Township plans Made in Mapleton pop up shop

The Township of Mapleton is getting set to go into business with local artisans, craftspeople and other producers of unique goods.

Investigation and preparations for the establishment of a Made in Mapleton pop up shop were approved by council on May 22.

Creation of the shop, which would sell locally-crafted items, baking, produce and other unique offerings on a consignment basis, was proposed in a staff report from economic development officer Trish Wake.

“Made in Mapleton would stimulate economic growth, assist our rural businesses and instill a sense of pride within our community,” states Wake in her report.

“A location that provides a one-stop shop for the gifts, handmade items and other unique-to-Mapleton creations will generate a buzz of opportunity for our local residents.”

Wake added the shop will stimulate job opportunities.

The plan involves utilizing a vacant downtown storefront to sell locally-made items through a collaboration of the township, the Mapleton Chamber of Commerce and local businesses.

The report indicates a chamber of commerce employee would be paid to manage the store as a contract employee of the township. The chamber and township would jointly hire a summer student to operate the store.

The township would operate as the bank and employer for the shop. Consignees would receive 70% of the sale price of their item, with the remaining 30% to go against township expenses.

The report notes that with a seasonal population of more than 450 cottagers, an estimated 30,000 theater-goers in Drayton annually and a local population of 10,000, “We just have to provide a reason to stop.”

The store would operate about 45 hours per week, Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 8pm, through the summer months.

Wake explained the concept of the shop is a temporary set up designed to cover costs and be reviewed to ensure viability.

The township would front expenses estimated at about $11,000 in the first month, with break even revenue projected to be about $36,000.

“We are not guaranteed that as soon as it opens. But what we are guaranteed is a ripple effect of economic growth,” the report states.

“We would be assisting businesses in our area get their name out there, give people a reason to travel to Mapleton.”

Funds would be drawn from an existing economic development reserve fund “on a temporary basis as to not affect the annual budget.”

“I’m really curious to see how an initiative like this takes off. It certainly could be quite successful,” said councillor Michael Martin.

However, he noted using funding from the economic development reserves could mean funds would not be available, or would need to be replenished for future projects.

Wake pointed out an application is planned to Wellington County’s business expansion and retention program and funds may eventually come from that source. If approved, Wake said, those funds “would probably cover at least our initial set-up.”

“I just think it’s an excellent idea,” said councillor Marlene Ottens.

“There’s so many local people who have crafts and things they create but nobody wants to have a full-time store of their own.  This is a perfect way to put it all together.”

Council authorized the economic development officer to undertake further investigation and authorized the signing of consignment agreements on behalf of the township.

Council also authorized the necessary transfer from reserves and directed the CAO to executive any necessary agreements, including rental of space for the store.