Miranda Kessler runs the Last Minute Market in Prince Rupert.

Heart of our City: Miranda Kessler decides on Rupert at the Last Minute

Fishing along the Skeena, Miranda Kessler always knew she’d land a bite and maybe a sockeye salmon or two with her family...

Fishing along the Skeena, Miranda Kessler always knew she’d land a bite and maybe a sockeye salmon or two with her family. She didn’t think she’d land a house in a new town.

“My family always goes fishing in Terrace every year. It’s like the big family excursion to go camping and fishing on the Skeena,” Miranda explained last week.

“And then when my partner Marko [Kessler] came with us, we came out to Rupert for the first time in 2006. We then decided we wanted to move here just on a whim … [The town] has lots of character. It seems older than some of the other communities up north and it just has its own feel. The housing market was great. When we first moved in, it was in a really big slump, so everything was very, very cheap to buy and there was lots to choose from.”

Miranda was born and raised in Salmon Arm, B.C. – a town not unlike Prince Rupert. “It’s more of a retirement community now, but it’s roughly the same size as Rupert,” she said.

Miranda attended Salmon Arm Senior Secondary School and held a particular interest in math and the sciences – specifically biology and chemistry – tools she would end up using right here in Rupert 14 years later.

“I wanted to be a veterinarian … I went into a Bachelor’s of Science [at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC)] and didn’t finish it, just because there were no jobs in that field, so I went to cooking school and became a cook instead. That was at the College of New Caledonia at the culinary arts program,” Miranda said.

After working multiple jobs at a Japanese restaurant and Subway, Miranda moved to Prince Rupert seven years after arriving in Prince George, around 2008.

“I like the coastline. I like that it doesn’t get winter here because Prince George, where we used to live, the whole city gets so much snow and you have to shovel out your spot to get on the road,” she said, Miranda was also attracted to the small-town feel that has drawn in so many Rupertites over the years and its attractiveness as a unique place to start a young family.

“I grew up in a small community. I like that for kids,” she said. Miranda immediately found a home away from home with the Last Minute Market.

As the market was still relatively young, Miranda joined the ranks of one of the market’s many vendors who sold their wares at its location at the Moose Hall, across from the Highliner Inn on Saturday mornings. She started holding her own booth five months into the market’s existence – Moberry’s Bath and Body Products.

“I’ve had [Moberry’s] for five years now. I just started with a couple bath balms and bubble bath bars and it’s grown now. I have products we make with glacial, organic marine clay that’s harvested off of Vancouver Island and I make products like men’s shave soaps, deodorants and scrubs with that,” Miranda said.

The entrepreneur said she found recipes and ideas from the popular online site Pinterest, as well as soap blogs that have recipes and tutorials. Her chemistry background has helped Miranda measure the proper quantities of materials that she needs to come up with the perfect products.

“It helps with learning how to do the proportions and stuff because, for some of them, you have to go by percentages and the ratios of what the ingredients are compared to the other ingredients, so that helped a litttle bit too. It’s more like cooking because they’re more like recipes. I’ve got my most popular ones, Lavender and Monkey Farts – that’s bananas and pineapple,” Miranda said. Not surprisingly, the latter is quite popular with the kids.

Since January of this year, Miranda has taken over organizational duties of the Last Minute Market. She now designates booths, arranges vendors for each week and sets up tables every Saturday.

“Rosa Robichaud was the one that started it with her friend Kathleen Palm. They were running it for the longest time. Rosa had to step down a bit and then I took over … I’ve been taking bookings and organizing things on Facebook for it,” Miranda said.

The market has been experiencing an extremely successful year. Miranda has been working off a waiting list for the majority of 2015, save for the summer season which she says is always a bit slower due to to Rupert residents leaving for vacation or having other commitments.

“Fall and winter are our busiest [seasons]. We do crafters and artisans at the market and it’s busy the whole way through until Christmas,” she said. In terms of what’s available to be purchased at the market, it’s almost everything under the sun, said Miranda.

“Oh, everything. We’ve had farmers from Haida Gwaii come and sell their vegetables, we’ve had artists travelling around, carvers. We’ve got multi-level marketing consultants like Avon and Epicure – all kinds of things like second-hand things. We have people that bring in collectibles and jewellery – everything,” she said.

“My favourite booths are when the kids or high school kids come to sell their things. A couple girls there right now have been selling with us pretty much for the whole year and they’ve been making their own decorative tiles. They take pictures from around Rupert and then they stick them onto the tiles, or you can do personalized ones with your pictures and then they’ll put them on [coaster-sized] tiles for you.”

Anyone interested in getting involved with the Last Minute Market can contact Miranda through the Facebook page: Last Minute Market, or call 250-600-0006. The market runs from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. every Saturday morning.

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