In the winter of 2000-2001, Debbee Werner was talking with Rick Fairbairn, then owner of Frank’s General Store in Cherryville, pondering somewhere to sell locally handcrafted wares that coming summer.
“Why not use the cabin?” was Fairbairn’s response.
The 20-by-12-foot cabin, built on the same property as Frank’s General Store more than 40 years prior, had housed a number of families and hunting parties over the years, but had been sitting vacant for many more and was very run down.
Over to the little building Fairbairn and Werner went, and not daunted by the icicles hanging from the ceiling inside, Werner was inspired.
After convincing fellow local artisans, Greg Baker, Shiel Mooney and Helen Kovacs, that this was a good idea, the Cherryville Artisans’ Shop was conceived. And after four months of extensive and intensive repairs, building, landscaping, painting, promotion and marketing, the shop held its grand opening May 19, 2001.
More than 600 people crossed the threshold on that May long weekend, despite the inclement weather.
“That little shop and all the special events were my whole life for six years; then in the seventh year, I found true love and a new life,” said Werner, who left the business in 2008, making Kovacs the sole proprietor. “I got to share much magic and goodwill with thousands of people during that time, as well as sell mountains of local art and crafts. It meant the world to me, and I am still blessed to sell my work from there, thanks to Helen.”
As well as being astounded by the variety and quality of the arts and crafts inside the little shop, visitors have loved the grounds: the mural celebrating the four seasons painted on the shop’s outside walls, the pond made out of a bathtub, and the funky flower umbrella, actually a repainted satellite dish used as a flying saucer in a parade promoting the opening of the shop.
It was later joined by the two giant mushrooms.
“The Cherryville Artisans’ Shop quickly became quite famous. It was featured on TV and in local newspapers and the response was gratifying knowing that it was drawing people from out of town to little ol’ Cherryville,” said Werner.
Special events regularly started seeing attendance of around 1,200 to 1,500 people.
“The quotes in the guest book over the years say it all for me — so many great comments from people from so many different places, including Cherryville and all over the world,” said Mooney.
Kovacs continues to keep the shop open for business — currently on summer hours, seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. –– and the Cherryville Farmers Market can be found there every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Ten years in business; I want to thank all of you for your support and patronage,” said Kovacs.
The Cherryville Artisans Shop celebrates its 10th anniversary during the Cherryville Farmers’ Market Roots & Beets Festival, Saturday, Aug. 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Helen Kovacs at (250) 547-0020, or visit the website at www.cherryvilleartisans.com.