Following Black Friday it was National Small Business Day and in Soldotna it was a big day at The Market (where the red mushrooms grow) and a group of six small business women promoting “Shop Small.” At a historic location near the Soldotna Kenai River bridge just over a year ago where Suzanne, of Mountain Mama joined with Sue Mann of Artzy Junkin’ to offer unique store fronts to local entrepreneurs. Now six shops offer a wonderful shopping experience for anyone tired of on line or box store stress. Hand Drawn Design, Drunken Forest Tie Dye, Carri’s Place and Artful Souls have brought joined Mt. Mama originals and Artzy Junkin’at The Market. Jo Watts of Hand Drawn Designs decided to take her business out of her home and into The Market place, “I had been doing this out of my house like a lot of these women who started in our homes and grew to a point where we were ready to open a store front and bring it to the community in a special way,” Watts told the Dispatch. You’ll find her studio in the back of Drunken Forest Tie Dye where there are hundreds of hand dyed t-shirts, baby clothes, leggings, hoodies and yoga pants in all sizes. Drunken Forest has nothing to do with alcoholic beverages says, “I love Drunken Forest, it’s a black spruce tree stand with wonky trees and I always loved how the look because they remind me of home,” explained tie dye artist Jen, “I began tie dyeing in 2008 and immediately fell in love with the colorful hobby. I have a passion for the creative process, for natural fibers, and for the unique outcomes one gets from blending dyes and fiber and water and time. By purchasing my vibrant, unique, handmade tie dye, you support small business, help diversify our rural Alaskan economy and allow an artist to profit directly from her creativity, says Jen.
Jane Conway of Lancashire Farm Fibers is well known for her fiber art and now has a store front in Soldotna at The Market, “I sell locally raised wool products from raw fleeces to hand spun yarn and other wool products like fiber soaps and dryer balls. Business has been very brisk today,” said Conway. Carri Rossini, a SoHi graduate has opened Carri’s Place and is feature homemade foods to tempt your pallet while holiday shopping, “We are featuring delicious homemade foods all made from scratch and I work hard at purchasing the highest quality ingredients to produce the highest quality and healthiest foods. We offer the comfort foods like a traditional cheeseburger but are introducing some international dishes as well such as coconut curry chicken, Vietnamese sandwich and other exotic dishes. This has been a dream of mine for a long time and I’m very happy to be a part of this,” said Carri. The Market on Small Business Saturday also treated shoppers to free cocoa and prizes and on December 3rd with over 45 local artists on site even had a visit from Santa.