Carved wooden vases, elegantly handcrafted jewelry and local paintings have found a home on the highway in Miniota.
In an era when small businesses have been shuttered in favour of big box retailers and on-line shopping, Jennifer Copet took a risk and bet on her own creativity and extensive retail background to open Studio 83 Gallery and Gifts. This hidden gem is located in a converted church building, right on the highway, at the north east side of the road, as it passes through the town of Miniota. (Manitoba Highway #83, north of Virden.)
You will be awestruck by the quality of merchandise and the big-city look the moment you walk through the door. Studio 83 offers a curated collection of trendy styles and unique hand-made items.
Jennifer says that she was inspired to open the store because she truly believes in supporting her local community. “When stores close and rural people have to go further and further to buy the products they need and want, the local economy suffers. Keeping stores and services alive and vibrant, keeps the towns alive and vibrant.”
Studio 83 Gallery and Gifts is celebrating one year in business this weekend. Jennifer says that she turned to Facebook and Instagram to keep sales strong during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. She started showcasing products online and offering contactless pick up and delivery. She’s shipped products as far as British Columbia and loves helping people find that perfect gift.
Textile artists like Hayleigh Maximchuk (Smalltown Stitches by Hayleigh) have found success at Studio 83 with products like crochet apple bags, newborn toques and hanging planters. Copet says that there is a consistent demand for Hayleigh’s gorgeous work and new stock arrives regularly.
Copet knows that the secret to success in the retail business is building relationships and really looking after people. That’s why she goes the extra mile to work with artists and to special order in products for her regular clients. She also is happy to work with businesses and homeowners looking for the perfect painting for their office, or something to give their space an updated look. She often suggests paintings by Kayla Monique (Scatter Mind Design of Minnedosa). Paintings like “Owl Tribe” can change the look of a room and give new depth to the interior design.
When asked about the hot trends of this fall and holiday season, Jennifer talked about the texture of woven baskets, and hand-beaded bracelets along with gorgeous fall scented candles. “Candles and oversized pottery coffee mugs are always in high demand when the weather cools off” says Copet. “And we have a really great selection of both, made locally.”
Studio 83 Gallery and Gifts is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, but you can always shop online at their Facebook page “Studio 83.”