David Hayashida and Linda Yates are no strangers to the award circuit.
Their small craft shop, King’s Point Pottery, in their namesake town, King’s Point, has been a provincial destination for tourists for most of their 20-year history.
With their unique blend of Newfoundland culture and modern craft techniques, the husband and wife team have really made a name for themselves as ones to watch in the industry.
But now, the success of King’s Point Pottery is going far beyond the shores of this province, and extending into other Atlantic Canada provinces with a win for the duo at the recent Atlantic Craft Trade Show in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
King’s Point Pottery walked away with Retailer of the year – arguably the highest honour of the evening, and an award that any craft business in either province would be proud of.
For Hayashida and Yates, though, its perhaps even more special, considering where they came from, and how far they’ve come.
“We’re thrilled,” said Hayashida from Halifax earlier this week, where they accepted the award at the gala. “To receive an award like this is wonderful for us, because this is basically the Academy Awards for craft, and in my opinion this is probably the top award of the night.”
King’s Point Pottery has been in operation for over 20 years in Yates’ native King’s Point. Since then, they’ve taken the shop from a local attraction, to a provincial one, and now spanning all of Atlantic Canada.
“This award really makes us an Atlantic Canada destination now,” says Hayashida. “There are so many people here that now know about us, and it’s great to be able to network with so many other craft people.”
King’s Point Pottery was put forward on behalf of the Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Council as the provincial nominee for the awards ceremony.
It’s been 10 years since a Newfoundland company has won the Retailer of the year award. Last year, it went to Jennifer’s in Nova Scotia – a company from a town of over 400,000 people, points out Hayashida, while they come from a town of about 650.
“We’re the smallest town to ever have won the award,” he said. “That really says a lot for not only us, but for our community, and our province as well.”
The award for retailer of the year was based on three categories. Quality of work, How you market, and Supporting the industry. The winning is to be found in outstanding order for all three criteria, of which King’s Point Pottery obviously was.
“We try to do what we can,” explains Hayashida. “We try to draw people to the area and help the economy of Green Bay and the Emerald Zone grow in our own little way.”
The pair found out they’d won the award three weeks ago, and Hayashida says they had to keep it a secret, which wasn’t easy.
“We had enough time to make some arrangements to get here to accept it, but we weren’t allowed to tell anyone,” he said.
As for what’s next for the couple, they’re now booked to do some guest lecturing as well as being selected as one of the 500 international works to be included in the latest version of “500 teapots V2” by Lark Publications based in Asheville, North Carolina.
Hayashida says despite all their recognition, though, they still look forward to getting back home to King’s Point and gearing up for the upcoming season at their local shop by the bay.