Meet Your Neighbour

Coriander Life & Coriander Style

Coriander Life and Coriander Style are sister stores directly across Hurontario from each other in historic downtown Collingwood. Owner Sarah Harrison has a long history in retail. While growing up in Toronto, Sarah’s mother, Bobbie French, had 10 retail stores in the area and her father, Derek French, was a fashion wholesaler and importer. So needless to say, the business of retail is in her blood as it was quite literally the conversation around the family dinner table each night.

“The name Coriander came from sourcing trips I took to Bali, back in the ‘90s when global imports were a huge trend. My dad and I would find treasures abroad and bring them back to Canada to sell to other stores,” recalls Harrison. “Our first retail venture began in 1999 as a holiday pop-up location out of an empty storefront in downtown Guelph. This quickly evolved into a full-time store and the first Coriander shop was launched. It was an adventure—we sold all sorts of crazy things gathered in buying trips across the globe, but eventually we settled down and focused on fashion and gifts”.

“During a spontaneous road trip to Collingwood with a girlfriend in 2014, I fell in love with downtown Collingwood. We shopped downtown, had lunch at the Tremont Café, and met a few of the locals. Andrea Rinaldo from the Butter Gallery introduced me to Rick and Anke Lex who showed me the space 83 Hurontario Street. Six weeks later we opened the first Coriander Life in Collingwood. And after outgrowing that space, we opened a second location in 2019 at 78 Hurontario Street, the home of Coriander Style.” Coriander Life has evolved into a fun, quirky, and entertaining gift shop filled with merchandise guaranteed to make you smile. Coriander Style offers chic easy modern dressing designed to keep you comfortable and contemporary.

Sarah is a true visionary and talented buyer, but what she prides herself on most is the ability to build a great team. Between the two retail locations she employs about a dozen people. The staff members can bounce between both locations which keep the job interesting and fun. “If the last few years have taught me anything, it is that the number one ingredient to having a successful retail store is to have a happy team. This is the key to building stores with great energy and a fun culture. People want to work in a positive workspace and to use their strengths to contribute to a business they believe in. I believe in empowering our staff and to let them do what they do best, whether it is working with clients, creating great displays, or looking after our inventory. I honestly feel that it is the fabulous people who keep Coriander running every day that are the heart and soul of our business,” explains Sarah.

New at Coriander Style is a popular menswear section. What started off as a comfy couch for men to relax on while their partners are shopping has now become the epicentre of a menswear collection offering stylish comfortable clothing and accessories. “When people come to visit Collingwood, they usually come in pairs. So we thought it just made good sense to offer a shopping experience for men as well.”

Sarah is a natural team-builder who loves marketing and being part of the Collingwood Downtown BIA Promotions Committee. She was one of the founders of Collingwood Fashion Week. “Being part of Collingwood Fashion Week has really helped me connect with other businesses. The entire event is an excellent way for small businesses to connect, partner, and promote each other. And I love that we are putting Downtown Collingwood on the map as THE fashion hub for southern Georgian Bay,” glows a very proud Harrison. “After all, our retail community has built something very special in this downtown and we shouldn’t be shy about sharing it with the world”.

Visit their website shopcoriander.com/ to shop on-line.  You can also sign up for their newsletter and find out about exciting promotions like their Library Box Club https://shopcoriander.com/pages/library-box-club and their 5th Saturday Club https://shopcoriander.com/pages/5th-saturday-club.  Follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/coriandercollingwood/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/shopcoriander/

The Posh Shoppe

 

The Posh Shoppe, a lifestyles retail boutique in Collingwood Downtown is the perfect shopping destination for those who appreciate on trend, classic and edgy fashions and accessories that cater to the way we live and play in Collingwood and the Blue Mountains. Owner, Melanie McBride opened the retail boutique in October of 2018 and showcases numerous labels from all over the world including but not limited to Sportalm, Alpnrock, Krimson&Klover, Luhta , Goldbergh as just an example of her Apres Ski lines.

Like many small business owners here in Collingwood, Melanie McBride, who has a degree in Management Economics from the University of Guelph and is also a practicing Realtor, started coming to the area in the early 2000s eventually became one of those weekenders who chose never to go home.

Melanie’s passion for fashion led to the opening of The Posh Shoppe. “I absolutely am a shopaholic and I thought why just fill my closet when I can help everyone fill theirs as well ”, recalls Melanie.  “This store has my stamp all over it.  In the summer it has a beachy relaxed vibe and in the Winter, we are all about the Apres”

The Posh Shop often hosts trunk shows, VIP events, open houses and specializes in fashion parties where you can book the store for a private shopping party with your group of friends.“Fashion has an attitude not an age.  If someone thinks that they may be beyond some of the styles we have in the shop, I can change that mindset pretty quickly.  When you’re walking into The Posh Shoppe, you’re not just walking into a boutique; it’s about the experience and the atmosphere” affirms Melanie.

Fun fact:  On ocean voyages between Britain and India, the most desirable cabins—the ones that didn’t get the afternoon heat—were on the Port side over and on the Starboard side home. These luxury tickets were supposedly stamped with the letters POSH.  A fitting tribute to a boutique that sits right next to beautiful Georgian Bay.

If you’re looking for a fun, relaxed boutique where you’ll find stylists that have a passion for getting you dressed, The Posh Shoppe located at 49 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown should be on your list.  Check out their social media:

www.facebook.com/shopposhshoppe/ or

Instagram www.instagram.com/shopposhshoppe/

Clerkson’s Home Store

Clerkson’s Home Store in Collingwood Downtown offers everything you need to create your dream living space.  Starting with the basics, the store is a great source for Canadian furniture for every room in your home. Whether you’re looking for something sleek and modern or casual and comfortable, the knowledgeable staff can help you select the pieces that suit your needs and your lifestyle.

Owners, Paula and David Conning were living in Orangeville, and after Paula retired from a twenty-five year career in nursing she was looking for something to do.  The couple decided that they wanted to buy a business and selected Collingwood as a potential location as it was central to both the Bruce Peninsula and Muskoka communities that the couple has ties to.  “We knew we wanted to buy a retail business that suited the needs of the community, was well situated, had a decent inventory to take over, a good supplier network and a strong well established brand,” recalls Paula.  “When we did our reconnaissance drive to Collingwood, we found that what Clerkson’s offered as a business ticked all of the boxes on our criteria list”.

Clerkson’s Home Store was originally opened in 1977 by Murray Clerkson and was being offered for sale in 2013 by then current owners Bob and Betty Jean Cook.  “When we purchased the store, our job was to literally not mess this up.  Clerkson’s had been a good reliable business in the community for over forty years,” remembers Paula “and it was our job to make sure it stayed that way when we took over.  It was a very pleasant surprise to find out how supportive and welcoming the local business community was to us, the Christie’s next door have been extremely supportive and helpful and our landlords, Rick and Anke Lex are just fantastic to deal with”.  Being new to the community and wanting to really get involved, Dave served as a Board Member with the Collingwood Downtown Business Improvement Area.  “We love being where we are in the downtown core.  We’re close to fantastic restaurants that are steps away and we’ve attended many performances at the Simcoe Street Theatre.  Dave and our daughter Laura have even performed there together”, reflects Paula.

Well known for home décor, in addition to offering quality, well made furniture, Clerkson’s has a large selection of furnishings for every room in the house. “These are the aesthetic components used to make a home more attractive and visually appealing like rugs, bedding, lighting and accessories,” explains Paula.  “If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, come on in and talk to us.  We’ve got a great team here and your home should make you happy.  We can help you explore ideas and help answer questions like ‘how big should the rug be in this space? Or what kind of lighting would work best in this room?’  We also offer home décor consultations, so maybe you have some core pieces and want to refresh the current look and feel of your home or maybe you’re starting from scratch furnishing your dream home or your weekend residence.”

Seasonal Tip:  During the holiday season, Clerkson’s offers a wonderful selection of gifts and Christmas ornaments, everything from classic blown glass to whimsical felted ornaments.

If you’re looking for new furniture, new home accessories or giftware, make sure you check out Clerkson’s Home Store located at 85 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown.  They’re open from 10Am – 5PM daily and 11AM-4PM on Sundays.  You can also shop on-line www.clerksons.com/.  Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ClerksonsHomeStore/ or www.instagram.com/clerksonshomestore/

 

Read It Again New and Used Books

     

Read It Again New & Used Books in Collingwood Downtown is a treasure trove of literature to discover offering every possible genre of book available.   The books have all been hand selected based on popularity, are neatly catalogued by genre and then alphabetized by author, with 75% being gently used, 25% brand new and thousands of titles to choose from.

