Located in Lennox Island and now in its 37th year of operations, Indian Art & Craft of North America is one of the oldest family run Native businesses in Eastern Canada.
Originally created by Ray Sark in 1972 as a co-operative, the family business quickly found its niche as an art and craft shop featuring Native crafts from all over North America.
Doreen Sark, owner of Indian Art & Craft of North America, shows some of the intricately crafted baskets by First Nations weavers from across Prince Edward Island, including work by her busband, Charlie Sark.
Doreen Sark is now the owner of Indian Art & Craft of North America which specializes in pottery, baskets, moccasins, carvings and a variety of other Native crafts. Doreen is quick to note that although the product line has changed over the years they continue to specialize in hand-made traditional ash splint baskets.
In 1992 Doreen took over the family business and she recalls that the way in which business was performed then is much different from today.
She recounts that in the past, the majority of the dealings with suppliers were relationship based. Doreen and her husband Charlie would travel to reserves in Eastern Canada in order to meet with the suppliers and negotiate pricing, many times in their own homes. This process enabled Doreen to make close business contacts and gave her a wealth of knowledge when dealing with customers.
Although this process is not used as much in today's environment there are still some suppliers that Doreen negotiates with in a one-on-one manner.
In order to keep current on tourism happenings, Doreen is involved with a number of tourism-related associations on Prince Edward Island. She says these groups provide a place where business owners can address issues that affect them and enable the members to lobby as a group to improve the industry.
Doreen is quick to praise the work of the various tourism associations and chambers of commerce for the work the do in the region.
When asked what has kept her business successful through the years, Doreen credits five main components: maintaining good quality crafts; having a strong sense of pride in the products sold; having family involved in the various activities; meeting demand; and having great staff.