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Uptown Emporium gets $50k through grant funding, aims for northern expansion

A big windfall has come in for Flin Flon's Uptown Emporium, coming in the form of a northern economic development grant.
C14 Uptown Emporium 4 (1)
These small, handmade wooden birds, made by George Fontaine, are a few of several locally made items sold at Flin Flon's Uptown Emporium.

A big windfall has come in for the Uptown Emporium, coming in the form of a northern economic development grant.

The handicrafts, clothing and beauty store, opened in 2020, plans to expand into other communities after getting thousands of dollars in funds through the Manitoba Mineral Development Fund (MMDF).

“We are delighted to announce that the Uptown Emporium has received funding from the Manitoba Mineral Development Fund,” the group announced late last month.

“The funding will be used to explore the possibility of expanding to more locations throughout northern Manitoba.”

The MMDF is open for projects based in northern Manitoba and in mining communities elsewhere in the province, including projects like the Uptown Emporium that are outside of the mining industry itself. According to the website for the fund, the Uptown Emporium will receive $50,000 to develop what is being called the “ImagiNorthern Strategy” - the money will be used to gather up data to help guide that proposed northern expansion.

“Uptown Emporium is beyond grateful for the continued support from local organizations and community members. We are very thankful that this project has grown to where it is today and excited to see where it will go in the future,” reads the group's statement.

The Uptown Emporium, headquartered out of a storefront on Flin Flon’s Main Street, is a non-profit business operated by the Flin Flon Arts Council. Opened during the pandemic as a way for artisans from the Flin Flon/Creighton/Denare Beach area and from elsewhere in northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan to sell items in one place, the place is operated as both a physical and an online store.

Through the Uptown Emporium, the arts council has started ImagiNorthern, meant to find ways to promote economic development in the north and create jobs through encouraging and selling northern art.

“From Churchill to Opaskwayak Cree Nation, through the help of regional northern champions, Uptown Emporium is on a mission to streamline the connectivity of artisans, foster community and increase economic opportunities for the north,” reads the project’s website.

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