Owner, Shirley Marsden opened her first location for Read It Again in 1989 in a retail shop located on Second Street.  The space she had leased originally had 5 rooms, one she used for her Barber Shop, another for her Taxi Stand and that left 3 empty rooms to fill with something.  She had many people ask to sub-lease the remaining rooms for various small businesses but she didn’t want to get into the business of being a landlord or sharing the space.  “The light bulb went off in my head about how to use the space when I was cutting a gentleman’s hair and he saw a book I had purchased at a garage sale for twenty-five cents sitting on a shelf,” recalls Shirley.  “He said ‘Oh my goodness, do you know how long I’ve been looking for that book? I’ll give you twenty dollars for it’ and that’s when the vision for a used book store started to crystallize in my mind.  I knew what I was going to do with those three rooms and that’s really how I got into the business of books.”

Fun fact:  When Shirley actually does have time to read which isn’t very often, her favourite books are autobiographies, true crime and non fiction novels.

Buying a used book from Read It Again comes with a pretty nifty incentive.  If you buy a used general fiction or murder mystery book at full price, read it and bring it back, you’ll receive a credit of 50% towards your next purchase.  Therefore if you paid $10 for the used book, when you return it in good condition, you’ll receive a $5 credit.

Maybe you’re moving, maybe you’re purging. So what do you do if you have some used books that you’d like to re-home and donate?  First of all you, need to know that they don’t accept magazines, encyclopedias, Reader’s Digest, medical or cookbooks (unless the cookbooks are very recent). “Just bring in your used books anytime, and we’d be happy to take a look at them.  If they’re very recent, you may receive an in-store credit, but that will be discussed when you bring them in for us to have a look at,” offers Shirley.

Listen up parents of high school children!  If your teens are in need of volunteer hours, you should give Shirley a call.

The next time you’re looking for a new book, or hunting for a novel from your favourite author or gift shopping, remember that the value of a book is not lost because it’s already been read by someone else.  You’ll still get the same enjoyment from it.  Read It Again Books can also special order in books and it usually takes about a week.

Find Read It Again New & Used Books at 33 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown, they’re open from Monday to Saturday from 10AM-5:30PM and on Sundays from 11AM to 4PM. You can also find them on the web at readitagain.ca/. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ReadItAgainNewAndUsedBooks/

Poppy’s French Bistro

       

Poppy’s French Bistro is a delightful, cozy restaurant located in the heart of the arts district in the historic Tremont Building on Simcoe Street in Collingwood Downtown.  This approachable dining destination offers lunch and dinner service and on Sundays you can also book in for Brunch.

Poppy’s is the sixth restaurant in the Tuner Hospitality Group portfolio and a passion project for Co-Founder Renee Turner.  “We wanted to create a space where everyone could feel welcome to gather for a nice meal, drink (or two) and good conversation in Downtown Collingwood,” says Renee. “We worked in collaboration with our Executive Chef Francis Bermejo to create a menu that is authentic French cuisine and all of the wines we offer are French, sourced on consignment.  People can expect friendly service and a great meal that is comforting.  We felt that authentic French cuisine was missing from the Collingwood dining scene and we immediately fell in love with the vibe this space has and love being where we are on Creative Simcoe Street,” continues Renee.

Fun Fact:  The name Poppy’s is inspired by a lady that Renee and her husband and business partner Bruce met while on vacation in Paris.  “She was riding a bicycle with a basket full of French baguettes,” recalls Renee.  “People are always asking me if I’m Poppy.”

“My favourite thing since we opened Poppy’s is meeting new people.  Each day is different, and since we’ve been open, we have enjoyed a steady stream of clientele that keep coming back,” says Renee. “Our Chef du Cuisine, Roy Zalamea and our team of servers just do such an excellent job and we’re very proud of that.”

If you’re looking for authentic French cuisine, have a craving for classics like Steak Frites, Salad Nicoise or Cuisse de Canard Confite, you’re in the right place.  You can find Poppy’s French Bistro at 80 Simcoe St. in Collingwood Downtown, and check out the rest of Poppy’s menus and make reservations on-line on their website poppysbistro.com/.  Follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/poppysbistro or Instagram www.instagram.com/poppysfrenchbistro/ @poppysfrenchbistro

Property Valet

Property Valet opened their doors in 2017 with their first short term accommodation property. Since that time, co-owners Sean Landreth, President and P.J. Slade, Vice-President, together with their team have grown the business to manage over 120 vacation rental properties in Collingwood and the surrounding region. The company is passionate about helping their clients achieve maximum financial success while enjoying the experience of owning a second home or vacation rental property. From top to bottom, they offer superior property management services to owners of vacation homes and rental properties

 “Collingwood Downtown was a must for us when we were selecting the location for our head office because Collingwood is such a vibrant community and we wanted a visual presence in a small downtown with big appeal.  The location gives us excellent brand awareness, especially being located across the street from Sporting Life,” recalls Sean.  “Everyone that comes to the region to ski comes downtown to shop or dine at some point during their stay.  Being downtown is fantastic, we’re steps away to a diverse dining scene, we frequent places like The Huron Club and Prime Seven Nine for staff meetings or maybe hop across the street for an après work cocktail at 1858 Caesar Bar.  If we want a great cup of coffee or a snack, Summit Social House and Mad Dogs Vinyl Café are literally steps away,” continues Sean.

An advocate for governance within the short term accommodation industry, Sean and his team firmly believed that a managed short term stay is a better short term stay.  “We’ve grown to the point that we can employ over 40 people who are a local.  Each member of our team brings a different strength and skill set to Property Valet and they’re all essential to our business, but more importantly, they’re all part of making sure that we as a company provide a premium level of service that will ensure an exceptional guest experience,” says Sean.

Property Valet is also a company very much about giving back.  They’ve sponsored fundraising events like the Hospice Gala and hosted a golf tournament in support of My Friend’s House and are actively looking for a local sports team to sponsor.

Fun Fact:  The distinctive brick building at 219 Hurontario St., now home to the Property Valet office, features a front terrace retaining wall made of local rubble stone – a rare piece of traditional masonry on a mostly brick Main Street.  The wall is likely one of the oldest built structures in the town, and predates The Great Collingwood Fire of 1881 – while the building itself appeared on local maps as early as 1875.

Find Property Valet at 219 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown and to learn more about the team members, other services they offer and career opportunities please visit their website at propertyvalet.ca/.  Follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/PropertyValet.ca/ or Instagram www.instagram.com/propertyvalet_/ to stay up to date with current promotions and company news.

Butter Gallery

Butter Gallery in Collingwood Downtown is a bright, spacious 2,500 square foot contemporary art gallery, representing Canadian artists from coast to coast with the majority from Ontario.  You can enjoy a wide variety of paintings in various genres including landscape, impressionist, abstract, still life, figurative and wildlife. The gallery also carries sculpture in metal, glass and clay as well as handcrafted jewellery.

Gallery co-owners Andrea Rinaldo and Suzanne Steeves opened the gallery in August of 2016. The original gallery was across the street in a much smaller space.  After some initial success, Andrea and Suzanne decided to move into the current location.

The gallery is constantly evolving to showcase the work of the various artists that they represent. “Once you sell a piece, you can’t just replace it, you have to re-hang the wall and sometimes that means redoing the adjacent walls as well.  The process is a constant curation.” explains Andrea.

The gallery offers several shows a year that feature either a solo artist or group of artists brought together by a common theme.  “Clients are welcome to take art home on approval and as part of our service we can superimpose work into a photograph of your space.”  offers Suzanne.

Andrea grew up in the arts and Suzanne always had a passion for the arts and enjoyed a successful career in broadcasting.  The pair met each other through volunteering with the BMFA (Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts).  “As soon as we met, we were finishing each other’s sentences.  We sat down to have a chat at Espresso Post and over lemonade we decided to open a gallery.  Thirty-five hours later, we had secured our first gallery space” remembers Andrea.  “The more we talked, the more we found we had in common…growing up just blocks away from each other in Don Mills, going to the same primary and secondary schools a few years apart.  It was such a coincidence and a little bit bizarre at the same time.” added Suzanne.

