The Partnership with Steve Spring, 1969-1986
With Mary back at Ragnarokr, Steve Spring proposed the idea of a partnership between himself and the Ragnarokr co-operative. Steve Spring was one of the founders of the Ragnarokr commune in 1969 and was one of the six original owners of the Frostpocket. He left the commune in 1973 to operate his own business, Leather Arts by Spring, and returned to Ragnarokr in 1979 just before Mary, Randy and the Mullins brothers left. Since then he had sold most of his goods on consignment at Ragnarokr and had taken an active part in running the storefront. Now that it appeared that the old Ragnarokr crew was about to reassemble, he wanted to institutionalize some of the changes he had made over the last four years. Steve received no immediate response to his proposal. In January 1985 Philip Mullins also returned to Toronto but he did not return to work full-time at the leather shop. He worked at various jobs until he teamed up with Morley Yan to do building renovations under the name of Morley's Carpentry. He and his family returned to the United States in July 1987.
Thanksgiving dinner at Ragnarokr in October 1985 was attended by Randy and Kathleen Rauton, Mary Rauton, Philip Mullins, Greg Sperry, Bie Engelen and her son Sam Sperry, Steve and Simone Spring, their two children Amy and Emily, Pat Wilson and her son Ben, Janice Spellerberg and her son Marty and Robin and Vivian, a couple from the neighborhood. Mary, Bie and Steve Spring were working full-time in the leather shop with Randy, his wife Kathleen and Philip helping when they could. In 1983 Philip had married Rosa Morales in her father's home in Chiapas in Mexico. In February 1986 Philip’s wife Rosa and her 10-year-old child arrived from Mexico and moved into the basement of the leather shop. Rosa had lived at 33 Baldwin Street ten years before and knew everyone at Ragnarokr except for Kathleen. Rosa was welcomed back to the shop and began to make and sell canvas bags with leather trim. Ragnarokr’s staff of craftsmen consisted of Bie Engelen, Mary and Randy Rauton, Rosa Mullins, Steve Spring and Robbie Gamble. Robbie was a friend of Mary’s from the New York Catholic Worker.
In May 1986 Ragnarokr received a letter from the landlord, Mr. Al Weisbrot, asking the leather shop to vacate 33 Baldwin Street so the building could be sold. Everyone was shocked and angry. The leather shop had been at that location for sixteen years and had refused several offers to relocate elsewhere. Now the investment partnership that owned the building wanted to cash in on the dramatically increasing real estate prices in Toronto and on Baldwin Street by selling the building. At first the owners held out the possibility that the shop would not have to move but in July the leather shop was given one month to vacate the building.
The narrative continues at 758 Queen Street West, 1986-1996