If all goes according to plan, 2014 will mark the fruition of a dream eight years in the making, and the conclusion of over three years of dogged determination. This April, Ryan Poworoznik hopes to hold the grand opening for the Compendium Artist Market at 564 1/2 Main Street.
While he had long held the dream of opening a graphic design studio and art gallery, after graduating from Red River College (studying graphic arts and photography) he began to get serious about penning a business plan.
“My main focus was still the art gallery portion, but there were now other aspects I wanted to incorporate,” Poworoznik tells the Manitoban. “It started off with a photography studio, then a juice bar, then a craft market, and then expanding the juice bar to include coffee as well. Every part seemed to work well together, and some were even necessary from a financial standpoint.”
While his dream has held steady for the most part, securing funding for the project has been “one of the longest and hardest battles I’ve ever fought,” says Poworoznik.
He spent a year hearing from banks and other organizations that he didn’t qualify for loans and grants, and endured many frustrating and drawn-out negotiations. On a personal level, he’s also had difficulty with aspects of communication and networking due to a stutter.
“People call or want to talk on the phone, and that’s not something I’m comfortable doing. [ . . . ] I’m still happy to talk to anyone who wants to, it just might be difficult to express my thoughts in the way that I’d like to.”
Poworoznik found help in early 2013, when Vicki Anne Melo joined the project and took on some of the responsibility for communications as creative director. A freelance writer by trade, Melo has been blogging for Compendium and posting interviews with local artists over the past few months.
In between setbacks and positive moves forward, Poworoznik has seen concrete interest growing in the project.
“I’ve also talked to a ton of people that are interested in what I’m doing, want to help, and can’t wait for us to open. It’s been quite uplifting and appreciated,” says Melo.
Poworoznik also takes heart in the other successful ventures he’s witnessed over the past few years, and hopes that his experience could also be of use to others who are dreaming up their own projects.
“I’m happy to see other young entrepreneurs following their dreams. With that being said, if I can provide anyone with more information about my experiences in starting a business to help them start theirs, I would be glad to do so.”
Giving back to the community has been a constant fixture in Poworoznik’s plans for the creative hub of Compendium.
“We’ll be providing information on our social media outlets about various social issues, as well as having printed information in our shop. We also plan on having speakers and screening documentaries and films on different topics,” says Poworoznik.
Another key topic for Compendium is environmental responsibility, and a commitment to green practices is evident through their construction choices and plans for using recyclable products and sourcing local produce in the coffee and juice bar.
Compendium is currently inviting advance bookings for various types of events, including film screenings, pop-up dinners, fashion shows, small concerts, workshops, and more, and they will be booking artists and craft shows soon as well.
Read more about Compendium at artistmarket.ca, and follow them on Facebook for the latest news about bookings and the grand opening.