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PHOTOS: Create memories at Prince George's new 'Makerie'

Opening was pushed back due to COVID-19

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it's been hard to find activities that are safe while also enjoyable. 

But, as of this weekend, there will be another crafty way to spend time while building your creative ideas in downtown Prince George.

'The Makerie,' a craft centre with a rotating curated selection of projects suited to the modern maker, coffee bar, letter-writing station and small retail shop all under one roof, will officially open its doors this Saturday (Aug. 29) at Fifth Avenue and George Street, across from CrossRoads Brewing. 

"I've got to add still [to craft menu], I'm not done but these are what we're going to have available when we open," owner Kim Hayhurst said during a tour with PrinceGeorgeMatters yesterday (Aug. 25).

"There's a set amount of projects that we'll have all the materials for and our staffers are called 'craft tenders,' so they'll help people get going and just be available to help coach people through but it's really a 'you sit and play' kind of space so everything should be fairly simple and manageable and fairly independent." 

Hayhurst says residents can glue, paint, write and put together whatever they want to bring out that creative side.

The Makerie has been a concept developing for about two to three years, she told PrinceGeorgeMatters in March

"I began preparing seriously with business planning about a year ago," she said. "It’s taken time to build the “right” plan, find the “right” location and get all the little things in line.

"On top of that, we'll have special workshops in the evening or on a weekend."

There will also be special groups people can join, like a dollhouse club, writing club and more to be announced later that will meet on a monthly basis.

People are also allowed to bring their own projects to work on, depending on seat availability, especially during COVID-19.

'If there was someone that was coming in and a paying customer, we would ask them [someone bringing in their own work] to leave. So we want people to be creative." 

The building features a small retail shop, 'The Nook," where you can buy stationery, gift wrap and specialty crafting supplies. 

There is also the coffee bar, which is accessible to anybody (even if not doing a project), where you'll find your favourite latte or hot chocolate while enjoying a cookie or cupcake.

Like many businesses, Hayhurst had to change her plans suddenly when COVID-19 hit the province and forced many businesses to close their doors temporarily at the order of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the B.C. Minister of Health, delaying her grand opening.

"We signed our lease for this space before the world shut down," she added. "So that's been really an adventure."

"It was terrifying."

"You're making plans about how you would proceed or to not and it's so hard to know. You're hiring people, making obligations to them, while not knowing if you're going to go ahead so it's been terrifying. But the way we're doing it, we're trying to follow as many of the regulations as we can."

That includes spacing people out in the building. Some seats will be empty, due to COVID-19 and physical distancing. They'll also be bringing in dividers for the tables. Luckily, they didn't need to reconfigure the tables, as they'd planned to only have six people at a table, to begin with.

Hayhurst says the biggest challenge is the fact that people will be sharing a lot of tools. 

'We'll be sanitizing constantly and that will be a slow process and slow down service and stuff like that. It's unavoidable but you have to." 

She adds she hopes The Makerie can help bring out creative energy to everyone who comes through the door, whether they're seriously crafty or not.

"I find when I talk to people that they break themselves into groups that are “creative” or “not creative” which I think is bunk," Hayhurst added in March. 

"I hope that The Makerie will have creative energy that will even get the not-so-crafty to let loose and play. Tap into that creative spirit. Not only is it good for the soul, it permeates other areas of our lives. The precursor to innovation is creativity, so let’s tap that energy however and wherever we can."