Halifax’s backyard economy shows signs of going legit.

Posted on February 20, 2013 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments

Kicking Kitsch
Crafty souvenirs extend tourist season

Looking for a plastic lobster keychain? While you’ll still be able to find one in Lunenburg, the retail landscape in this picturesque town is beginning to shift. With the success of three Lincoln Street businesses, Lunenburg’s handmade culture is coming into its own.

Luvly in Lunenburg
This clothing store was born when owners Leslie Wright and Brian Arnott needed to fill a space in the building that they owned. Instead of waiting for a tenant, they decided to open the store themselves, preventing another empty storefront in Lunenburg. The store is devoted exclusively to independent Canadian designers of women’s clothing, and has built a loyal customer base by selling a variety of upcycled, handmade and one-ofa- kind pieces. According to manager Chloe Anderson, even their biggest designers are involved in the sewing process.

The Lunenburg Makery
Next door to Luvly is The Lunenburg Makery. It’s a multi-purpose space offering a variety of workshops and courses as well as dropin projects, sew-by-the-hour, evening craft circles, and studio space. Wright and Arnott opened the business when Luvly customers expressed a desire to make their own clothing. “The Makery was opened with the idea to create a street-level space, with a storefront, where people could get together as a handmade community,” says store lead Michelle Engel. This year, in addition to workspace rental, workshops and crafting programs, they’re also offering business development services to local artists and artisans.

Dots & Loops Handmade
While there are plenty of anchor pendants and boat automatas in this gift shop, you won’t find any plastic keychains here. Owner Melanie Strong opened her unique store, stocking handcrafted alternatives to massproduced items, when she decided that she wanted to be self-employed. She called it her “One-Year Experiment,” signed a 12-month lease and gave the store a year to see what would happen. Things went well, not only for Strong, but also many of the Atlantic Canadian artists she supports. Strong has been able to promote local artists like Swaine Street Woodworking, Angela Grace Jewelry and Poison Pear. These three businesses are contributing to the local economy by supporting local artisans and artists, which keeps more money in the community. And by carrying products and offering services that don’t focus on tourists, they’ve created sustainable businesses that don’t have to close in January.

By Sarah Sawler

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