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'Experiential retail' store coming to downtown Kamloops next month

A grand opening is planned for June 22
Brianne Sheppard and Callie Duncan with Rosie the dachshund. (via Brendan Kergin)

Downtown Kamloops will be getting a unique store in just a couple of weeks.

The duo behind Makeshift Kamloops, the creative workshop, are putting their money where their mouth is, they say, and opening up a retail shop called Far & Wide at 167 Fourth Ave., featuring artisans from, well, far and wide. While there are other shops with local products, they aim to make Far & Wide a little different. 

"We don't want this to feel like a regular store, where you walk in, look at the products and walk out," co-owner Brianne Sheppard, 32, says. "We want it to feel like you're part of the community. You can come in and work during the day if the workshop space isn't being used.

"This is part of the experiential retail that we're trying to do."

The workshop space is the most noticeable departure from what would be considered a normal store, with a long picnic table offering space for workshops, "meet-a-maker" events and more. Co-owner Calli Duncan, 31, says they're looking at other types of events, including pop-up shops and more ambitious ideas, like events for National Writing Day or National Taco Day.

"We'll have this as being more of a hub and community space than just a store," Sheppard says "The more we can bring people to come in, the more we can support the local artists."

While they won't be able to hold large events, the workshops will be a regular draw, so people can learn to make things they might see in the shop, like terrariums, jewelry and weaving.

FarAndWide2Shelves with handmade products at Far & Wide. (via Brendan Kergin)
"Those are hands-on workshops," Duncan says. "You come you get to make a finished product to take home and learn a bit of a craft, as in a skill set."

Since the two are the owners, using their own money, they get to do whatever they want, more or less, Duncan says. While ambitious events are in their future, she says they're focusing on getting the shop up and running for a soft launch on June 7 and a grand opening on June 22. That means sorting out the retail side.

"Right now, about a third of suppliers are local Kamloops artisans," Duncan says. "Another third is made by – we're calling them 'local makers,' from across Canada. ... Still with that local feel and handmade dedication to quality craftsmanship."

"About a third of our products are sourced from Canadian-based wholesalers, so the products aren't necessarily made in Canada but there's still an effort to source ethically made, sustainably produced products."

She says they're working closely with their wholesalers to make sure they know where the products are coming from.

"I think it really means something for people our age to know a little bit more about what they're buying," Sheppard says. "People aren't necessarily buying more things, they're spending more time choosing the things that they want to buy."



Brendan Kergin

About the Author: Brendan Kergin

Brendan Kergin is a digital reporter based in Kamloops.
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