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Craig Riggsby is never without his chestnut leather hat when he leaves his house; adorning it with a word bracelet that spells "soapbox". "My wife made it for me and it's always on it, he said.

Soap and service

story by Angelo Angel

In the fall of 2016 Craig Riggsby and his wife, Susan, made their home on a Morehead site occupied by three abandoned buildings and inundated with tall grass.

A burly man in faded overalls with a pistol tucked into the chest pocket, a chestnut leather hat and a salt-and-pepper beard, Riggsby recalls how desolate the property was.

“People didn’t think that we’d be able to turn the land into something worthwhile," Craig recalls. “I’d like to think otherwise.”

The land has new buildings for his business, MKM Soap, and an in-progress deck as well as a home for the Riggsbys. What they have in mind for the once overgrown lot is a center for the Haldeman community, a place to take children, purchase soap and snacks and host events. And the community is elated.

“I’m happy because the community is happy,” Susan says. “We have people come every day and tell us they want us to buy the property across the street because they saw us clean this (Haldeman Brickyard) up, so we can clean that up as well.”

The reborn land was the forlorn remains of a brick factory that opened at the beginning of the 20th century, employing several hundred people who resided in the now-defunct town of Haldeman.

“The brickyard produced bricks for the area and was the heart of the community during its time," Craig says. "It had everything for the workers: on-site doctors, housing, cafeterias. It even had a tennis court.”

The Haldeman Brickyard went through several owners before officially closing in 1958, extinguishing the flame in its ovens and indirectly draining the town’s life force.

That flame is glowing again as Craig works with community leaders to provide the center for the area.

“It comes from what I learned in the military,” Craig says. "I don’t say I’m gonna do something and not do it. I’m a man of my word."


Craig Riggsby, 55, likes to get animated when he talks. His baritone voice fills whatever room he happens upon; his hands follow suit.


Craig and Susan Riggsby adore all the dogs they have: six total with two indoors and four outside. They like to make faces to their dogs after a day at the shop.


The Haldeman community center serves as a place where kids can attend after-school activities and stay out of trouble. "Once I have my property ready, I’ll be able to host the kids and help out the community organizers at Haldeman." Craig Riggsby said.


The construction underway at the former Haldeman Brickyard has attracted a variety of individuals looking to support the project. Craig Riggsby spoke with Michael Cox who offered his assistance any way he can to support the construction endeavor.


Craig Riggsby carries a pistol in his suspenders for many reasons but especially to confront looters. "People from around the community come to my property to try to sneak one of the Haldeman bricks home with them, either for a foundation they’re working on or just to have a piece of history," Riggsby said. "I like to make sure they’re not stealing what’s mine."


When the days seem to stretch at the shop, Netflix and DVDs are a source of entertainment for Susan and Craig Riggsby.


Craig Riggsby stands by proudly as his bubble machine fills the air with bubbles.  Riggsby wants to create a welcoming center that takes the place of the long defunct Haldeman Brickyard and the bubbles are his way of creating atmosphere for events. "It can be used for a variety of occasions like concerts, weddings and birthdays we could possibly host," Riggsby said. "More importantly though, the kids will love it."

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