning, he can tell you every ingredient that goes into each and every pastry.

Go check them out!

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Bethlehem Mexican Bakery is a Christian bakery (hence the name “Bethlehem”) and their family whole-heartedly believes in the golden rule and treats every customer like family. Be sure to stop by their bakery and tell them we said hey!

Wes Foster
@realwesfoster

Artlink

Artlink

ArtLink Clarksville is a one-of-a-kind, non-profit, art studio located right in the heart of downtown Clarksville, TN. Since 2012, ArtLink has been empowering people, igniting passion, and building character through creativity and various art programs.

ArtLink was founded in 2012 by Maria Haycraft who, if you’ve ever met her, is not exactly what you’d expect from your average artist. While modern films portray artists as dry, philosophic, turtle-neck-wearing stiffs, Maria is fun, energetic, and very welcoming to everyone she’s around. Not only that, but Maria is extremely talented when it comes to her own personal style of art. She loves what she does, and it shines through with how she interacts with her students, teachers, friends, and everyone involved with ArtLink.

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Art is something most children grow up with at a young age. Whether it’s coloring with crayons and paint, secretly painting murals on the side of your dresser, or string macaroni into a necklace, art is a normal part of life for most children. But as children grow into adults, the arts are slowly replaced with science, math, geography, and life in general. Art tends to be looked at as childish busywork and not so much as a necessary outlet for many adults.

ArtLink’s Executive Director and Founder, Maria Haycraft, wants to change that.

About Maria

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Born in San Fernando, CA, and raised in Niagara Falls, NY, Maria has always had an interest in the arts. Not just visual arts either, but music as well. Maria started her art path through music in high school, where she admittedly took classes because she saw them as an easy out compared to the advanced math and science classes she “mistakenly” volunteered for. Once she dove into music head first, she realized that this was her calling all along.

After finishing out school and her music, life eventually brought her to Gainesville, FL where she was initially introduced to the art of stenciling by some of her friends. There was a legal graffiti wall that her friends would work on together so they asked her if she would like to go out stenciling with them. At the time, Maria had no idea what stenciling even was! But after that night, she was hooked–for life.

Life eventually brought Maria back to Niagara Falls, but this time, the art of stenciling came with her. She and some friends started “Sacer Clothing” and went on to sell custom artwork and clothing as a partnership. In 2012, Maria moved to Clarksville, TN, brought Sacer, and noticed the huge art void that Clarksville had. Not even a legal graffiti wall, anywhere!

Maria started ArtLink as a way to provide a creative outlet for those who want to explore and find new ways to channel their energy. Having been “saved” by art in her own life, Maria, and others who volunteer at the studio, see art as a way to express and develop confidence in one’s self.

At ArtLink, art is more than just fun and games, it’s an expression of one’s self, a therapy, and a unique way to bond with others in the community. Maria wants to bring all the joys that art brings to children and adults alike in Clarksville.

Classes & Projects

ArtLink offers a number of different types of creative arts, services, and events for all ages, such as:

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DIY ART KITS

Art Kits are purchased on ArtLink’s website, or in their store, and consist of all the art supplied needed to create the craft of the month. Students are led through the entire process by Maria, or another volunteer, virtually or from within the classroom. Even though the process is the same for everyone, students are encouraged to express themselves through their own color choices and patterns. The classes are fun, sometimes messy, and students walk away with a unique project and a higher sense of confidence in themselves.

ANNUAL CHALK WALK

One of the largest events put on by ArtLink, the annual “Chalk Walk,” is a world-wide favorite! Chalk artists from Clarksville, and all over the world come together to decorate sidewalk squares. These squares, which cover over 600 square feet, consist of various different styles, including 3D, and are mapped throughout downtown Clarksville for the local community to enjoy.

OTHER CLASSES

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ArtLink offers so much to students, and a lot of it for FREE. As a non-profit, ArtLink is supported by donations, sponsors, and the revenue generated from their events. Other things ArtLink is known for include:

  • “Turn it Up Tuesdays” Music Lessons

  • Macrame, Painting

  • Donated Goodie Bags

  • Kidz Zone Logo Contests

Or, if you’d like, you can simply come in and start slapping paint, drawing, coloring, and hanging out with others who love art! ArtLink provides a safe and fun environment to express yourself through art.

Go Visit!

ArtLink is currently located at 117B Strawberry Alley BUT will be moving across the street into a much larger studio very soon! You can learn more about ArtLink, Maria, the classes, and other volunteers at their website: https://artlinkclarksville.com/

Author: Wes Foster @realwesfoster

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