While “Artfully Delicious” may conjure up the thought of a chocolate confection or gourmet entre presentation, it also describes a new boutique in Kenai where entrepreneur and artist Romaine Walters feels it portraits the experience of giving someone a hand up rather than a hand out. To many pre-pipeline Alaskans it might also describe the Spirit of the North that makes us who we are: A community not dependent on government or subsidy programs but upon one another to make it through challenging times. For many who have experienced those times their stories ring of a priceless value of doing with little and the friendships that came with those who reached out a helping hand or warm coat. “What I’m doing at Artfully Delicious is sort of like a thrift store/boutique and I opened it because I wanted to do something for the community. My husband has had so many cuts up on the slope where he has worked for over 30 years that we found ourselves really hurting like many others. So while we were struggling we decided we needed to do something for us and for those in the community who are also struggling. So we opened Artfully Delicious as an interactive store for the community. That means that if you find something here you have need of and not the cash to buy it, I started a paying it forward program and the way it works is you take what you need but you have to leave one thing in return and not necessarily of equal value for someone else or family who may have a need. So it’s not a hand out, it’s more of a trade,” explained Walters.
At Artfully Delicious located in the Merritt strip mall behind Wells Fargo in Kenai, you’ll not only find items from juicers and snowmachine helmets to warm coats and custom designer jeans, but you’ll a myriad of new hand crafted art pieces, jewelry and wall hangings that are perfect for home décor and holiday gifts. “I’m on line all the time looking for things that are very cool and yet very inexpensive. I’ve tapped into a culture that people love the things they see and get excited about the low prices and that’s the way I want it to be. I want to keep the exchange spirit of giving and buying the way it used to be in Alaska. You can even put things on lay-away and pay a little at a time for something you want, it’s about blessing and being blessed,” she said. As an artist Romaine makes lovely hand crafted jewelry and wall hangings, she even restores pieces of art to their original beauty, “I do a lot of repair work and I do things that I can resell for low prices. I put a lot of work in here but it’s worth it when people come in and get excited about what they find or what they have to give. The donations have been awesome some folks take a couple of items and leave boxes of really great stuff. It warms my heart,” said Walters.