Fun facts:  Andrea and Suzanne met each other through volunteering with the BMFA (Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts).  Andrea started the Collingwood Art & Music Crawl and Suzanne was part of the team that started the Creemore Festival of the Arts.

New work arrives weekly at the gallery and can be seen on Instagram or by checking out the Discover tab on the website.  If you can’t visit in person, Andrea and Suzanne are happy to do a Facetime call or provide a video of the work you’re interested in. The gallery ships worldwide and also has a private delivery service that covers Ontario and Quebec.

The next time you’re looking to refresh your space with some original artwork, or just want to make your day a bit brighter with some art appreciation, check out Butter Gallery.

Butter Gallery is open seven days a week from 11AM-4PM and is located at 126 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown.  You can visit their website buttergallery.ca/ or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ButterGallery151/ or Instagram @ buttergallery151 www.instagram.com/buttergallery151/

Low Down

      

After many years working in the local food and beverage industry working for other people, Cassie MacKell decided it was time to work for herself and open her own restaurant.  “I’ve been in Collingwood working in the industry long enough to understand the demographic and the gaps in the marketplace, so I came up with the concept to open an Asian cocktail bar, the next thing I needed to do was find a business partner with the right skill sets to compliment my own.  At three o’clock one morning I woke up with an epiphany to partner with Chef Jeff Beltran who I’ve known for years” explains Cassie.

“The next day I texted Jeff, we met, I explained the concept and Jeff was on board immediately. I think we’re really the perfect pairing.  The next challenge was to find the perfect location.  I knew we wanted to be in Collingwood Downtown, but just a little off the main street.  We love being on Simcoe Street, all of our neighbours are people that are passionate about what they do.  We have a lot of neighbours who are passionate about art and music and when you get a bunch of creative people together, a lot can happen.  We all support each other…it’s pretty incredible” Cassie further explains.

Low Down Cocktail & Snack Bar opened the doors in September of 2019 and is located on Simcoe Street in the heart of the creative district in Collingwood Downtown and offers an Asian fusion menu with lots of snacks and shareables, entrée style bowls and fresh seasonal craft cocktails that are inspired by exotic and exciting travel experiences.  “When my husband Jay and I are travelling, I get inspired by the vibe, the music, the food and I think ‘how can I create a cocktail that reminds me of this experience?’” notes Cassie.

Jeff, the son of first generation Philippine immigrants, grew up spending a lot of time in the kitchen whether it was helping to prepare for large family gatherings or because he wanted to put a little extra cash in his pocket while he was working an office job.  His time in the kitchen was also partly necessity to feed himself while his parents were often working 16 hour days to support the family.

The menu for the restaurant was always designed to offer food that could travel well.  Cassie and Jeff knew that because the original footprint of the restaurant would only accommodate 25 patrons inside, take-out would represent a large part of their business.  “As soon as we opened the doors, we knew we immediately needed a bigger space and we feel very fortunate that we were able to expand Low Down to incorporate the space next door.  Now we can have 40 people inside and additional 55 people in the patio” says Cassie.

Fun Fact:  The décor at Low Down is influenced by an Asian street vibe with a modern, fresh twist.  The neon sign “It was all a dream” is a lyric from a song by Rapper Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G. The new wall mural “Supadupafly” is a song title by Rap/Hip Hop Artist Missy Elliot and was painted by @blazeworks.

Looking for fun special events?  Make sure you follow Low Down on Facebook www.facebook.com/lowdown.bar or Instagram www.instagram.com/lowdown.bar/ to stay tapped into what’s going on.  As well as offering live music from time to time, they have become known as Collingwood’s Drag destination, offering a new show about every three months.

To check out their menu or order on-line, visit their website lowdownbar.ca/

Gluten Free Me

   

Take a little walk just off the main street at 191 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown and you’ll discover a wonderful little gem of a boutique bakery offering up scrumptious gluten free baked goods that are made from scratch.  As soon as you open the door, you’re immediately enveloped with the delicious aroma of freshly baked goodies and once you taste them, you’ll be coming back for more.

With over 35 years of experience, baker Jane Stainsby brings a lot of expertise to the bench while her husband and ‘baker in training’ Michael Bathgate mans the front counter.  “We take a lot of pride in baking everything from scratch, we mix our own gluten free flour, we squeeze lemons to get fresh lemon juice for our lemon squares rather than using lemon juice from a bottle, we peel our own apples for our pies and we stew our own dates for our squares.  Because of space limitations in the shop we just don’t have enough space to bake our own bread so we bring in a line of artisanal bread from Ste. Anne’s Bakery.  We’re very proud to offer our customers their breads because their products are just such excellent quality and taste delicious” explains Michael.

Jane had a traditional bakery in Brooklyn, Ontario and after she retired, kept getting requests from friends to bake special cakes for people that had dietary intolerances so the apron strings never really got untied. Jane and Michael have been coming to the area for over 30 years and found themselves constantly being drawn to Collingwood on the weekends so they made the permanent move here three and a half years ago and then shortly thereafter a retail environment opportunity came up and they opened the doors to Gluten Free Me.

Gluten Free Me is a full production bakery that also offers a vegan line of baked goods, which Jane is working hard on expanding, and you can pick up dinner while you’re there from the line of frozen entrees they bring in. Can’t quite decide what to choose?  Their apple pies, quiches, scones, butter tarts and cheese cakes are among the best sellers.

Tasty Tip:  You can order custom cakes including vegan options from Gluten Free Me.  Forty-eight hours notice is appreciated.

You can find Gluten Free Me at 191 Hurontario St., Unit 3 in Collingwood Downtown or on the web. www.GlutenFreeMe.Today. Follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/glutenfreemebakery/ or Instagram www.instagram.com/glutenfreemebakery/

 

Serendipity Soy Candles

Serendipity Soy Candles has been on the move and rapidly growing since they first opened their doors in Collingwood in September of 2016.  Starting with one employee, the owner Jennifer Ageeb, they now have two locations in Collingwood, a total of 9 retail locations and over 50 employees. Unique to the retail location in Collingwood Downtown are candle making workshops where you can make your very own 100% natural and eco-friendly soy candles that smell absolutely amazing.

Jenn, who is originally from Canada, met her husband Bernard in the Bahamas when she was there visiting her mom.  Around the same time she was opening her business in the Bahamas, she learned the unfortunate news that her mother had received a cancer diagnosis.  Together they became enlightened to the sad reality that so many of the ingredients in the products we use on our bodies and in our homes can seriously harm our health. That reinforced their drive to create pure soy candles void of pollutants and carcinogens in a big way.

The family moved to Collingwood in 2016 because Jenn and Bernard decided that Collingwood would be a great place to raise their two sons Josh and Zach, and they thought that the community offered a great business opportunity.  “We loved the small town feel that we felt had big town opportunities for business growth.” recalls Jennifer.

Their factory and retail location on Hume Street in Collingwood is where all of the magic happens.  They have developed over 500 different scent profiles, and each and every soy candle is hand poured into over 20 different sizes ranging from tiny tea lights all the way up to their 20 wick designer collection candles.  Serendipity also offers Candle Making Kits and Custom Candle Boxes.

“We’re very proud to be able to offer our all natural soy candles at reasonable prices to both consumers and other local businesses. We have a wholesale candle program and we’re very grateful for the support we’ve received from other local small businesses who have allowed us the opportunity to create a custom candle line for their brand or store.” notes Jenn.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect scent to make your space more enjoyable or searching for a gift for someone special, you’ll find your scent at Serendipity.

Find the Serendipity Soy Candles at 27 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown.  You can visit their website serendipitycandlefactory.com/ to shop on-line and follow them on facebook  www.facebook.com/SerendipityCompany or Instragram  www.instagram.com/serendipitycandlefactory/@serendipitycandlefactory

Mad Dog’s Vinyl Cafe

 

Walk in to Mad Dog’s Vinyl Café in Collingwood Downtown and you’ll find an incredible selection of new and used vinyl, rock band t-shirts, apparel and accessories.  With over 10,000 titles to choose from, this emporium catering to music enthusiasts and collectors is a must visit if you’re searching for that perfect addition to your collection.

Mad Dog’s Vinyl Café also offers up a nice selection of specialty coffees, teas and organic drinks, so you can sip on your favourite while you browse and flip through the stacks of vinyl covering just all genres of music.  “We’re almost as well known for our chai lattes as we are for our wide selection of vintage and new vinyl.” says owner Bob Madigan. “There’s nothing more fulfilling than when I hear a customer walk into the shop and say ‘wow it smells so good in here”, continues Bob.

