Harley’s House making significant progress; Rustic Market fundraiser hosted Saturday

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald People browsed the many booths at the second Rustic Market fundraiser for Harley's House at the south parking lot of the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday.

The Art Hauser Centre south parking lot was the place to find what you needed on Saturday as it hosted the 2021 Rustic Market.

The day included food trucks, music, crafts and home-based businesses. All proceeds from the event went to Harley’s House—a six-unit home for youth with intellectual disabilities between the ages of 18-21 in Prince Albert.

Rustic Market co-host David Girardi said they’re about $700,000 away from completing Harley’s House. He’s working together with Jody Foy to make that happen.

“We have had a lot of corporate help from out of province and in province,” he explained.

They have also launched the Harley’s House Coffee brand as a fundraiser, among other things. Planning is also under way for Harley’s Garden.

“We are really working towards financial independence, being able to turn that over, and then making it equitable so that the business owners also get value out of it at the same time,” Girardi said. “They get to earn while they give.”

The reason for hosting the event was quite simple: community. Girardi said the open market gave everyone a lot of space, and the Art Hauser Centre parking lot offered the perfect location.

“It gets the community together and naturally people love markets,” Girardi said.

The event was so successful, Girardi said plans were under way for another one. They’ve already rented a space in the Art Hauser centre for March 2022.

“Our premise is all about families and bringing people together,” he explained. “Big events like this really help us connect with those people and for people that want more information it gives us an opportunity to articulate our deal.”

The Rustic Market had plenty of support from local businesses along the way. Diamond North Credit Union employees volunteered at the gate, while Diamond North itself gave a community donation of $11,000

“We never really expected them to actually come and send volunteers for our market, so we are very grateful that they did,” Girardi said.”

Sixth Avenue Car Wash is another Harley’s House partner. They’re on a 90-day trial with their Chips for Charities partnerships where they donate 10 per cent of stone chip repair each month to different charities. They have already contributed to 25 or 30 charities according to owner Shelley Gordon.

“It also increases awareness of their charity,” Gordon said.

Attendees were expected to hand sanitize at sanitizing stations and to practice social distancing. Non-perishable food items were also accepted and donated to the Prince Albert Food Bank.

Gordon said they partnered with Harley’s House after hearing from someone who had been in care home, but aged out and had no place to go.

“Harley’s House would have been a very good place for him and unfortunately there isn’t one,” Gordon said. “There is Homeward Bound, which runs a very good program. It is just a different need.”

Gordon was pleased to see so many people out for the event.

“This is a great turnout. It’s a good thing for the community, I think, to finally get out,” Gordon said.

The day started with a pancake breakfast before the market took over the parking lot.