Artisan market opens in downtown P.A.

Jeri McKelvie poses in her downtown store Friday morning. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

A new store in downtown Prince Albert celebrates the creative talents of local crafters.

YPA Makers Market opened just last week and already has proved a popular addition downtown.

The store is the brainchild of Jeri McKelvie, a local teacher who took a year-long leave of absence to launch her idea this fall.

The store features crafts, artwork and food from local vendors. While it’s open to creators from across Saskatchewan, a large number of the artists included are from Prince Albert and area the wares are sold on consignment. According to CTV, McKelvie has over 50 vendors and expects to be showcasing 70 by Christmas.

“It’s giving local makers an opportunity to showcase what they’re making and to promote it for sale,” McKelvie said.

“I’ve always wanted to have a little store. It seemed like the right time for me to do this. I had this idea rolling around in my head for a while. I thought, ‘well, let’s see how it’ll come together,’ and it did really quickly.”

McKelvie started working in earnest on the idea in September. Two months later, on Nov. 4, she opened her doors.

So far, she said, the experience has been “really, really positive.

“It’s been busier than I expected it to be. A lot of the (makers) are saying that this has been fantastic for them because they had all of their items put together.”

Trade shows, craft shows and similar events, though, for the most part, have been cancelled due to COVID-19 the makers market has given them somewhere else to go.

While COVID-19 has led many entrepreneurs to shut their doors, McKelvie wasn’t phased by the prospect of opening up shop in a pandemic.

In addition to following all public health guidelines, she has offered a “book your bubble” time, where people can book her store before it opens, after it closes or on Sundays to shop alone with their bubble and not worry about encountering other customers. It’s a service designed to respond to people’s anxieties over COVID-19.

“I really don’t think it’s any different to start (a business) during the time of COVID,” McKelvie said.

“You have to take all the precautions, the masks and the extra cleaning and hand sanitizing. There are some things that are a little more expensive. But other than that, I’ve talked to a lot of people on Central and asked them how they were doing in the time of COVID, and they said, ‘you know, we’re doing OK.’ You just have to be creative and come up with new ways of doing things.”

YPA  Makers Market is located at 1309A Central Ave. and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.