Goodsoil Museum adds retail space

Louisa Lavoie, volunteer and Goodsoil Historical Museum board member, does a bit of house cleaning in the museum’s re-gift shop Aug. 13. All items are donated and proceeds from the store go towards the operating costs with any remaining money used for artifact restoration or building renovation.

By Rhonda Cooper

When the Goodsoil branch of the Lakeland Library moved out of the community’s museum in January, it not only left a vacant room in the building, but also a $4,000 combined utilities bill for the association to pay.

Louisa Lavoie, one of 10 volunteer board members, pitched the idea earlier this year in March of filling the vacated library room with a re-gift store, to the rest of the board.

“I thought if we offered new or gently used items for a reasonable price, we could raise money to pay for the power and gas,” she said.

The idea was adopted on a trial basis and the store’s initial inventory came from Lavoie and another Goodsoil citizen who was in the process of downsizing.

“It didn’t take long for donations to come in,” said Lavoie.

While the museum didn’t officially open until July 1, the store opened its doors in May and quickly became a popular shopping spot for locals and tourists alike. Lavoie indicated she has some regular customers who arrive first thing Wednesday morning to see what new stock has been placed into circulation. Although there are some Christmas items on the shelves, more are in storage in the museum’s basement.

In approximately three months the re-gift store has generated $3,700 in revenue. Supplemented by a $1,700 donation from a local family’s July reunion, the utilities are covered for this year.

The shop’s popularity and the abundance of donations has Lavoie considering remaining open past the museum’s scheduled closing date of Sept. 1.

“The traffic will determine how long the store will stay open,” she said. “If it slows down I will close and maybe reopen a couple of weeks before Christmas.”

The utilities were previously paid for by the Village of Goodsoil and RM of Beaver River No. 622 whose mandates included sponsoring a library within the community. The library officially opened in July of 1979 and enjoyed more than 30 years in the historic stone building.

The library board was approached by a private business about possible tenancy in a new, larger, wheelchair accessible space in a new building.

“It was a tough decision to move,” said Ellie Rausch, chairperson of the Goodsoil library board. It was a neat space, close to the school but we needed to be progressive. Some of our patrons struggled with the stairs leading into the building.”

Although the board had discussed the possibility of constructing their own building, the opportunity to lease space in the new Northwest Homes structure was timely.

“We are still close to the school. There is a place for story hour. We have a washroom and it is wheelchair accessible,” said Rausch.


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