Kate Moran inside Ace Ferguson Studio. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Artist with a dream opens mobile retail shop

On Friday, June 22, Kate Moran opened Ace Ferguson’s doors for the first time

Parked on 6th Street you may have noticed a freshly painted white bus, with a large ‘open’ sign in the front window. This is Fernie’s first mobile retail store, home to Ace Ferguson Studio.

On Friday, June 22, Kate Moran opened Ace Ferguson’s doors for the first time, after over a year of work transforming her bus into a storefront.

She’s excited that she can now bring her business with her, wherever she goes.

Inside her store you’ll find many different kinds of jewelry; from rings to statement necklaces, as well as block printed cards, coasters, macrame art, crocheted clothing, and a DIY bead section. At this bead station, you can either build your own bracelet or request a certain design for Moran to make. From crystals to skull charms, the possibilities are endless.

For years Moran has been making things with her hands, and she finds it very therapeutic. With these years of experience, plus years of working in bead shops, Moran is well-versed in repairing jewellery. Along with basic jewelry repair, Moran is also knowledgeable in pearl restringing, an uncommon and sometimes hard-to-find service.

Moran does the things that local Fernie jewelers don’t; restringing, ear-hook repair, and more.

Sometimes, requests are strange.

“Someone gets this beaded bracelet in Mexico 40 years ago and the thread is all worn out, and I’ll have to go in and repair it discreetly without remaking the whole thing,” said Moran.

“That’s super fun for me.”

To Moran, there’s always been something special about buses, and this isn’t the first time she’s spent a lot of time in one. Ten years ago, when she turned 21, she bought a bus and lived in it for a year while traveling around the continent.

Beside the Stanford Hotel in Fernie sat a blue bus with ‘Free Breakfast’ printed on the side. It had been sitting there for close to 15 years. When Moran saw it, she knew she had to have it. One year later, after hundreds of hours of restoration, as well as many hours spent registering it, licensing it and attending council to amend a bylaw, she was ready to open shop.

Before Moran approached council, Business Licencing and Regulation Bylaw No. 2028 allowed for mobile food vendors only. Moran had to request an amendment in order to expand mobile vending from vending food and non-alcoholic beverages to also include offering for sale goods, wares, merchandise or articles on a retail basis. Several definitions in this bylaw were also amended, including maximum permitted vehicle size.

The past year has been full of lessons learned, and Moran is very excited to finally open shop. On June 22, when she drove her bus from the Annex to downtown for the first time, she was overcome with emotion.

“Relief, and happiness,” said Moran when asked how it felt to finally open.

Now, she has the best of both worlds; her business, Ace Ferguson Studio has a storefront, and she’s also back in a bus.

“It’s next level,” she said.

“I just made it to the next level.”

Ace Ferguson Studio will be open Thursday to Sunday every week, parked in one of the mobile vending spots on 6th Street, close to The Arts Station.


Before, and after. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

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