An Unlikely Friendship

When local Athens creator Dan Copper gifted several house plants to Jacqueline Krim, a former employee of Busy Day Market, Krim felt compelled to return the favor, thus acting on the old proverb, “one act of kindness sparks another.”


As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on businesses around the globe, local creator Dan Copper found himself struggling to keep his art sales afloat.

In the midst of a summer devoid of public gatherings, Copper, whose sales and socialization primarily come from summertime fairs and festivals, one day found more than groceries at Busy Day Market. Located just down the street from the front porch where he creates his signature wind chimes, jewelry and other metal arts, the market is where he first met Jacqueline Krim.

Jacqueline Krim, an Ohio University alumna, met Dan Copper in the summer of 2020 near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Copper was struggling to sell his art, and after meeting him, Krim felt compelled to help. Video produced by Jack Hall and Matt Gade

dan porch

A small kindness led to a life-changing relationship for Copper and Krim. Since Copper relies heavily on word-of-mouth advertising, his sales have been drastically low during the coronavirus pandemic. Using social media, Krim helped Copper sell some of his art during a time when social interaction is few and far between. Photo by Dylan Benedict

It’s kismet

Krim, a December 2020 graduate of Ohio University’s civil engineering program, began working at Busy Day Market on Stimson Avenue during the summer of 2020 when her internship was canceled due to the pandemic.

“I was supposed to go back to the place I interned last summer in 2019,” said Krim, who no longer works at Busy Day because she plans to relocate soon. “It got canceled because of COVID, so I moved down here [to Athens].”

Because Copper frequents the corner store, most of the employees know his name. Making small talk, the artist, who lives alone, spoke with Krim about his distaste for rain but conceded that it was great for his plants.

That sparked a conversation.

dan porch

Copper customizes different articles of clothing with treasures he’s found throughout his time scavenging for materials. This particular hat is adorned with abalone shells that he recovered from massive bags full of the iridescent mollusk. Photo by Dylan Benedict

Gifting plants and growing friendship

“Three days later, there was a plant sitting [in the store] … for me, and I asked my co-workers, ‘Where'd that come from? Did we get a plant at Busy Day?’ That's, like, not a thing — so out of character for us — but they're like, ‘No, Dan brought it for you,’” Krim said. “Truthfully, [he was the] first person ever, first guy ever to give me like a plant.”

“I now have 57 in my apartment, and 30 I think are from him,” she said.

Though she indicated her plant collection is massive, it pales in comparison to Copper’s own.

After she thanked him, Copper began to share resources about plant care with Krim and has gifted her many more plants since the first.

“I had over 500 house plants at one point. But I'm trying, believe it or not, to simplify my life. I need to downsize seriously,” Copper said, and so he continued to transplant pieces of his own indoor garden into Krim’s home.

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"When I found out that he used almost 100% recycled material, I was like, ‘I think we were meant to meet.'"

Jacqueline Krim

When the weather is nice, Dan Copper and Jacqueline Krim like to sit on Copper’s porch and enjoy a couple of beers. Photo by Dylan Benedict

A kindness is returned

The more Krim got to know Copper and his generosity, the more she wanted to repay him by finding a way to sell his art despite the pandemic-related shutdowns. So, she began photographing his work and posting it for sale on Facebook marketplace.

“When I found out that he used almost 100% recycled material, I was like, ‘I think we were meant to meet,’” said Krim, who focused on environmental engineering during her undergraduate education. “Then he told me his financial issues and I was like, ‘I have a social media platform as a 22-year-old,’ so I ... decided we were meant to meet — I'm gonna help.”

“It's a lifesaver,” Copper said of Krim’s social media work. “I was seriously worried about running out of money.”


"I was seriously worried about running out of money."

Dan Copper

Copper often visited Athens 15 or 20 years ago to spend time with his sister who still lives there today. After years of traveling “all over the place” in a van, Copper said he missed Athens, and so he decided to put down his roots in the small Appalachian town. Photo by Dylan Benedict

Dark times ahead, but hope perseveres

While Copper said he’s grateful for Krim’s assistance, he acknowledges that even with the few expenses he does have, things are still a struggle.

“I really live on so little. I don't need much. But, you know, there is rent and utilities, and I do eat some. Some — not very much these days,” he said. “And yes, I drink beer. I do drink the cheapest, strongest beer I can find. Not because it's my favorite, but because it's cheap and strong.”

Before the shutdowns, Copper said he was planning to be a vendor for the third year in a row at Wisteria, a campground in Pomeroy, Ohio that holds festivals during the summer months. Had his revenues followed the trend of his past two years at Wisteria, Copper said he may have sold enough of his wares to cover a year’s worth of expenses.

Instead, Copper expressed he might need to find roommates to help with some of the household expenses.

“There's a very good chance I'm gonna lose this house soon,” he said. “And I really am not equipped to deal with that. … (I) literally don't know what I'm gonna do.”

Dan's Story

Dan's Art

To inquire about Dan’s artwork, email him at