Homeric Traders celebrated its one-year anniversary this week by having a grand re-opening April 1 and showcasing 12 new vendors to the shop.
Ken Sprague and Nickie Knight, owners of Homeric Traders located at 1130 Ocean Drive, say they hope this new shift to featuring local artists and designers will spur business growth in Homer.
“We know the difficulties of starting and maintaining a business from the ground up, and are hoping that our shop can act as a small business incubator,” says Sprague
Newer businesses to Homer that are showcased at Homeric Traders include Lost Things Designs, Velvet Caribou, and Dan Coe and Company. There also are a few well-known local businesses like Alaska Wild Berry Products and Homer Sapiens, whose products also are featured. Other vendors featured during this week’s grand re-opening include Dog Song Designs, Darcy’s Decadent Designs, Winter’s Cache, Susan Johnson Photography, Nicole Wall Crafts, Kettu, Zak’s Antiques and Collectibles and Alaskan Girls Are Extra Tuff.
Knowing how hard starting a small business from scratch can be, Knight and Sprague say they want to give many of the creative people they’ve met in Homer a chance to show their work, without having to pay for a large space.
“When we started (Homeric Traders) we noticed there wasn’t much space available in town that was within a reasonable price range for small businesses. The spaces that were affordable were too small, and the spaces that were large enough were way too expensive,” Sprague said.
By offering vendors short-term leases with prices based on the square footage they show their goods within, Knight and Sprague hope to offer small business owners something more reasonable.
So far, the response has been overwhelming, they say. After advertising for local vendors, 75 percent of Homeric Traders’ available vendor space was filled within three days.
One local photographer, Susan Johnson of sejbphoto, says she is grateful for the opportunity to have a space to sell her work.
“There is a great collection of artists and craftspeople in this area,” says Johnson, “There is plenty of room for everyone, but not always an affordable selling space. I wasn’t quite ready to start selling, but jumped at the chance to do this, to be part of something new. This is hopefully the beginning of a new co-op experience that will most certainly grow.”
Sprague, who has more than 20 years of experience, buying, selling and trading antiques and “found items,” says the original idea behind Homeric Traders was to sell vintage stock.
But this year, he and Knight want to shift the focus more on local craftspeople.
“We kept meeting interesting people making very cool items and wanted to offer them space to show their work,” says Knight.
“I really felt it was more valuable to work with makers in the community than going out and finding single items to sell myself,” Sprague adds.
Some vendors will keep their existing locations, as well as rent space from Homeric Traders. For example, Homer Sapiens’ physical storefront on the Homer Spit will remain open, while having items available for sale at Homeric Traders.
With customers already coming to Homeric Traders from places like Talkeetna, Anchorage, Soldotna, and Willow, Sprague and Knight believe they are opening up a market that will allow for business to boom all year long.
“People enjoy the uniqueness of Homer and want to buy local when they come to visit,” says Knight.
In June, Homeric Traders will expand again, opening up another 1,200 square feet for local vendors to showcase their work.
Homeric Traders is open for business from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., closed on Tuesdays.
Aryn Young is a freelance writer for the Homer News.
Ken Sprague and Nickie Knight
1130 Ocean Drive, Suite A.
HOURS: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Closed on Tuesdays
Dog Song Designs, Lost Things Designs, Darcy’s Decadent Designs, Homer Sapiens, Winter’s Cache, Susan Johnson Photography, Nicole Wall Crafts, Kettu, Velvet Caribou, Zak’s Antiques and Collectibles, Alaskan Girls Are Extra Tuff, and Dan Coe and Company