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Northern Watters Knitwear expands to Halifax with a new outlet

Bill Watters stands outside Northern Watters Knitwear on Victoria Row in Charlottetown recently. The P.E.I. based company opened a new location in Halifax earlier this month, which is already matching sales at its long-standing Charlottetown store. MITCH MACDONALD/THE GUARDIAN
Bill Watters stands outside Northern Watters Knitwear on Victoria Row in Charlottetown recently. The P.E.I. based company opened a new location in Halifax earlier this month, which is already matching sales at its long-standing Charlottetown store. MITCH MACDONALD/THE GUARDIAN - Submitted

A P.E.I. knitwear company is finding lots of success across the water.

After expanding into Nova Scotia with a Halifax location about three weeks ago, Northern Watters Knitwear and Tartan Shop owner Bill Watters said the new venture is doing well. 

“We’re almost at the point now where the store is doing so well it’s out-performing this store,” said Watters, during an interview with The Guardian at the Charlottetown location. “The demand is there.” 

The Halifax is located inside the Historic Properties on the Halifax waterfront at 1869 Upper Water Street.

He said the expansion announcement saw more than 30,000 views on Facebook.

“One of the comments was, Halifax needs a store like yours.”

Watters and his wife Wanda started Northern Watters Knitwear about 11 years ago after purchasing the assets of the then-closing Great Northern Knitters.

The business prides itself in craftsmanship, noting its handmade sweaters, scarves and hats are all produced in Charlottetown with antique Swiss knitting looms.

The business also sells products from more than 150 Canadian artisans, while also employing more than 70 Islanders to knit their mittens.

Bill Watters and his wife, Wanda, are in their store, Northern Watters Knitwear, that they recently opened in Halifax. The P.E.I. based company opened a new location in that city earlier this month.
Bill Watters and his wife, Wanda, are in their store, Northern Watters Knitwear, that they recently opened in Halifax. The P.E.I. based company opened a new location in that city earlier this month.

About three years ago, the company also opened up its tartan shop, which provides a range of Scottish and Irish themed items from suppliers in Scotland and Canada.

The Halifax location will offer a mix from both P.E.I. stores, with production and distribution of products still occurring in Charlottetown.

The products are also no stranger to Haligonians, since the company previously supplied a wool sweater shop near the Historic Properties and still supplies Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia.

“And a lot of Halifax people found our store here (in Charlottetown) and a lot of Nova Scotians found our store here, who also go to Halifax,” he said, noting the couple began looking to expand last year.

Part of the decision to expand was due to the couple getting “exhausted’ of attending seven trade shows throughout Canada every year. 

This year they plan on doing four trade shows instead, but worried it may result in fewer sales, which could translate in losing experienced employees.

“We had to figure out how we were going to supplement (doing fewer trade shows), so talking with our staff we were discussing the whole thing and they said, ‘open up another store’.” Said Watters. “So that’s what we did.”

The Halifax store is currently open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through to Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Mitchell.macdonald@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/Mitch_PEI

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