author: ethan williams | staff writer
The Artful Dodger is moving out of their 11th Ave. digs in order to escape increasing rental costs
Mix of New and Old in Store for New Venue
When Kelly Cairns speaks about the new location for the Artful Dodger Café and Music Emporium, she speaks about a location that will have the same flavour and aspects of their current venue, but with some new twists and turns that will have people flock to the emporium.
“We’ll still have the library books, we’ll still display original artworks from local artists, and we’ll still have a stage, which will be quite a bit smaller because the space is smaller. It will be a two-story building so there will actually be a venue upstairs. There will be a dance club vibe on the weekends and cocktails and stuff like that. The main floor would be more of a designated restaurant, so it would be less conflict between the restaurant crowd and the venue crowd.”
Cairns, a co-owner of the shop, confirmed to the Carillon recently that, in fact, rumours were true and the venue would be moving buildings. Although Cairns wouldn’t confirm an exact location, as things are still being finalized, she mentioned that the next stop for the emporium would be somewhere on Scarth Street.
Why the move? Cairns cites rising tenant costs as the reason for the shift.
“Our current landlord is wanting to sell the building that we’re in, and has increased our rent, so we’re not able to sustain here. We just decided to be proactive and relocate before we’d have to shut down or something.”
Cairns says the faces of the staff will be familiar at the new location, as the staff are the owners. As well, the vision will stay the same, which is one of being welcoming, inclusive, and, of course, artistic. But one thing that will change slightly is the food.
“The menu will be changing more often so there will be a lot more offerings that way. We’re also going to be focusing more on baking for the coffee crowd in the morning.”
The Dodger hasn’t been around very long in Regina, but has gained a reputation as a gathering place for local artists and performers. It’s been open for five years, and Cairns’ parents were the original owners. She says they acquired and renovated the building, and made it accessible for artists to use. They have also added a gallery in that time. Cairns’ parents ran the location until January of this year.
Anyone who knows Regina will know that the area of the venue’s current location (11th Avenue just east of Broad Street) is one that is prone to crime and prostitution. Cairns says this was not a direct factor in moving, but says the economy may be having an effect in the area.
“The foot traffic isn’t as heavy now and with the economy, it is harder being in this neighbourhood. It’s harder to sustain the business, but it’s more just the fact that there’s less foot traffic, rather than the clientele we have in this neighbourhood. We actually have a lot of regular patrons that live right here in the neighbourhood and they’re our best customers.”
So just how will the Dodger say goodbye to the old and hello to the new? Cairns says with music, of course.
“There’s a lot of musicians who have expressed interest in playing on the stage one last time. We’re planning a sort of four-day music marathon, so anyone who has ever played here or has done open mic or anything like that is more than welcome to sign up, and then we’ll have four straight days of music. If we fill up four days it will be longer.”
Cairns also noted that some of the DJs that have done work at the location have expressed interest in doing final performances as well.
A Go-Fund-Me campaign has been established to help the Dodger meet the funding goals required to make the move, and to upgrade its new space. The page can be found at gofundme.com/artfuldodger. Cairns says you can get incentives for donating, including parties and meals. For full details, she encourages people to check out the page.
She is also excited and hopeful everything will go through, and hopes the public will also take interest.
“Stay tuned, hopefully we can make the move happen, and we may be calling on people to contribute to the Go-Fund-Me or something in the future. We’d like to keep on keeping on, so any help or encouragement you can give would be very welcome.”