South Hill art store owner glad to be open for business

After weeks of downtime, Indigenous 1st Designs is back in business with a new name, and a new look.

Formerly known as Dene-Cree Designs, Indigenous 1st Designs held their grand re-opening on Friday, Aug. 19 after closing for renovations. New owner Randy Clarke said he’s excited to be back in business.

“I think opening a store at this time is a really good idea,” Clarke said. “A lot of the people who used to buy this stuff, the stores (that carried the items), some of them are closing or they’re not buying from the local artists anymore.

“That’s what we’re carrying in the store. You’ll see a lot of local art.”

Indigenous 1st Designs carries a variety of pieces from artists in La Ronge, Deschambeault Lake, and other communities. The list of items includes rock paintings, shirts, blankets, beadwork and sculptures.

Clarke said it’s important to give exposure to local artists, while also giving Prince Albert residents a chance to view and purchase their creations. However, he emphasized that the store seeks to attract more than just local shoppers.

“We do have lots of First Nations coming to the City every weekend,” he explained. “They contribute lots to the economy in Prince Albert. A lot of the surrounding communities and northern communities stop here, and they don’t have a lot of stores that have what we carry in our store, so it’s good.”

While focusing on Indigenous customers is a priority, Clarke stressed they hoped to attract shoppers of all ethnic backgrounds. That’s the big reasons he committed to their current location inside South Hill Mall.

Clarke said it’s easily accessible for everyone traveling through the community, and he hopes non-Indigenous residents will visit and find something they like too.

“That’s the reason we kept it at the mall—so everybody has access to it,” he explained. “It’s not on reserve, but it’s working and we’re doing good.”

Indigenous 1st Designs is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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