KERROBERT -- In July of 2019, Annie Cholin of Kerrobert started up an innovative business in the community of Kerrobert called Prairie Sky Treasures and Print Studio, located on Main Street.
The building was originally the former liquor board store and Cholin said she is currently researching the history of the building that she's been told was built in 1915.
Cholin worked at the RBC in Kerrobert for five years prior to starting her own business in the community.
The business was born out of the idea of wanting to move her photo studio out of her basement. When she her and husband looked at the building, her creative mind started to envision what she could do in the front of the building. As Cholin was a vendor in a couple of artisan boutiques at the time, she loved the idea of having her own business offering these products. Thus, the idea of her present-day business was begun.
Seventy vendors are represented by products offered and there are more lined up to come on board in the next few months. Cholin says her business has expanded from artisan boutique and photo studio and now offers the opportunity to purchase custom clothing and gifts locally. She has also purchased a large format photo printer which enables her to offer large photo prints as well as standard sizes that can be printed in-house. Customers also have the option to have flyers, announcements, invitations and calendars designed and printed in-house as well.
“I am hoping to add craft classes to what is offered at the business, later this fall.”
Cholin is the only employee at present but is thankful for the assistance of her mother-in-law who helps with displays and putting out stock when new vendors come in.
Cholin and her husband initially leased the building when the business first opened. After leasing the property for two years, the process was started to purchase the building in August of 2021. They took official possession in September 2021.
Once the purchase was finalized, Cholin knew she wanted to do updates to the building so they began the renovation work after the busy Christmas season. The flooring was updated going back to the original hardwood and the floor plan of the store was updated. The old industrial metal retail shelving was removed and the desk and checkout area was moved to the back of the store. The display pieces in the store are either vintage furniture or shelving built by Cholin’s husband.
Wanting to offer a unique business to Kerrobert’s business sector, Cholin says, “I offer an artisan boutique up front with crafters offering knitting, crocheting, pet supplies, ceramics, jewelry, wood working, leather work, photography and art, canning and so much more. I also offer custom heat press apparel, custom drinkware and gifts (I use sublimation mostly but also offer vinyl as well), promotional items, vinyl decals, signs using aluminum composite panel or corrugated plastic, photo and poster printing both large and small, flyers, announcements, invitations and calendars and more. I also offer passport, PAL, permanent resident photos and student portraits in my studio located within the store.”
The crafters and vendors included inside are from all over Saskatchewan, and some are from Alberta. Cholin also says there is one vendor from British Columbia, but approximately half of her vendors are within an hour of Kerrobert.
“The pandemic has been very challenging for us. I was only open eight months before we were shut down for two and half months. I was also too small of a business to qualify for any federal support so it made things difficult. My family is my biggest support. They would not let me give up when I felt like things were ballooning out of my control. We held on and here we are. “
Some of Cholin's products are available for purchase on the business's website, www.prairieskytreasures.com, as well as a Facebook page.