Lessons from an Idea Friendly Gift Shop in a Small Town


One of the chapters in my upcoming workbook  is about using crafters as your next set of entrepreneurs. Stephanie from Canada shared her crafter entrepreneurial story with us! 

You don’t have to go it alone. 

Fourteen years ago Stephanie and her sister moved to a small town that had lots of summer tourists but no gift shop. Six months after they got there, they met with three other crafters and proposed the idea of starting a summer shop. 

Share your story. There are people who want to help you.

Space was the first problem. Over a pancake breakfast, an acquaintance of theirs said “You can use the basement of our guest house.” First problem solved.


Growth is good! Keep sharing your story. Be visible.

When that wasn’t available the next year, the Catholic Church gave them permission to use their hall. The church is located on a hill just above the marina. It’s easy to spot and easy to walk to for all the visitors who come by boat.

You don’t have to do it year round. Treasure your volunteers.

They open on Canada Day (July 1) and close on Labour Day (first Monday in September.)  Through volunteer workers, they are open every day, 11-4. In 2023 they had 18 members and a wide variety of crafts: pottery, quilts, jewelry, knitted items, photography etc. 

Idea Friendly works.

It is still going strong. They make more money every year. And get to meet a lot of interesting visitors too.

“I didn’t know then but we were using your idea friendly method to get things going,” said Stephanie Olson.

What is Idea Friendly? 

You gather your crowd with a big vision.

You turn a crowd into a capable network through building connections.

You and the crowd accomplish the vision through small steps.

The Idea Friendly Method helped our small team remove the barriers that events require committees, multiple meetings, and multiple levels of decisions. We took our idea, divided up a handful of start up tasks, and hit GO. When we round tabled our results, we were all shocked that 75% of the event was done and what remained was manageable. Our team was also pleasantly surprised at how many people popped out of the woodwork to help once they saw the momentum of the event. I’ll continue to use the Idea Friendly Method more and more with the hope it carries forward to others.   Stephanie Ray, Economic Development Director Stillwater County, Montana

Here’s a gallery of some of the products in their store.


Contact info:

  • Phone: (250) 934-6236
  • Email:
  • Visit Website
  • St. Joseph’s Catholic Church 744 Cardiac Climb Tahsis, BC, Canada V0P 1X0


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