Our guiding principle in opening, and growing The Trainyard has been the idea that “Kindness Changes Everything.”
As we’ve continued to learn and grow we understand it’s not that simple. More than being kind, we need to be actively working against discrimination and racism in every form.
We take our social responsibilities seriously, and the idea of kindness, community and inclusion underscores everything we do. We don’t pretend to be perfect, we know we have more to do. We want these commitments to exist as our promise to our community to continue learning and growing.
Commitment to Accessibility
We are committed to having a welcoming, safe space that is physically accessible for customers using mobility aids and accessible to those who use communication aids.
Since the beginning we have been conscious of making our space physically accessible for customers using mobility aids – keeping pathways as wide as possible. When our stock volumes increase for the holidays corners can get a little tight, but wheelchairs & walkers always have space to get move freely.
Our new location has a gentle sloped entrance (fully accessible from the sidewalk), but the door can be difficult to open with a stroller or mobility device. Please call, or knock if you need any assistance at all. Curbside pick up will also remain in effect if you are unable to enter for any reason.
We are working to add accessible text to our social media posts and continue to learn about how to do this in a way that offers maximum benefit.
Accessibility Of Goods
We strive to offer handcrafted goods at a variety of price points. In the Fall of 2020 we launched a Pay What You Can shelf in store, designed to remove barriers to purchasing a beautiful handcrafted piece for yourself or as a gift. Our prices are fair, and reflect the time, materials & experience makers put into their work – but we know that not everyone is paid a living wage and sometimes the pricing can be inaccessible. Purchases from the Pay What You Can shelf are processed without judgement, we are happy to see the goods find a home and brighten your day. Please see in store for full details.
Anti-Racism & Inclusion
We are moving forward with a renewed focus on making sure voices different from our own are heard and reflected in store. We recognize the inherent privilege we have experienced in a society that was built to oppress.
We are actively seeking to use services from BIPOC owned businesses and supporting organizations through Trainyard Connect that are doing inclusive work in our community. We have always carried work from BIPOC & 2SLGBTQIA+ artists with the belief that representation matters, and will continue to work with, and support makers with backgrounds different from our own.
We recognize the priviledge required to create for a living, and that their are often greater barriers for BIPOC entreprenuers to begin selling their work. We remained committed to reducing barriers for makers, with a great deal of information available on our Makers page. Additionally we supported the 2021 Pull Up On Portland and worked to reduce barriers to participation in that event. We are always open to conversations on how to collaboratively reduce barriers to retail readiness.
2020 was an eye opening year for us with the momentum gained by Black Lives Matter. We have always believed ourselves to be inclusive and “not racist”, but we are learning that being actively anti-racist and inclusive has to be more than passive action. We are continuing educate ourselves daily, and to learn and discover the ways we can move forward together.
In addition to our commitment to educate ourselves we have also made donations to organizations that serve Indigenous and Black Communities here in Nova Scotia and will continue to do so.
Land of Daughters has created a resource list of anti-racist reading, videos & more that you may find helpful. We have compiled a similar list of Mi’kmaq focused reading and resources, found here: Mi’kmaq & Indigenous Resources
We are committed to reusing, reducing or eliminating waste generated by The Trainyard whenever possible. Goods selected for the shop are done so thoughtfully, with the hope that they will bring joy and usefulness for many seasons to come.
Plastic Sleeves: We reuse the plastic sleeves from all our greeting cards; they help us protect the cards when on display, reducing loss from damage but are no longer useful after you’ve purchased the cards. To date we have reused over 1,500 plastic sleeves, and are now able to request new card orders be delivered without plastic packaging. Plastic sleeves & cardboard backers from Print Sets are also welcome to be returned and we will reuse those as well!
Shipping Materials: Our online orders are shipped in reused boxes that our wholesale orders have arrived in. Sometimes the box carrying your purchases to your door will be on it’s third or fourth use! We also reuse all packaging supplies that arrive in the shop, including tissue paper and bubble wrap. Boxes and shipping materials not useful to us are passed onto other small businesses for use.
Candle & Preserve Jars: We are able to accept returns of empty Circle & Wick and Earth Elementals candle jars. These are returned to the makers and refilled. Empty and fully cleaned glass preserve jars may also be returned – these also make great storage at home!
Paper Bags: We will happily accept returns of our Trainyard paper shopping bags, or unbranded kraft paper bags to be reused – we will no longer be branding our own bags to allow for easier reuse as gift bags or a colouring surface for kids, etc! Beginning in Fall 2020 we are introducing paper bags, made in Halifax out of recycled newspaper prints.
Locally Sourced Materials: We source materials for the shop from other local businesses when possible.This includes store fixtures, receipt paper, tissue paper, gift boxes & paper bags. These sources can be hard to find, so if you know of suppliers we should know about – or if you’re a small business looking to source locally get it touch!
Clothing & Goods: Everything we carry is made by Canadian businesses, the majority of our goods are made by hand though as we’ve grown we’ve begun to add items made on a larger scale (in Canada!) by companies whose values align with ours. We focus on building partnerships with those using high quality, repurposed or sustainable materials. For t-shirts carried in store we are slowly transitioning to have all screen printed tees printed on blanks made in Canada and sourcing replacements for things like enamel pins and stickers. Each year our capacity, and those of businesses we’re working with, grows and these sustainable changes become more accessible.
Broader Impacts: Small businesses and makers tend to be more proactive in reducing their environmental footprint and we partner with many like minded businesses when selecting goods for the shop. Several items in store support the planting of trees with each purchase, many have switched to biodegradable packaging or found creative ways to forgo packaging, others reuse materials in the production of new items or otherwise are taking steps to reduce their impact.
Commitment To Our Family
Taking care of the well being of our young family, and our Trainyard family is our top priority. This may mean from time to time, our hours are reduced, or we’re closed unexpectedly to give time off due to illness, family issues or vacation.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to get the doors open. We will continue to prioritize the needs of our family and our Trainyard team over profits.
We pay all of our staff above minimum wage, all breaks paid, offer paid time off for illness, paid vacation for Full-Time staff, and recently began offering a Carbon Neutral Club Membership. Our goal is to have an employee emergency fund, and to become a Living Wage Employer.