Broom maker Jim Shaffer at Capitol Conference Center
Jim Shaffer, 85, has cobbled together hundreds of thousands of brooms during his 68-year career. While each broom has been made to the same specifications, Shaffer said imperfections are what make his craft an art form. “No one broom is the same,” he says. Shaffer is the owner of Charleston Broom Company, which maintains a small workshop near Kanawha State Forest. For decades, the 20-employee shop produced about 3,500 brooms every week in a factory located on the East End where Laidley Field now stands. After moving and years of declining sales, the company was downsized to a one-man operation when Shaffer took over in the 1980s. He is West Virginia’s only remaining broom manufacturer.