Saint John’s Artist-Run Gift Shop You Need to Know About
Visitors is pleased to announce the opening of its Uptown storefront location and launch of shopvisitors.ca. Shoppers can look forward to a new multichannel retail space that represents contemporary artists and designers, and carries a broad selection of vintage and quality second-hand apparel for all genders and bodies. Set to open for the holiday season, Visitors will be a destination for discovering unique items whether they’re handmade or hand-picked.
Emily Saab & KC Wilcox, in front of 145 Union Street
Founded by artists Emily Saab and KC Wilcox—two former artist-run centre directors, Third Space, and by extension, THIRD SHIFT, and Connexion Artist-Run Centre, respectively—the entrepreneurial duo are curious about new ways retail environments can support creative careers and personal expression. Visitors was conceived in response to a need for more opportunities in the region for emerging-level artists and designers to share their work.
“Visitors is a project about expression” says Saab, “we’re engaging with artists who are making work on their own terms. We are interested in works that speak to the artist’s ideas, history, and lived experiences.” Visitors will offer a curated assortment of books, magazines, ceramics, small artworks, jewelry, and homewares, in addition to vintage and consigned clothing and accessories. To some, clothing and art may seem unrelated, but they share a lot in common—like practicing art, dressing is a way for people to express their identity.
Visitors will make space for creatives to connect with audiences in New Brunswick, and for New Brunswickers to connect with contemporary artists and designers who are working globally. Visitors anticipates it will open with a roster of 25 vendors who are working within the province and beyond, running their own independent small business ventures online and offline. “Instagram has been a great way for us to connect with up-and-coming artists. We think of Visitors as not only a retail platform, but a space for exchange, where new and necessary networks will be built between New Brunswickers and the rest of the world” says Wilcox, “we are proud to realize something new and innovative in Saint John that will be on par with similar types of artist-run gift and apparel shops in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.” The two are grateful for the support they’ve received from Enterprise Saint John, Impact Atlantic, and the artistic and entrepreneurial communities locally.
“There are a lot of great things in store” adds Wilcox. A few of the many artists Visitors hopes people will share in their excitement for include, Amy Ash, a well-known Saint John-based multi-disciplinary artist who moved back to the city from London, England earlier this year, Kaley Flowers, a Toronto-based artist who will be introducing to the East Coast her series of internet-ephemera inspired clay figurines, and Sarah Sears, a Halifax-based jeweller whose latest patina-laden collection will be available at the shop. “We are also pleased to be working with two international distros, Slow Editions from Japan, and Tan & Loose Press, from Los Angeles, California.”
People can feel good about supporting this artist-powered shop during the upcoming holiday season. Visitors encourages a culture of positive retail practices through shopping local. Everything in the shop is set at an affordable price point, making it easy to support an artist’s career by gifting and collecting their work. On top of that, buying a slow fashion item, like handmade, ethically produced, or vintage garments, contributes to sustainable clothing consumption. “There’s really something for everyone” adds Saab—including people who are inclined towards buying online—shopvisitors.ca offers online shoppers free in-store pick up, making shopping local accessible, flexible and convenient.
Located at 145 Union Street, within traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq Peoples, Visitors will occupy a storefront space in Saint John’s historic shopping district. With renovations underway, Wilcox and Saab are excited to reveal Visitors, alongside newly restored building features that include a previously concealed ornate tin ceiling, likely dating to the building’s original construction.
To follow Visitors’ development and hear the latest news of its anticipated grand opening, follow Visitors on social media and sign up for the newsletter.
For locals seeking to reduce clutter in their closet while earning store credit or additional income, Visitors is currently accepting clothing on consignment. To express interest in setting up an account, contact Visitors. Items will be selected for the shop based on demand, style, season, quality, condition and inventory levels. At this time, Visitors is seeking appropriate styles for winter and spring weather. For more information, visit Visitors' FAQ.
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