Back in 1995, Bob purchased a struggling retail CD store and started making gradual changes to get the business back on its feet.  One of the first things he did was to start selling vinyl.  “It was a slow process to make people understand that vinyl just sounds better.” recalls Bob.  Over the years the business has moved locations a couple of times and the business model has been tweaked to keep up with the ebb and flow of technology changes and customer demand.  In 2017 Bob had the opportunity to set up shop in a beautiful historic building at 239 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown which is where you’ll find Mad Dog’s today.

Fun fact:  The store name Mad Dog’s is homage to Bob’s father whose nick name is Mad Dog Madigan.

Bob, who was born and raised in Collingwood, is an enthusiastic entrepreneur and business man who has some advice for those looking to get into business for themselves. “If you’re going to get into business you should pick something that you know more about than the average person and find something that comes easily to you, which you enjoy. For me, that’s putting smiles on people’s faces and that’s something we do really well here at Mad Dogs.” advises Bob with a big smile. “It’s also massively important to support your neighbouring small businesses in this community.”

The next time you’re looking to add a little more music to your life check out Mad Dog’s Vinyl Café and plan to stay for a little while because once you start looking at all of the stuff they have in there, it’s hard to stop. If you have a collection of vinyl or memorabilia that you are ready to part with you can call the shop at (705) 445-1900 and make an appointment to bring it in for evaluation.

Find Mad Dog’s Vinyl Café at 239 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown.  You can also follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/maddogsvinylcafe/ or Instagram www.instagram.com/maddogsvinyl/

Brunello At 27 On Fourth

Brunello At 27 on Fourth serves up traditional Tuscan cuisine and is well known for its delicious meals, warm décor and is considered a dining destination for special occasions and celebrations in Collingwood Downtown.

The Campolo family purchased the well-established restaurant in April of 2021, relocating to Collingwood from Vaughn and they collectively bring over 100 years of experience in the food and beverage industry.  Chef Adriano Senior, with his wife, Cynthia and children Adriano and Maria work as a close family unit along with Grandfather Gonzalo who creates the appetizers and desserts.

“My favourite thing about working in this business is interacting with the customers and providing excellent customer service.  It’s wonderful to establish a rapport with our regular customers and welcome them back in with a smile.  It’s always so special when people choose Brunello’s for their special occasion or a milestone celebration.” says Maria who manages the front of the house along with her brother Adriano. “We’re proud to be able to offer great food, great service, great wine and a true Italian dining experience.” continues Adriano.

Fun fact:  They have a treasure chest of treats offered to little diners as a fun surprise and delight after a family meal.

The restaurant is open Tuesday – Saturday for dinner from 5PM – 10PM and is now open for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 Noon – 3PM.  You can also book the entire restaurant on Sundays for special occasions. Whether you choose the cozy dining room or on the newly renovated patio, reservations are highly recommended.

You can check out their menus on-line at www.brunellocollingwood.com/ or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brunellocollingwood/.

Templeman’s Hairstyling- Ken Templeman (Town Crier)

Ken Templeman, our friendly neighbourhood Town Crier opened the doors of Templeman’s Hairstyling in Collingwood Downtown in 1991 and has been Collingwood’s Town Crier since 1996.

As a child, Ken would often take the bus after school to his uncle’s barbershop, enjoy a snack and then spend the evening running errands or helping to clean up the shop.  “I was just a kid but that’s where it all began for me.” recalls Ken.  “My uncle who had also purchased four barber schools was the person who influenced me to get into the trade.  After getting licensed as both a barber and a hairstylist, I’ve been working this business since 1973, that’s over 48 years.”

Back in 1996 the Collingwood Downtown BIA (Business Improvement Association) was planning the Santa Claus Parade and the Candlelight Vigil and someone on the BIA Board suggested that Ken, who was a Parade Marshall start the vigil and lead the parade.   Not having anything appropriate to wear, Lois Woolnough who owned a shop called Balloon Expressions lent Ken a purple velvet costume adorned with lace and Cam Trott, who owns Trott’s Sports Excellence tossed in a pair of baseball socks to complete the look.  On the evening of the candlelit vigil it was pouring rain and Ken got soaked through to the skin. When he went to change into dry clothing, he found that his t-shirt, sox and undergarments were all dyed purple.

Leading the Santa Claus Parade the next day Ken started with the cry “Oyez Oyez.  Welcome to the 1996 Santa Claus Parade.” and that’s how it all began.

Fun fact:  Today, Ken’s uniforms are made by his wife Marianne Templeman who is a very accomplished seamstress.

Today, Ken kicks off about 35 events a year including business grand openings, weddings, graduations and celebrations of all kind.  This year with great pride and for the first time in history he was honoured to start Collingwood Pride Parade.

If you have an upcoming celebration and want to make it a really special occasion, or if you need a little update to your look, you can find Ken at Templeman’s Hairstyling at 227 Hurontario St. in Collingwood Downtown, or give him a shout at 705.444.0389.

Nick’s Unisex Hairstyling

       

Nick’s Unisex Hairstyling has been in business for 43 years in Collingwood Downtown serving the families of our community.  They offer family hairstyling, customized colouring, perms and aesthetics including waxing, manicures and pedicures and lash and brow tinting.

Father and daughter team Nick Pisani and Krystina Cunningham work side by side each day in this busy salon with the doors opening as early as 6AM.  “It’s a long time tradition that I started back when my salon was located up the street closer to the Shipyards.  Shift change was at 6AM for the workers at the Shipyards so it made sense to be to be open early to provide a convenient service to folks just coming off shift.” recalls Nick.

Nick was born in the small town of Serra San Bruno in the Calabria region of Italy, was raised in Orillia and graduated from Bruno’s School of Hair Design in Toronto before making Collingwood his home town.  Nick’s daughter Krystina was pretty much raised in the salon and it all started for her when she was just 3 years old.  “I would stand on a little orange stool and take the rollers out of ladies hair. I love working with my dad 99% of the time.  I just know how he works and vice-versa.” laughs Krystina.

“You become such a people person when you run a business like this.  You really get to know your customers and sometimes you form a life-long bond with them.  In this business you hear a lot of things that can be confidential in nature and you can’t dive into the gossip.  You have to treat your customers with respect and you’ve got to be accommodating.  For example, we love that we have an accessible parking spot right outside for our customers who are elderly and we go out of our way in the winter to make sure that the snow is cleared so that they can get out of their vehicles and into the shop easily and safely.” says Nick.

Fun fact:  When Nick needs his hair done, there’s no one he trusts more with a pair of scissors than his own daughter.

Being located in the downtown core has its conveniences.  Nick and Krystina are always changing up their window décor in the shop to go along with the different festivals and events organized by the Collingwood Downtown BIA.  “We just hop across the street to U-pick Parties, Roxann has everything we need for that. Or if we didn’t pack a lunch we just zip up to Pita Pit to grab something quick to go.  Supporting your neighbours in a small town is important, because they’re the ones that are going to support you right back.” says Nick.

If you’re in need of a snip or two, want to update your look, or pamper yourself a bit with a manicure or pedicure, give Nick’s a call at 705.445.9522 to get set up with an appointment.  You can find Nick’s Unisex Hairstyling at 227 Hurontario Street and follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/NicksUnisexHairstyling/

Gabriele Photography

 

Gabriele Photography opened their doors in Collingwood Downtown in 1989.  Now in their 33rd year of doing business, this boutique camera shop which caters to the semi-professional photographer is a wonderful resource for anyone that’s a seasoned pro with their camera or an amateur photographer that’s just starting out.

John Gabriele was just 18 years old when he began his career in the retail photography business.  John’s Uncle Gianfranco who owned a camera shop in Italy, gave him his first camera, a Minolta 35mm SLR, and John loved and was inspired by the way his uncle would interact with his customers. When John returned from that trip he went in search of a business loan to open a retail shop in Collingwood.  To this day he is forever grateful to his mother and older brother Claudio who were able to support him with some initial financing.  “If you have a dream, you can never give up on yourself, no matter how young or old you are”. Says John.

Today, Gabriele Photography carries full lines of digital (DSLR) camera equipment from all of the major brands like Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Olympus, Panasonic to name a few, as well as a wide range of accessories and framing options.  You’ll also find a huge selection of gently used film (SLR) and digital equipment which offers up a cost effective option for anyone who is just starting out in photography.

