The Modern Mercantile was conceived a few years ago by owner Bethany Wilson. It almost came to be in 2017 but the stars did not align for it then. Instead the opportunity to become the producer and owner of Out of Hand Modern Market presented itself.
Out of Hand Modern Market is one of Vancouver Island largest and longest running artisan markets. It takes place at the end of November in Crystal Garden.
Years prior, Bethany and her mom Noni would attend Out of Hand together as a holiday tradition and make the big trek downtown for a downtown day from their home in Sooke. Bethany still owns one of her first purchases – a mini trio of pottery! As an event producer, marketing consultant, and fan of Out of Hand, owning Out of Hand was an ideal business venture.
While producing Out of Hand, the dream of opening a little shop featuring local goods were put on hold. And then the world changed and the pivoting began. While all types of events, including makers markets were shut down during 2020 and the first part of 2021 the desire for well made goods by local makers, artists and designers did not subside, nor did the makers’ need to continue to earn their livings. In fact the demand grew as shoppers made shopping locally a priority. So began the series of pivots that would eventually lead back to the dream of the little shop. Among them gift boxes, online markets and the seasonal subscription box – the Ooh La La Box.
In 2021 holiday markets were allowed to take place again. Out of Hand Modern Market took place at the end of November and was an incredible return to in person markets. The market welcomed back the makers and shoppers. Sales records were broken as shoppers continued their passionate support of locally made goods.
While prepping for the market, Bethany walked past a for lease sign the perfect location for her dream shop. Formally one half of Fan Tan Home & Style (nee Gallery) the location at 539 Fisgard Street features original brick walls, wide plank floors and half mezzanine common to Victoria’s Chinatown architecture – ideal for a Modern Mercantile.
With a fresh coat of white paint, custom shelves and found antiques, including one from Bethany’s family’s pub – The 17 Mile House, and a table from the original Snug Pub! The large counter is from the former Fan Tan Gallery. The shop is a pretty blend of old and new.
The shelves and the antiques are full of beautiful goods for you and your home. The goods are made by incredible makers, artists and designers from Victoria, the Islands and other parts of BC.