Atomic well recognizes and deeply respects the innumerable contributions Kristen Andrews has made to the city of Winnipeg and its many arts and cultural communities. It is our pleasure and honour to assist Ragpickers Anti-Fashion Emporium during it’s transition into a multi-stakeholder co-op and future move to a new (and hopefully permanent) location.
One ridiculously short-sighted building owner is not enough to stop 27 years of generous and dedicated community building! Sharing resources to produce for need instead of greed demonstrates that other ways of being are possible.
October 31, 2011
Winnipeg, MB – After 27 years in the Historic Exchange District, Ragpickers Anti-fashion Emporium and Books owner Kristen Andrews is giving Ragpickers over to a retail co-op model.
As part of a vision she has worked toward for decades, Andrews is inviting all those interested to discuss, create and implement a sustainable Alternative Entrepreneurship Co-Operative, slated for November 15 at 7:00 PM. In the Ragpickers Theatre, 2nd floor- 216 McDermot Ave.
The date also marks the last night this space will exist as it has been long known and valued by both the local and global community.
Following an impassioned speech on October 15 (the first day of the Occupy Winnipeg movement) Andrews is following through on her commitment to foster “Alternative Entrepreneurship,” a vision toward a new co-op structure.
This multi-shareholder model is not new or unheard of, and even coincides with the United Nations’ recent declaration that “2012 is the International Year of the Co-Operative.” That said, it in not common for a business to convert to this model after firmly establishing itself otherwise.
Ragpickers Theatre and Bookstore is still thriving in the second floor of the 216 McDermot Building, which has been home to the theatre and 10, 000-title-strong bookstore for years. However, this leased space will soon close at the behest of the building’s owner, to allow the owner’s undisclosed, new development.
“In the shadow of many shop closures and the gradual gentrification of many parts of downtown Winnipeg, the cultural capital that Ragpickers has fostered will change and morph once again, and as never before,” said Andrews.
“There are exciting new co-op models being legislated in Manitoba, and in light of the wave of discontent with traditional corporate models, the intuition, beliefs and dreams I have held for years have only been further validated,” said Andrews, who welcomes those who seek sharing in these collaborate aims.
“Alternative Entrepreneurs are the pioneers that will lead the way for us to be focused on human needs- not human greed. This is the time to apply the collective knowledge we have about co-operative working, to re-create the way we make our living and transform economic and social structures that will reflect a more sustainable, ethical, and values-based livelihood,” she said.
While Ragpickers is seeking a new home for the co-op in 2012, there are already plans to move the bookstore and theatre into other independent community centres. For example: the Atomic Centre – a likeminded gallery/music venue – will house Ragpickers’ book collection; the Rudolph Rocker – a similarly inspired Exchange District hub – will allow the Flaming Trolleys Community Orchestra to continue to flourish.
“In the spirit of a changing economic landscape, I believe that ethical employment and sustainable community models are what will enable the new co-op members to have autonomy from the consumer/capitalist model,” said Andrews
Ragpickers Theatre and Bookstore has been host to many years of Winnipeg Fringe Festival Performances, to play-writers’ festival productions, as well as to burlesque and vaudeville shows. It has also welcomed touring acts, film festivals, as well as workshops in poetry, dance, yoga and circus, and has been a much-loved, all-ages music venue, providing countless local bands with invaluable live performance and recording opportunities. Plans are underway to accommodate the last ever $20 All You Can Wear Sale – one of Winnipeg’s most unique sale promotions that annually sees hundreds and hundreds of savvy shoppers brave the January cold to participate in an action driven sale event like no other.