“I love doing business in a smaller town like Collingwood.  You know your customers and your neighbours and we support each other.  It’s pretty amazing when you’ve been in the same business for so long; you find that you’re serving multi-generational families.  The couple that came in for passport photos 30 years ago are now the parents or grandparents of the young families that are our customers today,” says John.  “Being on the main street, I’m just two steps away from Blue Mountain Music, one of my favorite stores and my wife Sheri has her business just down the street, Crave the Chocolatier. Everything is just so convenient”.

Gabriele Photography offers something unique and quite nifty.  As well as offering on-site photo prints from either digital or film, they can do dye sublimation printing which is arguably the best way to produce the highest-quality photographic images on apparel and even non-fabric items like glass, mugs  and aluminum.  Basically if you want an image printed on anything…go see John.  If you’re in need of some gorgeous portrait photography or photography workshops, Kara McNally, a long-time photographer and employee offers those services through the shop.

Fun fact:  John is an accomplished musician and singer.  He plays both electric and acoustic guitar and performs in three different local bands; Elephant Gun (80’s Rock), Coming of Age (Classic Rock) and Howes Gabe a newly formed four-piece acoustic band.

Whether you’re just starting out with a camera or looking for some new equipment to broaden your skillset Gabriele Photography will have what you’re looking for or can likely source it for you.  Find them at 133 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown, or call them at 705-445-9030 and follow them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GabrielePhotography1.

Good Health Mart

   

For over 16 years, John and Suzie Wensley and their knowledgeable staff at Good Health Mart have been making people feel better and healthier with their passion for health and their passion for our community.  They care to take the extra time to help you and your family be healthy naturally.

Good Health Mart provides a better choice for premium health products that are quality and clean of toxins and contaminants. “In our industry there are stringent certifications, that have to happen from raw materials at the beginning of manufacturing and before a product is released.” informs Suzie. “We source products, good, high-quality vitamins and supplements in Canada for the people in our community.  That gives both us and our customers peace of mind.  Passion and integrity is very important to us. In our store you’ll find a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, supplements, proteins and personal care products to help you resolve your ailments or lead you to better health and well being so you can function healthfully – it’s something we all deserve.”

John and Suzie have been passionate about health for over 40 years and were in the pet business for 10 years helping resolve pet health issues with caring and passion.  Pet owners saw the positive results of their pet’s health through natural supplements, which naturally transitioned over time to helping people with their health needs.  “Pets have no preconceptions, so it is very easy to help them with their conditions and journey back to wellness, because they don’t have the same fears, apprehensions, or resistance that people do.  People require more coaching, and we love helping people find the right products that will help them, by spending extra time with them.” continues Suzie. “There is an intricate network within our body –  your brain, gut and heart.  Together, these three influence mental, emotional and physical health. Taking care of your brain, gut and heart, takes care of your overall health. It’s all connected.”

John and Suzie have a knowledgeable team working with them at Good Health Mart, and they all stay up to speed with on-going best practices in the industry through ongoing education courses, seminars, and product knowledge training. They have a very friendly and inviting environment.  Don’t be surprised, if they seem like they know everyone, as everyone is on first name basis when you visit.

“For our customers we offer a personal level of customer service.  We do the very best we can to answer your questions, and if we don’t know the answer, we take the time and make our very best effort to find the answers for you.  We try to really find the root of the problem and find a tailored solution for you. We’re very grateful for our knowledgeable staff.  Our staff is just as passionate as we are about helping people in our community with their health journey” says John. “If we don’t have the product you’re looking for, and we know of a neighbouring business that does, we’re very keen to send you in the right direction.”

If you’re feeling like you need to get on a path to better health, head on over to Good Health Mart and get the conversation started.  You can find Good Health Mart at 145 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown.  Visit them on-line at goodhealthmartcollingwood.com/, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHM.collingwood/ or Instagram at www.instagram.com/goodhealthcollingwood/?hl=en @goodhealthcollingwood

Collingwood Olive Oil Co.

   

When Alex Yuen and Cheryl McMenemy embarked on a journey to start a business together, they needed to find something that made sense for both of them and the experience they brought to the table.  Alex has a long history in the food and beverage industry and Cheryl has over 27 years in the media industry.

After being invited to visit a friend who had just opened a specialty food shop in the Niagara area, the inception of a concept for a business model in Collingwood stated to form.  “We were completely blown away when we visited our friend’s store, and thought that concepts like this could definitely work in Collingwood.” recalls Alex.  “This would be a really good fit, because the local food movement in Collingwood has come a long way.”

After two years of planning and research, Collingwood Olive Oil opened its doors. Now in business for over eight years, this gem of a specialty food shop offers on average over 20 different types of olive oil, 25 different types of balsamic vinegar, and a nice selection of specialty food items to choose from including their very own and very popular Holy Shipyards BBQ sauce and jams and chutneys that are locally produced in small batches.  “Chef Alex works very closely with our producer on the flavor profile for each of our products.” notes Cheryl “and our olive oils are sourced from small estate organic producers across 22 countries we’re proud to say that people keep coming back for more.”

Not just a store, Collingwood Olive Oil is a tasting bar too. “We have a ‘try before you buy’ marketing approach to food.” explains Cheryl “you can’t go into a grocery store and start opening up jars.  We offer walk-in tasting tours which are very popular with visitors from out of town and great for bridal parties or bachelorettes as part of a weekend experience. If someone wants to book a group tour during regular business hours, they’re complimentary and people just need to call the store in advance so that we’re prepared for the occasion.”

Tasty tip:  If you’re in need of some inspiration and want to put something tasty on the table, Chef Alex has created an incredible recipe collection which is available on-line.  Each recipe is easy to execute with step by step instructions and suitable for any type of culinary ability. https://www.collingwoodoliveoil.ca/recipes.

When Alex and Cheryl launched Collingwood Olive Oil, one of the first things they did was make sure they participated in the Collingwood Downtown Farmers’ Market.  “It was essential element in launching Collingwood Olive Oil.  It gave us a great platform to introduce our business to the community, offer tasting samples and start the conversation about what we were all about.” Alex recalls.  “When you launch any business, you’re going to have learning curves; you’re going to have bumps in the road.  My Dad always said that visitors are the icing on the cake, but you’ve got to cater to the locals because they’re the ones that are going to support you all year round and the Collingwood Downtown Farmers’ Market was the perfect place for us to connect with both visitors that are here for just a weekend, or the locals who are loyal market visitors week after week.”

Collingwood Olive Oil is also a great resource for corporate gift giving, wedding favours or referral gifts.  “A lot of local realtors ask us to create custom ‘welcome to your new home’ gift baskets and we work with them on price points and product selection to create something that’s both delicious and memorable.” says Cheryl.

You can visit Collingwood Olive Oil in Collingwood Downtown at 42 Ste Marie St. open Tuesday to Saturday from 10AM – 5PM or find them on-line at www.collingwoodoliveoil.ca/.  Follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/collingwoodoliveoil or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/collingwoodoliveoil/

Blink Eyewear

         

Blink Eyewear offers a wide selection of designer eyewear sourced predominantly from European producers, many of whom make small batch, handmade or hand finished eyewear.  With over 30 brands and 200 different styles to choose from, Blink is a great place to find your new favourite pair of glasses.

“I do a lot of research and if any brand has a unique story, it really resonates with me“ says Jessie Strype the owner of Blink Eyewear.

Jessie, who graduated from the University of Waterloo and went on to further graduate in Opticianry at Georgian College, opened Blink Eyewear in Collingwood Downtown in the fall of 2014. “I chose Collingwood because as a weekend skier I already loved this small town near the water.” recalls Jessie. “The small businesses owners in this town really know how to support each other.  I’m a huge fan of businesses supporting business and people supporting people.  In Collingwood there is a huge group of small business owners that are going to grow up together.  We’ve learned from the businesses that have come before us and we’re the ones that will help guide the businesses that come after us.”

Jessie feels fortunate to be able to tap into the resources that exist right here in downtown Collingwood.  She uses Mayka Marketing for social media and on many occasions, she’s been able to rely on Andrew’s Copy & Print Centre to ‘save her bacon’ when she needed a last-minute print job done.  She loves to support local and shops for new fashions at Cora Couture Fashion Boutique and frequents Gibson & Co., Sol Kitchen and Low Down Cocktail Bar.

