Sunday 18 March 2018

Friends open The Crafty Rock

Brenda Leary and Rita Alves, The Crafty Rock, Blackrock
Brenda Leary and Rita Alves, The Crafty Rock, Blackrock

The seaside village of Blackrock is getting a new shop, The Crafty Rock, which will appeal to local crafters and visitors alike.

The shop is the brainwave of local woman Brenda Leary and Drogheda resident Rita Alves who got to know each other through a shared interest in crafting.

Brenda, who has been President of the local ICA guild for the last three years, and Rita came up with the idea of the shop after they had both attended markets and craft events.

'We have both been crafting for a while and had our own small businesses,' explains Brenda. 'Rita has Craft Opki, which stocks craft supplies and materials from her native Portugal and other European countries, while I set up Scrumbly Creations which makes crochet and patchwork bags last year.'

The two ladies, who have sold their work in local markets, met up in Belles Tearooms to discuss their plans to set up shop together. And as luck would have it, the premises next door to where they were having coffee would become the location for their venture.

'Rita's husband Gerry Bailey grew up in Blackrock so she knows the village well,' says Brenda,

'I knew that the premises next door to Belles was vacant as 'After Sybil' was moving, so we approached Conor Hughes and told him about our idea,' recalls Brenda. 'He had a number of offers but he liked our idea as he thought it would be something good for the village,'

They are now putting the final touches on The Crafty Rock, which opens its doors on Saturday morning at 11am.

'We wanted to give the shop a warm cosy appearance,' says Brenda. 'We are getting lots of help from local people who have given us furniture to up cycle and are helping us with the painting and decorating.'

'We will have work by various local crafters on display in the front part and will also be selling a wide range craft materials and supplies.'

'The Crafty Rock' will be stocking Garnstudio DROPS wool from Norway, die cuts and materials from Drogheda-based Crafty Cutting, as well as lots of craft essentials including buttons, beads, threads, jewellery findings, handbag clasps and handles and much, much more.

'We are planning to run workshops and classes in the back room,' says Brenda, adding that there has been a lot of interest in the shop from local crafters.

They will also host 'Happy Hookers' and 'Nit and Natter' groups for crocheters and knitters during the week and to hold workshops on a regular basis.

'Having both worked markets and craft collectives we are familiar with the factors which can influence the crafter in the selling of their products,' she continues. 'An obvious one is to do with foot fall. The Crafty Rock is lucky to have one of the best locations in Blackrock, beside two well established businesses who have regular customers.'

The village of Blackrock has long been a destination for tourists to the north east, and Brenda says they are lucky to have such a stunning location, with beautiful views from the shop.

'We feel we are bringing something positive to the village and we have got great support from the local community and Tidy Towns Committee,' says Brenda.

Brenda and Rita will be welcomning customers to their shop with coffee and cake on Saturday morning from 11am.

The Crafty Rock will be open daily from 10am to 5pm, including Sundays, with later opening during the summer.

Irish Independent