Not Your Usual Suspect: Kathy Gillard
Crafters in Fort McMurray, rejoice! After a long stretch without a local retail outlet dedicated to craft supplies, a new entrepreneur has arrived on the scene and is taking the local crafting world by storm through a shop stocked to the brim with all the supplies a crafter could ever desire!
A love of crafting and recognition of a lack of a crafting supply store in the community prompted Kathy Gillard of Kathy’s Fiber Arts and Crafts to take the leap into small business ownership. “I decided to start my business when I went on maternity leave with my first daughter. I loved knitting and crochet and always wanted to open my own yarn shop. I started with my home based business and after having my second daughter I decided that I wanted to move it from my home into a retail location and expand into a full craft store as we have nothing here in Fort McMurray and there are so many crafters,” says Kathy of her new retail adventure. “I’ve been operating since 2013 from my home and just moved into the new shop as of August.”
And what a shop it is! Located in downtown Fort McMurray at 10217 Centennial Drive, the store is bustling with local crafters seeking supplies for their particular hobby or craft. Kathy provides a great local shopping alternative to online ordering, as well as the kind of personal service that means she can bring in requested items for crafters.
“I love sharing the love of crafting with people, like sharing ideas and helping people find their next passion. I also love to teach and can’t wait to put on some awesome workshops this fall,” says Kathy of her plans to incorporate learning opportunities for local crafters.
Kathy says: “We offer a large assortment of craft supplies but we can also order in tons of supplies not stocked in our shop. We are also offering classes and workshops for anyone wanting to try a new craft, and we also offer consignment for local artists.”
Kathy and her husband have called Fort McMurray home since 2009. Both her daughters, ages 3.5 and 17 months, were born in Fort McMurray as part of the tremendous baby boom the region has experienced in recent years. Hailing from North Sydney, Cape Breton, NS, Kathy says: “If I could tell someone something great about Fort McMurray it would be the community spirit and how everyone pulls together to help! This place has so much for young families - we love Fort McMurray!”
In a time of economic uncertainty, Kathy is one of those unusual suspects who forges boldly into the unknown with a new venture, but also a venture deeply rooted in an understanding of the community and the need for the goods and services she provides. Community response to the new store has been strongly positive, with local crafters seeing an opportunity to not only secure their supplies but also support an independent, locally-owned family business. Through entrepreneurs like Kathy Gillard, the Fort McMurray business community continues to grow, and provides opportunities for unusual suspects – and business owners - to not only survive, but thrive.