Opening your own business is not for the faint of heart. “You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  If it were easy, everyone would do it.” advises Jessie. “You need to find your people…like-minded people that will be part of your peer group and support you. The level of gratitude I feel towards this community is almost unmeasurable.  We definitely know how to rally together and support one another.”

If you’re looking for a new pair of peepers, anything from classic and conservative to a unique piece of face art, check out Blink Eyewear.  You can find them at 23 Ste. Marie Street in Collingwood Downtown or visit their website at blink-eyewear.com.  Follow Blink on facebook at www.facebook.com/blinkeyewearcollingwood or Instagram @blink.eyewear

VAIYA

                       

VAIYA a beautiful boutique in Collingwood Downtown is a lifestyle brand designed for people on the go.  Their clothing is casual and stylish, featuring breathable, natural fabrics and everything is designed with comfort in mind.

Carolina D’Andrea opening the shop in December of 2019 with a vision of offering comfortable and casual clothing, shoes and accessories that are travel friendly, stylish and fun based on quality basics. “We offer a lot of eco-friendly, ethically sourced organic linen, cotton, bamboo and hemp clothes that are suitable for all ages, sizes and shapes.” says Carolina.  “We also offer an excellent selection of leather footwear in styles that move with you and we try and focus on Canadian brands. We offer a laid back and friendly place to shop.” she adds.

Like many young entrepreneurs, Carolina (call me ‘Lina’) moved to Collingwood for the lifestyle and has been in retail in Collingwood Downtown for over 8 years now.  “Running your own business is not for the faint of heart, but it’s also the best thing I ever did.  You have to be ready to work at it but still make sure you’re having fun at the same time. Having a business right in the heart of downtown Collingwood is great.  It’s so convenient to just pop over to Sol Kitchen or Fig & Feta to grab a yummy, healthy lunch.”

If you’re planning a summer holiday or a road trip, or just need a bit of a wardrobe update check out VAIYA to incorporate some comfortable, stylish travel wear that moves with you.

You can find VAIYA at 21 Hurontario Street in Collingwood Downtown.  On-line shopping is available on their website. shopvaiya.ca/.  Follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/vaiya.ca/ or instagram @ vaiya_official www.instagram.com/vaiya_official/

Everlove Healing & Yoga

Everlove Healing + Yoga is more than just a physical space. It’s a living, breathing, thriving community in a space that is safe and inspiring.  Everlove has two studios where community can come together and move, as well as private practitioner suites for one-on-one treatments. Located in Collingwood Downtown, co-owners, Ariana Novak and Dan Fotopolous have created a place that is safe and inspiring.

Ariana found out early in her career that a corporate life was not a good fit for her and she recalls being in a yoga class for the very first time “I was doing a downward dog and it was a big wake up call for me…I felt like I was getting to know myself for the very first time.” Since that epiphany, she became a student of yoga and it has become part of her daily life.  Ariana trained at the Kripalu School of Yoga & Ayurveda and was fortunate enough to study with some of the most esteemed teachers while she was there; and then continued on to train and assist a multitude of trainings and programs at Kripalu. Ariana since then has become a 500 E-RYT yoga teacher and certified life coach, yoga nidra guide, and breathwork facilitator.

Dan is a Real-Estate Investment Coach, Realtor, Spoken Word Poet, Laurier Business Graduate, board game enthusiast and rock climber. He’s attended many retreats and self-growth programs across North-America, and most recently spent 5 months in Costa Rica with Ariana – dreaming about manifesting a growth minded community like Everlove.

After returning from their trip to Costa Rica, Dan and Ariana came to Collingwood for a weekend get-a-way and were looking for a place where they could join a yoga class.  That search led them to taking a walk through of the historic building at 136 St. Paul Street that has now become the home to Everlove Healing + Yoga.  “We wanted to relocate from the Kitchener Waterloo area to a place that offered connection, community and wellness…it would be a bonus if we could find water and mountains, and well here we are.” recalls Dan.  “We took ownership of the property in October of 2021 and we raced to update the building and make some modifications and were able to open our doors on February 24th, 2022.  We’re very excited about being able to offer a healing space that is inclusive for everyone in the community.” says Dan.

“So many small business owners can get stalled when they’re trying to figure out what their business model is going to be and how things will roll out.  They want things to be perfect right from the beginning.  We feel it’s a beautiful thing to watch the evolution.  Everlove is like a baby right now, just learning to walk.  Businesses are like babies…it takes time for things to grow.” offers Dan.  “We’re in the growth stage and we’re very much looking forward to collaborating with members of our community to widen the scope of what we’re able to offer here at Everlove.  We have plans to collaborate with our next door neighbors at 11 Rooms, a boutique hotel and retreat space to create some retreat options for both locals and visitors to the area.” continues Dan.

Fun fact:  If you look at the logo for Everlove, you can find every letter of Everlove within the design.

“Ariana and I opened Everlove to create a space where people can come together and heal, whether people know it or not, movement is such an important part of healing and community is the greatest healer. Over the past two years, the energy has become stagnant and if we all just move a bit the heaviness can be lifted.” says Dan.

You can find Everlove Healing + Yoga at 136 St. Paul Street in Collingwood Downtown. To learn more about the wide range of movement and healing options visit their website www.tryeverlove.com/ and you can follow them on instagram @everlovecollingwood

Fig & Feta

      

If you’ve been walking around Collingwood Downtown lately, you’ll certainly notice that our historic downtown offers a wide and diverse range of dining options to choose from and one of our favourites is Fig & Feta Greek Market & Eatery.

Fig & Feta is owned and operated by Bessie and Richard Lewis who are both hands on in the daily operation of this family business.  The restaurant started off four years ago in a smaller location on Hurontario Street with just 10 seats.  “When our kids were in high school, their friends would ride their bikes to our small little café to grab some take-out for lunch.  It would warm my heart that they were spending their lunch money on good healthy food instead of fast food.” remembers Bessie. Now in their current location at 65 Hurontario Street, they can accommodate 90 patrons inside with space for an additional 50 people on their patio.

Bessie, whose parents Kathy (Katina) and Tom (Athanasious) Markou are first generation immigrants from Greece, has basically grown up in the restaurant business along with her siblings, George, Jim and Gina.  Now the tradition continues on as her own kids, Sammy, Katina and Thomas have been known to roll up their sleeves and lend a helping hand at this busy dining destination.

Bessie who absolutely loves cooking, learned everything she knows from her mother, grandmother and aunts. “If you’re born into a Greek family, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  It’s the heart of every Greek household and that’s where we gather to celebrate pretty much everything.  Greeks don’t eat to live…we live to eat.” says Bessie with a smile.  “I’ve taken our traditional family recipes and added my own modern, healthy twist.  We want you to come into our restaurant and feel like you’re dining with family in a warm and inviting environment whether you’re dining solo or with your family or a group of friends for a celebration.”

Before opening up Fig & Feta, Bessie worked part time as a server in a number of local establishments which gave her an opportunity to keep working while she and Richard were raising their children.  “It was great, it gave me the opportunity to get out of the house, make some money, gain skill sets working in different types of restaurants…everything from the hustle and bustle of a busy breakfast place to finer dining and most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to connect with people.  I love offering great customer service and I always took ownership of my section as if it were my own restaurant, even when I was working for other people.  I took tremendous pride in making sure that every customer was taken care of to the best of my ability.”

Today Fig & Feta employs a team of 25 people lead by Richard and Bessie.  “The number one thing about leading a team is that you have to treat your staff with the same respect that you would like to receive and also demonstrate by example with an excellent work ethic.  That in turn translates to dedicated staff that will serve your customers properly and be loyal to you.  If you treat your staff properly, they will stay with you.  I also love working with my husband Richard, he’s the best business partner anyone could ask for.” adds Bessie.

The Marketplace at Fig & Feta has recently expanded as that part of the business has grown significantly over the past two years, due to customer demand.  Everything available is either made in-house or imported from Greece including a fine selection of Greek wine available by the glass or to take home by the bottle. “The vision for the Marketplace is all Richard.  His many years of retail merchandising experience definitely came into play when we were putting this all together.” notes Bessie.

Also well known for their catering, Fig & Feta can pretty much accommodate any size of gathering from a small intimate gathering to a huge backyard bash.

Fun fact:  Bessie’s favourite menu items are the Beet and Feta Salad topped with Chicken Gyros, Lamb Souvlaki or the Moussaka.

