SAINT JOHN, NB – August 9, 2018 – One of Saint John’s best known local retailers continues to be a success now under new ownership.

 

As of August 1st, Handworks Gallery is under the new ownership of Elizabeth Cook. An artist herself, she came to the gallery with years of experience from Gainsborough Galleries in Calgary, Alberta. Originally from Southern New Brunswick she was anxious to come back home and have the opportunity to work with artisans from her home province.  “Elizabeth has been part of the Handworks family for over a year now and I can think of no other person to move this gallery forward and continue to grow its reputation as the premier outlet for fine art, jewellery, pottery, woodwork, glass and sculpture,” said Oland.

 

Handworks Gallery had closed its doors suddenly in 2014.  Lisa Oland, a veteran retailer with a background in marketing and communications acted quickly to acquire the business to save it. “It was important to me that the gallery be restored to remain a fixture, not only in the Saint John community, but the province as a whole”, said Oland. With a commitment to build the gallery to a level that every artisan would be proud to be represented by, “ four years later, I am proud to say that Handworks has never been in such great shape. We grew from representing 65 artisans to 100 today and we have built a full online store.”

 

At the time of its closing back in 2014, many artisans were owed substantial sums of money from the previous owners. However, a promise was made by Oland to cover the debts of artists who continued to do business with the gallery. “It was a show of good faith to the local arts and crafts community members who continued to sell their work at the gallery,” said Oland.

 

Elizabeth Cook added it is her intention to build upon Handworks Gallery’s reputation and to draw from her own experience from Western Canada. “I believe in our Maritime artisans and what they have to offer and I look forward to providing our customers with a wide range of one-of-a-kind works,” she said.

 

Oland and Cook released the news to their artists last Friday, August 3rd, to ensure a smooth transition. “We have been receiving a huge amount of support from the artists. Working with them for the past year and building that relationship has made the switch very natural,” said Cook.

 

Media Contact: Elizabeth Cook, Elizabeth.cook@handworks.ca, 506-631-7626