Embracing local artistic talent during the economic crunch of 1988 led to a successful Trail business venture that is celebrating 25 years of success tomorrow.
Artisan, a member run co-op of local crafters in downtown Trail, was a hands-on plan that started when the city’s economic action committee was working to improve the local economy.
“They put out ads and brought people together,” recalled Kim Shannon, a 25-year Artisan member. “We started the meetings early in the summer and by October we opened the store.”
Artisan operated out of the Waneta Plaza for a few years, but the last two decades has been home to local handcrafted gifts on Eldorado Street below Shoppers Drug Mart.
Shannon said when Artisan first opened there were 25 to 30 members who ran the business but today the store is down to 10 members who manage the consignment shop which is open Monday through Saturday.
“Some years it has been pretty tight to keep the store going,” she said. “The main reason it has stayed viable is because the members work in the store. And we have a few members who dedicate their heart and soul to running Artisan and keeping it interesting.”
Artisan currently has 120 consignees who regularly contribute unique hand crafted goods ranging from paintings and glass art to quilts, pottery, soaps, and “A taste of the Kootenays” pure huckleberry jam and local honey.
“We are a funky little store, with neat finds, and there is always great secrets to be found here,” said Shannon.
Over the years, the area’s art scene has blossomed, bringing increased opportunities for artisans to showcase their wares.
However, Shannon takes it all in stride because the Trail co-op is open year round and always attracting new and exciting product lines.
However, one aspect to the business continues to surprise her.
“It’s kind of funny,” she said. “Because tourists can always find us but after 25 years we still have locals come in who are amazed we are here,” she laughed.
Anniversary festivities kick off at 10 a.m. and include a small gift for the first 25 people, a gift basket draw, and cake cutting at 12:25 p.m.