Greek lesson: Inside the dining room at Fig & Feta there are two blackboards offering a lesson in basic Greek phrases.  Something fun and educational to do while you’re enjoying some delicious appetizers.

You can find Fig & Feta at 65 Hurontario Street, in Collingwood Downtown.  Visit their website to check out their menus on-line. www.figandfeta.ca/ or follow them on Instagram at www.instagram.com/fig_feta_collingwood/?hl=en

Yamas! (Cheers!)

The Paint Bar

     

Welcome to The Paint Bar, a bright spacious studio space for kids and adults to explore their creativity in Collingwood Downtown. The Paint Bar offers: paint your own pottery, party packages, kid’s night out, classes with glass fusion, canvas painting, clay workshops, summer camps for kids and more!

Victoria Cook, the owner has been operating The Paint Bar for the past 4 years and with the recent expansion into their new location, they’re now able to offer expanded programming in their 2,000 square foot studio with a private party room that can accommodate 16 – 20 people.  “Our private party room is perfect for birthday parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, any kind of party really.  It’s a great space for getting together with friends and family of all ages in a creative way.” says Victoria.  When you book the private party room guests are welcome to bring their own refreshments or The Paint Bar can take care of that for you.  Keeping it in the family, their main pizza supplier is Dominos Pizza which is owned and operated by Victoria’s mom Sarah.  If you’re a bit of a foodie, Victoria can arrange for a charcuterie board from Dags & Willow, one of her favourite shops in Collingwood Downtown.

Fun fact:  With their new studio space, The Paint Bar now has an in-house café offering a lovely selection of hot and cold beverages including specialty coffees and snacks.

Walk-ins are welcome and you can also reserve your space in advance on-line or by phone.  If you’re looking to paint some pottery, you can select from over 100 different pieces.  Everything from piggy banks to jewellery boxes, mugs or dishes, seasonal gift items and so much more.  Recent supply chain issues pushed Victoria to start creating her own pieces right in the studio to make sure that they had enough product on the shelves.  “I have a goal to have 25% of the pieces we offer for painting made right here in the studio.” notes Victoria.

If you’re feeling crafty or maybe want to try your hand at a creative technique that’s new to you, Victoria and her team are here to help you through the process step by step.  For more information about the products and services offered by The Paint Bar located at 191 Hurontario Street, upper level, visit their website thepaintbar.ca/.  You can follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/thepaintbarcollingwood/ or Instagram www.instagram.com/the_paintbar/

The Hive

   

The Hive is a lifestyle retail store in Collingwood Downtown inspired by Georgian Bay.  Step into this lovely cottage boutique and you’ll find a wonderful selection of home décor, apothecary, jewellery, apparel, sunglasses and so much more.

As we step into spring, you may be looking to refresh your favourite room or a cozy nook and The Hive is the perfect place to find the accent piece that suits your lifestyle. Claire Russell, General Manager and Morgan Ballard, Retail Associate are two lovely ladies ready to assist you with great guidance and fresh ideas that are right on trend.

“Our most popular item is our in-house apparel designed and made right here in Canada.” notes Claire Russell, General Manager of The Hive. “We want people to know that there is great shopping right here on Pine Street in Collingwood Downtown.  With our neighbours, Bent Taco and The Pine Eco + Refillery just steps away, Pine Street is a wonderful retail and dining destination unto itself.”

Simply put, The Hive is a collection of people who are inspired by Georgian Bay and want to share that passion with you.  The Hive was founded by Lauren Patchett in November of 2018 with their first location in Honey Harbour. The Collingwood location is open year round from Wednesday – Friday 11AM – 5PM, Saturday 10AM – 6PM and Sunday 11AM – 4PM.

Gorgeous linen throw pillows, a new outfit or accessory or a book all about breakfast, these are just some of the things you can find at The Hive in Collingwood Downtown.

You can shop in person or on-line thehivehoneyharbour.com/.  The Hive offers free shipping on orders over $125.  Follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/The-Hive-505269913317525 or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/shop_thehive/

Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts

   

The Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts is a creative hub that has been bringing the arts community together for over 47 years in Collingwood Downtown.  With over 200 artists and artisans making up the membership, they’ve just relocated to their new location at 65 Simcoe Street.

Foundation Manager, Susan Cook who has been at the helm for the past 13 years says her passion and creativity comes from putting together events and interacting with the arts community.  “We’re absolutely delighted with our new space, which is significantly larger than the space we had before.  We’re able to showcase more of our members’ artwork, and we’re also a resource hub for local artists and artisans. We’re have enough space to be able to have a table allowing us to gather and collaborate with each other.” says Susan. “Our mission is to inspire excellence in visual arts through educational and creative opportunities.”

“Low Down Bar provided us with amazing support during our move. We have developed a great working relationship with one another. Simcoe Street businesses as a whole are supportive of one another and we are looking forward to future collaborations.”

Erin Coholan, a recent graduate of Ryerson for Image Arts, has just joined the foundation in the role of Creative Coordinator and her focus will be on program development, coordinating the shop by working with the membership to change up the artwork based on programming shifts and seasonal changes.  Erin will also be stepping up the foundation’s social media presence.

The Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts hosts annual juried art shows which now have a youth component as well as a digital arts category. “It’s important for us to represent artists regardless of their age or where they are in their artistic journey and it’s also important that we adapt to the needs of artists as they embrace changing technology.” notes Susan.

Did you know? You don’t need to be an artist to join the foundation.  Individual annual memberships are only $50 and family memberships are $75 per year.

New this summer, the foundation will host a new Arts Market in Tremont Square every Saturday from 10AM – 3PM from June 2nd through to August 27th.  You can look forward to art demonstrations, guest artists, local art and artisan vendors and live music which will tie in very nicely as a downtown Collingwood attraction along with the Saturday morning Farmers’ market.

The Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts is a great place to source out art from emerging artists.  For more information about the BMFA, their programming and annual awards please visit their website at www.bmfa.on.ca/.  You can follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/bmfafoundationarts or Instagram at www.instagram.com/bmfafoundationarts/@bmfafoundationarts

Hello Pottery

Aysia Garbe opened Hello Pottery in November 2020 with a vision to provide a space where people can learn how to create with raw clay.  The studio offers a bright an airy space where people can try their hand at something new.

Aysia offers clay classes for both adults and children.  “When you enroll in one of our 6-week classes, which are focused on hand building and wheelwork, you’ll end up with 15 – 30 pieces of pottery that are both microwave and dishwasher safe.” advises Asyia. “I’m so stoked to be able to offer classes on a regular and consistent basis.”

Hello Pottery also offers one-time guided workshops where you can test the waters and see if this is the right creative outlet you’ve been looking for.  They will guide you through a lesson focused on making one to two quality items and you can try making anything from a mug, to a vase, or even a handheld watering can.

Aysia learned how to create with clay from local artisan, Jill Usher and while she was attending the University of Guelph for marketing she taught clay classes at the Guelph Community Pottery Centre.

Interesting fact: Clay is the oldest known ceramic material. Prehistoric humans discovered the useful properties of clay and used it for making pottery. Some of the earliest pottery shards have been dated to around 14,000 BC, and clay tablets were the first known writing medium.

There’s also a lovely retail side to Hello Pottery where Aysia carries a curated selection of house and gift wares created by female entrepreneurs.

“The support I’ve felt from the Collingwood Downtown business community has been incredible, especially the Business Improvement Area, which has been really helpful in helping launch and create awareness for my business.” reflects Aysia. “If you’re going to open a new business, especially as the past couple of years have taught us, you’ve got to be prepared for every possible scenario.  Obviously you can’t predict everything that will happen, but it’s a really good idea to have a Plan B for the best possible outcomes and also for the worst.”

If you’re feeling like trying something new and creative, would like to try your hand at a potter’s wheel or hand building with clay, check out some of the classes currently being offered say hello to pottery www.hellopotteryco.com/.  You can also find them on facebook at www.facebook.com/hellopotteryco/ or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/hellopotteryco/

Aysia, a bit of a serial entrepreneur, also owns a full service digital creative agency, Mayka Marketing + Creative Co. https://www.maykamarketingandcreativeco.com/ and has amassed quite an impressive client list.  They work alongside their clients in Collingwood, Barrie, the GTA, and Guelph to create exceptional branding, e-commerce, and social media strategies that captivate customers and spark sales. May-ka significant impression with a marketing initiative that’s totally tailored to you.

