Colette Bleakley offers a matter-of-fact answer when asked why she chose “The Prairie Chick” as the name for her new retail venture.
“I’m originally from Saskatchewan and I’m a Saskatchewan farm girl — so I am The Prairie Chick.”
Her choice of business — a shop specializing in handmade goods from this region and the province — was based on more substantive considerations.
“I’ve been looking into it for quite a while,” confirmed Bleakley.
What she noticed is that people like to buy locally produced goods and support crafts people close to home. A prime example is the popular Red Deer public market that attracts throngs of consumers to the Red Deer Arena parking lot every Saturday.
“Some of the people that I’ve ordered stuff from currently do go to the farmers’ market and sell.”
The economic downturn, she added, is probably causing consumers to provide even greater support to local businesses.
Although The Prairie Chick has yet to open, Bleakley said it will carry handmade goods like jewelry, bath and body products, clothing, photographs and greeting cards.
Other Red Deer businesses carry similar merchandise, she acknowledged, but her store will specialize in it.
“Definitely, the majority will be local handmade and Alberta handmade.”
Bleakley is currently renovating her business premises in the lower level of the building at 5018 50th St. Canwest Travel Company occupies the space above.
“I’m actually hoping to open up for CentreFest,” she said, referring to the downtown celebration scheduled for July 25 and 26.
Bleakley, who lives on a farm south of Alhambra, has a creative streak herself. She enjoys photography and also likes to recycle vintage items into new products.