You might feel like you know the people in your community pretty well – those you pass by on the street, see at the coffee shop, the grocery store etc., or just by hearing their names. But how well do you really know them?
Local business Johnny Ruth in downtown St. John’s is helping people get better acquainted with the creative, crafty and interesting folks who call this place home, while helping build a stronger sense of community, through their new Community Spotlight series.
The ongoing series kicked off in March with a spotlight on local music industry professional Mary Beth Waldram (who has also helped organize events such as the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival and Lawnya Vawnya, among others).
“We got such a good response from it, because even people that know Mary Beth learned new things about her,” says Kim Winsor, owner of Johnny Ruth. Since then, the series has featured several other local creatives, including choreographer and dancer Hannah Drover, multidisciplinary artist Anastasia Tiller, and fashion designer and entrepreneur Charlotte Reid. Each post is accompanied be several photos, as well as artists’ websites and social media handles, which helps further promote the artists and their work.
Besides shining the spotlight on local artists and other interesting people, Winsor says, the series also helps highlight Johnny Ruth’s fashions, since some of the profile subjects model the store’s pieces in their features.
“Our community here is so fashionable. They are awesome thrift shoppers. They like buying new items, thrift items, and mixing it all together…and they definitely have their own style, and we love that,” Winsor says.
Even though she operates a retail store, Winsor adds, the pandemic has helped her embrace a “buy less, live more” mantra, and she sees Johnny Ruth playing a role in helping others adopt that mindset too.
“We’re wardrobe builders. We really believe in that. So we’re very practical. I want people to go through their summer wardrobe and make sure they’re not rebuying the same thing – and the season’s so short. We sell transitional stuff that you can wear into the fall and all year round pretty much.”
Throughout the years, Johnny Ruth has supported the arts community in other ways, by hosting dance and musical performances in the store’s front window, hosting artist workshops, featuring local artists’ work, and displaying posters to help advertise local festivals and events, for example. Winsor sees the Community Spotlight series as an extension of that support.
“This is just a really nice way to say hey, we’re here, we see you, we know you’re out there. Let’s share what everyone is doing and support each other,” she says.
“We’re such an amazing community, and we just want (them) to know that we’re supportive of that.”
Have a suggestion for who Johnny Ruth should feature next? Drop them a line at email@example.com
(Header photo: Fashion designer Charlotte Reid works on a project in Johnny Ruth’s front window.)