The COVID pandemic has brought about many changes for small businesses.
For Artsie owner and operator Dale Morrish, the time was spent moving to a new, upbeat location in Timmins.
She relocated from a storefront on Pine Street South to Algonquin Boulevard. Now, the business that specializes in custom framing and selling art supplies, has room to spread its wings.
“The move here to this location was the best thing I could have done,” Morrish said. “The area is really nice. The landlord is the perfect landlord. I have free parking. It’s just really conducive for an art store.
“It really suits the different products for art and framing, and I have that much more space available. Eventually, I will also be doing art lessons in the basement.
“The amount of people who come in are at least three times more than downtown. That’s a very positive thing.”
The prospect of hosting art lessons is exciting for Morrish, who is herself an artist.
“I have a full open basement. So, I’m putting in a sink. As soon as that is set up, we’ll be open for art lessons,” she said. “Right now, it will be acrylic because I’ll be teaching it at first. My goal is to get other artists available to teach different aspects of art, like oil, collages and watercolours. Eventually, I’d like to do a drawing course myself. It just all takes time.”
She explained how the pandemic has impacted her customer base and the business.
“In some ways, it’s encouraged the creativity of people,” Morrish said. “At first, people would come in and get supplies so they could explore their creativity when they’re home alone."
Doing curbside pickup, she said, was hard because it's different than shopping in person.
“In terms of framing, it’s hard to do via curbside. We got some, but certainly not enough to carry the store," she said.
She is glad the store is reopened to customer traffic, allowing the one-on-one service people enjoy.
Personal service is key to custom framing. Whether it involves a painting, photo, or something else entirely — such as a sports jersey and photo together — Morrish enjoys being creative with each project.
“Custom framing is suited to your framework, the measurements, the quality, and it is going to be better than what you can get in your local Walmart,” she said. “I take pride in doing it as well and as perfect as I can. I take pride in helping the customer pick out exactly what matches and will bring out that painting.
“I also use all acid-free products and UV protection, stuff like that which you’re not going to get at that other store.”
Currently, some of her own artwork is displayed in the store. She hopes by next year, to have the work of other artists on display.
“I would like to have some tables out at the front in the summer to have one or two artists on exhibit,” Morrish said. “The only thing that’s held me back is that we get closed (for the pandemic) and then we reopen and then we had to close. Every time we reopen, we have that much more to catch up on. Definitely, that is my goal for next summer.”
She is delighted by the support her business has received since the move and throughout the pandemic, particularly from the local art community.
“I’m highly appreciative of the support I’ve received from my customers, shopping locally and keeping our local stores open, because that makes a huge difference,” Morrish said.
Artsie is located at 360 Algonquin Blvd. in Timmins. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 705-360-9000 or visit Artsie on Facebook.