Market 826's Mission Statement:
- Make it easy and convenient to shop Lakeland local
Shop local in your underwear, 24/7. Market 826 bridges the gap between local makers and buyers. By curating locally made products in one online store, each maker benefits from the pooled customer base. The customer has access to a range of unique, quality products, and the buying process is consistent, convenient, and streamlined.
- Tell the stories of our local producers and makers
Craft is a big part of culture, and Market 826 goes beyond basic retail to celebrate our rural Alberta artists and their products. I’m pleased to meet so many talented local makers, to uncover their stories, and to share those stories with you.
- Encourage and develop the maker movement in the Lakeland
Producing and handcrafting can be a viable source of full or part time income. By creating a market for locally made products, we are fostering regional economic development and diversification. I hope to create a supportive community of local makers, and a place to learn new skills.
- Shine a light on Northeastern Alberta and rural Alberta.
Western Canada, Alberta, and especially our rural and northern areas, are sometimes left out of the spotlight. Through Market 826, I hope to shed some light on the Lakeland and show that it’s a great place to live or visit.
I’ve heard it many times: Shopping local is good; Do it as much as you can.
I get it. And I don’t disagree. But as a mom of 2 small kids contending with Alberta winters, and now Covid-19, I procrastinate going to the grocery store. I keep powdered milk on hand so if I need to, I can push that shopping trip one more day.
So, even though I love creating and sharing in others’ creations, weekly trips to the Farmer’s Market are unlikely for me. I would occasionally buy directly from individual makers, but I didn’t do it regularly or as much as I could have, because I found the process to be inconvenient and even awkward.
Meanwhile, I was contemplating developing some of my own handmade products, but like many other producers and makers, I didn’t have the ability or time to regularly attend in-person markets. Down the road in Elk Point, my in-laws were pondering how to efficiently get their farm meat and produce to local markets.
My husband and I were driving past the graineries when the idea struck: “An online farmer’s market!”
Twenty-five years ago, when I’d meet a new friend in Bonnyville’s HEB middle school, we’d exchange home phone numbers by giving just the last four digits. It was a given that everyone’s phone number started with 826.
For kids in Cold Lake it was 594, St. Paul was 645, and in Elk Point they dialed 724 first.
Market 826 was originally going to be called Hummingbird Bazaar (I’d even bought the domain), but I had an “AH-HA” moment when my first vendor, Isabelle, gave me her phone number and it started with 826. It was instantly recognizable as a local number, and likely one she’d had a long time.
I knew the site would specialize in locally made products, and I was looking for something that represented the area. What could be more local than a town area code?
Of course, not to exclude you, Cold Lake, St. Paul, Elk Point, Glendon, Ardmore, Fort Kent, Iron River, and others, but it’s about the overall ideas of knowing something local and representing our area.
My parents kept a hummingbird feeder outside the window of my childhood home on Moose Lake. When a hummingbird would appear, the family member who spotted it would summon the others. “Look! Come see the hummingbird!” It brought a moment of excitement and a sense of awe as we stared for as long as it would stay, wondering how it hoovered in one place like that.
I noticed a similar reaction from my extended family when a hummingbird appeared around my grandparents’ Pelican Narrows cottage. And my in-laws were equally delighted to see hummingbirds at their Elk Point farm.
I was inspired to ignite that same reaction from Market 826 visitors. I hope you find the products beautiful, interesting, and uncommon, and I hope they bring little moments of delight into your everyday.
Did you know?
Hummingbirds a symbolic creature in many cultures.
To certain Native American cultures, hummingbirds are bearers of love, good luck, and joy.
Woot and Hammy reports that a visit from a hummingbird is a reminder to seek out the good, to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, and to maintain tenacity and endurance in pursuit of our dreams.