Top News

Tyne Valley's Ronnie's Boutique showcasing Island artisan, craft vendors

Rhonda MacArthur, owner of Ronnie's Boutique in Tyne Valley, is home to 22 P.E.I. artisan and craft vendors showcasing their products.
Rhonda MacArthur, owner of Ronnie's Boutique in Tyne Valley, is home to 22 P.E.I. artisan and craft vendors showcasing their products. - Contributed
TYNE VALLEY, P.E.I. —

Rhonda MacArthur laughs when she thinks about how her new Tyne Valley, P.E.I., business - Ronnie’s Boutique - started out small but evolved into a "kitchen sink" space to accommodate local artisan and craft vendors.

"It's a great feeling because everyone has 'shop local' on their mind, especially this year," said MacArthur, who opened the new business on Canada Rd. on Oct. 25. "It ranges from home decor, clothing, beauty supplies to gift ideas. It's a wide range."

MacArthur explained that the original plan was to have an office and operate her make-up and skin care business - Limelife by Alcone - out of the new building. She also sells wigs, and the new space would give her room for client consultations.

Then she noticed that craft artisans on the Island were looking for a place to sell their items. With COVID-19, there was concern about whether some Christmas craft fairs are going to happen as planned this year.

Today, Ronnie's Boutique has 22 P.E.I. artisans and craft vendors selling out of her shop.

"To see people loving the stuff and bringing their friends, it's a great feeling," she said.

The shop, which is about 10-metres long, sits on the family property she grew up on. It was ordered and shipped this summer, pre-built from an off-Island company. MacArthur and her husband did the inside renovations themselves.

"I made him into a carpenter," she said.

MacArthur moved back to the family property about five years ago, and lives there with her husband and six kids. MacArthur named the boutique after her father, Ronnie, who died a couple of years ago.

"He loved this property so much. My dad was a 'Jack of all trades,' kind of like me," she said.
MacArthur's sister owns a soy candle business (Shoreline Studio) that has items in the shop, and their 76-year-old mother knits items for the shop as well. MacArthur's husband and kids also help out at the shop.

"So, it's a family affair, for sure," she said.

Even with the expanded artisan and craft items in the shop, MacArthur still operates the make-up and skin care business she started about three years ago.

"It kind of changed my world. I realized that if you give a woman confidence, they can do anything if they put their mind to it. And, so it sparked my entrepreneurial spirit and helps people realize that they can create their own future with their vision and a little bit of confidence," she said.

"By having the shop now and having people come in doing their own work, it's just clear to me that there is so many talented people. With COVID, it's kind of scary because it made us realize that nothing is secure, nothing is guaranteed. And, the fact that people can start their own businesses and flourish in a place like rural P.E.I., it's really encouraging."

Like many other business owners during COVID-19, MacArthur is embracing online sales. The business has a website (www.ronnies.ca) and a Facebook page that MacArthur uses to engage with customers regularly, including by video. She has been taking and shipping orders across Canada since the summer through those online sites.

"It takes a lot of time to do the online part, but definitely beneficial if you're willing to put the time in," she said.

MacArthur said customer feedback about the new shop so far has been great.

"They walk in and they're surprised how every inch is filled with so much. There's not a lot of shopping places in West Prince. There just isn't. So, it's a breath of fresh air for people to be able to go to a small, safer place because there's still COVID and you have to be careful with precautions. But they're craving that browsing and grab a friend and let's go for a drive kind of feeling," she said. "It's nice to see the smiles when they come in and leaving and recommending to their friends. So, when you know when that happens, it's a good thing."

Terrence McEachern is the business reporter for the Journal Pioneer.

RELATED:

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories