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Outpost fosters a community for Canadian makers in Collingwood

Susan Parker and Bayley Fryer settled into their new location for The Maker's Outpost on Hurontario Street

The Maker’s Outpost mission is to showcase Canadian artists, and encourage all Canadians to become artists themselves.

Collingwood locals Susan Parkin and Bayley Fryer founded the Outpost in June 2019 and in under a year, left their small space on Third Street and moved to a bigger, brighter location on Collingwood’s Hurontario street.

“We have always really loved this building, there’s a lot of character,” Parkin said about their new location at 159 Hurontario Street (beside the Gayety Theatre). The new location officially opened its doors in July.

Parkin and Fryer are both makers themselves. Parkin specializes in modern macrame and fibre art, which can be found through her other business, FibreLove. Fryer is a visual artist, with a long history of painting, sketching and sculpting.

The two have been friends since Grade 5 and would travel to markets together, selling their creations. However, despite how fun the market and holiday show experience is, it’s also exhausting, and they always dreamed of creating a “little maker community in Collingwood.”

“We were spending less time making and more time selling,” said Parkin. “We wanted to create a hub essentially for locals and Canadian makers to sell their stuff in Collingwood so it wasn’t all about markets and shows, but instead about creating an experience that is available year-round.”

“Ironically, we are spending even less time making because of the shop, but it’s for the greater good now,” she continued. “Way less risk for them and more fun for us.”

The Outpost currently showcases over 80 vendors and artists from across Canada. It has everything from jewelry and clothing, to stickers, cards and craft supplies, and the friends recently shifted their focus to include more DIY craft kits as well.

They work with most of their vendors on a consignment basis, which means the Outpost keeps 40 per cent of a sale and the artists receive 60 per cent.

“Our goal was always to support Canadian makers and inspire people to make. That’s where our love comes from,” said Parkin. “It’s not only showcasing artists but encouraging people to be artists themselves.”

The duo closed their first location and moved into the new space the same week the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Despite fear of the unknown, they never thought about giving up their dream.

“It gave us more time to be prepared,” said Parkin. “We’ve had a lot of support from the community, and our maker community and family and friends, so that has been super helpful.”

Parkin said the summer season was one of the busiest she has ever seen. And while they haven’t really slowed down since, the friends have already started focusing on the holidays and hope to add more local artists and makers to their roster.

Hands down, Parkin said, their favourite things about owning the Outpost is receiving new products from makers across the country.

“We love seeing how incredible makers are,” said Parkin.

The Maker’s Outpost is currently open seven days a week.

For more information or to inquire about becoming a vendor, visit The Maker’s Outpost online.


Maddie Johnson

About the Author: Maddie Johnson

Maddie Johnson is an early career journalist working in financial, small business, adventure and lifestyle reporting. She studied Journalism at the University of King's College, and worked in Halifax, Malta and Costa Rica before settling in Collingwood
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