A small family business that lost its storefront due to closures has been launched in a major Toronto mall

A small family business that has been operating without a storefront during the shutdowns has just launched its own pop-up store in a major Toronto mall.

Eaton Center is temporarily home to Pacha Arts, an independent family business focused on Aboriginal makers.

Their previous storefront closed in July 2020, and they’ve only been online since then. This pop-up in the mall is their first foray back into a personal world.

“It became unrealistic for us to keep paying rent in a store that we didn’t know if we could keep it open due to the regulations at the time for non-core businesses,” Pacha’s Samay Arcentales Cajas told blogTO.

“Because some of us in the family are immunocompromised, we also wanted to be as safe as possible and at the time there weren’t any vaccines available.”

Nordstrom’s Eaton Center rotated several small businesses into her shop, and reached out to Pacha Arts. They are currently stationed in Nordstrom in front of their Ebar Café.

Pasha works with many types of artists selling Aboriginal art, accessories, jewelry, leather bags, special masks and home decor from North and South America. This includes decoration from their native land in Imbabura, Ecuador.

“From the visual arts and beadwork from across Ontario, to the textiles and leathers from our home community, each item carries its own unique style according to the artist’s traditional motifs, combined with contemporary designs,” says Arcentales Cajas.

“Back away from cultural appropriation and towards the advancement of Aboriginal communities is very important. Being able to carry every handmade item is also different from looking at it online. And you can see every groove and every mark that makes it different than anything else.”

The store is currently open daily at the Eaton Center, with hours from 10am-9pm except on Sundays when they open from 11am-7pm, and they will remain stationed there until July 4th.

“We hope this will be the beginning of the next phase in our journey as a family that began long before Pacha Arts was first established in Bloor St.W,” says Arcentales Cajas.

“We are excited to work with more textiles from our local community and continue working with artists from Turtle Island, to maintain trade networks that have been in place for thousands of years.”

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