Shelves are practically bursting with beautiful things made by Montana artists and artisans at Polson’s new HandMADE Montana Retail & Production House.
The new shop opened with a Grand Opening ribbon-cutting ceremony July 1.
Owned by Carol Lynn Lapotka, the storefront provides a new outlet for a circle of businesses that work together to promote handcrafts throughout Montana.
The building last known as Jackie M’s shoe store at 212 Main Street is now ”filled with vibrant colors and a wide variety of art from functional to heirloom quality pieces,” as Carol Lynn describes it.
Most of the displays were built with recycled and repurposed building materials, including the previous store’s vintage shoe shelving.
Carol Lynn’s upcycled clothing and accessory line, RECreate Designs, has been a growing popular phenomenon at Montana markets since 2007.
The back half of the new Polson building will offer RECreate a “fully visible and functioning production studio” with a large cutting table and sewing and serging machines where visitors can watch the process that converts old clothing into new, chic fashions, including such gems as tweed leg warmers and the ever-popular “tee-skirt.” The new space will bring the business out from the garage where it has been building for twelve years. This will allow for expansion, including another endeavor creating fashionable outdoor and technical apparel — Grove Outdoors.
HandMADE Montana is yet another aspect of Carol Lynn’s wide range of intertwined businesses. With a small, dedicated team of partners and occasionally an employee or two, Carol Lynn pulls together five different “MADE fairs” throughout the year — markets featuring hundreds of jury selected handcrafters across western Montana. Upcoming is the MADE fair Marketplace, August 7-11 at Western Montana Fair in Missoula.
The new store in Polson provides a brick-and-mortar venue for many of those handcrafters’ items to be featured yearlong, contributing toward Carol Lynn’s aim to support local and regional artists and “a sweat-shop free economy.” New items are arriving every week, making frequent stops in there always new and interesting.
“It has been going really well,” says Carol Lynn. “We have been busy every day since we opened.” She says both tourists and locals have been showing a lot of interest.
Artists and their work featured at the store can all be found through the handmademontana.com website.