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Local artisan market opens in Noxon


September 3, 2020

Miriah Kardelis

A NEW MARKET open at the Bull River junction west of Noxon offers creations by local artists.

A new handmade shop has opened just outside of Noxon at the Bull River junction on Highway 200. The Local Artisan Market opened on August 1, and features quality handmade items from residents around Sanders County and Northwest Montana. "I know there is a lot of talent in the area, and that's what I want in here," owner Jen Fratzke said.

Fratzke opened this type of store for several different reasons, "there are so many folks in our region that are extremely talented and make quality handmade items, that most of us don't even know about." Vendors who choose to attend events such as the farmer's market to sell their items have several hurdles to jump through that Fratzke would like to eliminate, should vendors choose to display their work in her market. "Attending some of these events can be cost prohibitive, especially when you attend more than one or two a month and have to travel to get to them," Fratzke stated. "Not only do the costs rack up quickly, but it can be exhaustive physically, mentally and emotionally."

This year, Fratzke says, has been especially difficult due to the impacts of COVID-19. Many events have been cancelled, while others have strict requirements. "I want to eliminate as many of the struggles and hurdles for others that attend those events, and I'm doing that by providing a space they can display their goods in a dedicated store for a low cost," she said. "I value handmade items over commercially made, as do a lot of other people, and this is a space to bring both makers and buyers together."

Fratzke, who owns Day 3 Naturals, a shop that sells all-natural body products, is very familiar with the struggles that come with being a vendor, and displaying work in a small but highly expensive space. "I want something that is affordable for folks, especially those who are aren't well established yet." She also believes that the valley can benefit from having a place to purchase local artisan products. When a customer supports local artists, in return, "that person is getting a unique, and more often that not, a one of a kind piece, that you can't buy in chain stores," Fratzke expressed.

Right now, The Local Artisan Market is home to five vendors. Ken and Michelle Dahl, owners of Montana Wood Creations from Troy, chose to display and sell their items in the market, in hopes of gaining recognition in the local communities. "Each of our pieces are a 'one of a kind', uniquely handcrafted, and inspired into creativity through the nature that surrounds us here in Western Montana," the owners stated. Cabin Fever Creashuns owner Jennifer Misener, needed a different outlet other than Etsy, which was working for her. "I truly enjoy painting rocks and making towels, but was running out of room at my house," Misener said. "I figured the best way to sell them would be if people could actually see them. I hope people will enjoy my hobby as much as I enjoy it."

Big Sky Montana Creations specializes in Montana made laser engraved items. "During the quarantine time frame, I created so much inventory that I wanted to branch out into a few other small towns," owner Tracy Vincent who is based out of Libby said. "This coincided perfectly with the opening of The Local Artisan Market."

Garrison Designs by Paula is the newest addition to the growing list of vendors at The Local Artisan Market. Owner Paula Garrison wanted to stay local, and be a part of a great handmade market. "The great family atmosphere in the store is so welcoming, and it's a great place to be a part of," Garrison said. Garrison Designs creates custom hats and hair bows.

The grand opening for The Local Artisan Market, will be held over Labor Day weekend. Along with some great sales, the vendors will be in and out for the customers to meet and get to know. There will be a drawing for a gift basket for customers who spend $25 or more between now and the grand opening.


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