Pine Eco + Refillery Boutique

                

Mother-daughter team Paige and Kendall moved to Collingwood embarking on a journey to live more sustainably and they had a dream of opening a store together that would make it easy for anyone to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and get back to the basics.  They opened the doors to Pine Eco + Refillery Boutique in May of 2020 and carry a variety of sustainable home and body goods alongside a curated selection of refillable products that are made in Canada.

“We believe in living naturally. And we’ve worked hard to craft a space where sustainability and elegance coexist. We are constantly evolving and continue to research and learn more about synthetic and natural ingredients so we can offer the best quality, all-natural products from companies run by mindful individuals who care about what they create and the impact their products have.” says Paige. “This means less packaging, less chemicals, less waste, and less stress. Everything in Pine can be refilled, reused or recycled back into nature at the end of its life.”

“Sustainable means not only less waste and refilling, it’s also about supporting Canadian small businesses.” adds Kendall. “We’re currently working with Bishop Botanicals on a new lotion that will be available soon.  It’s fun to work with another mother-daughter team and it’s important to us to support other small businesses in Downtown Collingwood.  We love being able to refer shoppers to other stores like Haven or The Hive, or if someone is looking for a bite to eat, we usually send them on over to Sol Kitchen or Gibsons. We feel that a lot of local small business owners here go out of their way to send customers our way and we enjoy returning the favour.”

Pine Eco + Refillery boutique also offers a lovely selection of low impact lifestyle items that are sustainably sourced alternatives to plastic and single-use products. They’ve just brought in a beautiful selection of houseplants and research has shown that having houseplants offers many benefits including:  Improving your mood, lowering stress and anxiety, boosting healing, improved air quality and easing respiratory ailments.

Sustainability tip:  This mother-daughter team certainly does their research and shares their knowledge through their very informative Pine Journal shoppineboutique.com/blogs/the-pine-journal.

Spring is the season to refresh, renew and clean house. A visit to Pine Eco + Refillery Boutique we get you well on your way to living a more sustainable lifestyle. You can find Pine Eco + Refillery Boutique at 38 Pine Street in Downtown Collingwood for in-store shopping and you can also shop on-line shoppineboutique.com/.  Follow them on facebook www.facebook.com/shoppineboutique or Instagram www.instagram.com/shoppineboutique/ @shoppineboutique.

Nicky’s Doughnuts & Ice Cream

              

How Sweet it is!

From the moment Sam Holwell and Caesar Guinto opened the doors to Nicky’s Doughnuts & Ice Cream at 10AM on January 15, 2021, they’ve enjoyed a steady stream of customers eager to get their hands on some decadent sweets that just might be too good to share.

Sam and Caesar both have a long history in the food and beverage industry and found their careers and futures hanging in the balance of uncertainty when the dining scene was put into a tailspin two years ago. It was time for them to get moving on a plan that would enable them to get their feet back on solid ground.

The concept for Nicky’s started with a logo and pretty soon it was clear that there was no turning back for Sam and Caesar. From start to finish, the business model, planning process, commercial lease negotiations and commercial kitchen build took 10 months.  Caesar was given the nickname ‘Nicky’ (from his middle name ‘Dominic’) as a child, which is when his love of doughnuts began so the business name came very naturally.

How early do you have to wake up when you own a donut shop?  They start their day at 2AM and the doughnuts creation process takes about 6 hours from start to finish.  They produce between 200 – 400 doughnuts per day, depending on which day of the week it is and each donut is a hand decorated work of art.

“We’re basically having our dinner when everyone else is having lunch so dining out in the evening isn’t really an option for us right now.  We really appreciate being able to get something to go from either Baked & Picked or Later Pizza.” notes Caesar.

In addition to doughnuts, they also churn French style custard based ice cream using Sheldon Creek Dairy products and create flavor profiles that will put your taste buds over the top.  Vegan options are always available at Nicky’s and once in a while, they offer American style ice cream just for something different.

Best advice for someone starting a new business? “It’s really important to know and understand your target market and understand the ebb and flow of customers, especially when tourism is a driving factor because you have to plan for the shoulder season.  You also really need to understand your cost of goods sold.  It’s not just the cost of ingredients that you have to consider when you’re pricing your products, you’ve got to include every little detail even the paper that we use to line the pans and the cost of packaging.” advises Sam.  “We feel grateful for the amazing community support we’ve received.”

Fun fact:  In addition to 38 years of food and beverage industry experience, Caesar is also an accomplished musician, was a tenor in a choir in Ireland and can play the drums, piano and trumpet.

Nicky’s Doughnuts & Ice Cream is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10AM – 5PM and you can find them at 10 Third Street in Collingwood Downtown.

Hot tip:  Follow this Pop & Pop doughnut shop on facebook at  www.facebook.com/Nickys-Doughnuts-Ice-Cream-101767681905044 or Instagram at www.instagram.com/nickysdoughnutsandicecream/ because as a sweet surprise and delight  that’s where they announce new flavours of donuts and ice cream as well as when on-line ordering is available at www.nickysdoughnutsandicecream.com/

Blue Mountain Tea Company

                         

Seven years ago, during a ski trip out west, Katherine Maxwell and her step-daughter ventured into a tea shop in Banff where the two both found the perfect assortment of teas and herbs to satisfy their divergent needs. That night Katherine, with no entrepreneurial background, and fully enmeshed in a corporate career, woke with a start and began working on a business plan to create a similar experience back home in Collingwood.

The doors opened in December of 2015 in Collingwood Downtown in their original location and expanded to their new home in November 2020. Now in their 7th year of business, Blue Mountain Tea Company is a loose leaf tea emporium inspired by the desire to bring joy and wellness to the community, one cup at a time. They carry a wide variety of organics, herbals, single estate, fermented and blended teas to soothe, heal and inspire you as well as a lovely selection of tea ware.  You can also find Collingwood Kombucha on tap at the Blue Mountain Tea Company and if you’re out and about in Collingwood Downtown you can find Blue Mountain Tea available on pour at Gibson & Co. and Summit Social House.

“When you come in the door, our goal is to help you get exactly what you need to get through your day. We want people to feel better.  Our staff is very knowledgeable and love helping people learn about tea and herbs.” says Katherine.

Katherine is very much looking forward to getting back into the community and planning face to face events.  She offers “Tea Talks” which are a specific dive into the health and wellness benefits of tea and can range from 1 – 3 hours in length.  She’s also focusing on her website, working to replicate the custom experience you have in the store, online.  They are close to launching a “tea oracle” quiz that will help you narrow down the options to meet your specific desires.

Fun facts:  Most people assume that white, green, oolong, black and puerh teas come from different varieties of  a plant (in the way wine comes from different grapes) , but in reality, they all stem from the same plant, camellia sinensis, and it is how the leaf is processed that determines what it becomes . After water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world.

Katherine, who grew up in Ottawa, moved to Collingwood 17 years ago, after falling in love with the four season lifestyle, experiencing it through the eyes of her partner whose family has been in the area since the 1800s. .  A huge fan of everything outdoors, she enjoys an hour of skiing  first thing every morning in the winter and during the warmer months is either out riding her horse, her mountain bike  or enjoying  all that Georgian Bay has to offer before she starts her workday.

If you find yourself in need of a bit of a pick me up, are feeling anxious or stressed or just want to discover more about tea, then a visit the Blue Mountain Tea Company is exactly what you need.

Visit the Blue Mountain Tea Company at 167 Hurontario Street or on line at bluemountainteaco.com. They offer free shipping in Canada on orders over $65.  www.facebook.com/bluemountainteaco or Instagram www.instagram.com/bluemountainteaco/ @bluemountainteaco

Christie’s Clothing

         

Christie’s Clothing is all stocked up with fresh new fashions for Spring and Summer.

From its intriguing window displays to the comfortable surroundings of the store, Christie’s is focused on satisfying its customers. For more than 45 years, this Collingwood family business has provided a wide range of options to the discerning shopper seeking fine quality, interesting fashions offered at competitive prices.

On a stroll through Historic Downtown Collingwood, we noticed that the window displays at Christie’s had just been refreshed so we popped in to find out what was new.

Michael Christie and his sister Dana denBok who own and operate the business were busy receiving, unpacking and merchandising new spring and summer fashions.  “We’re getting new stock in every day now and we expect to be busy leading up to prom season. Essentially, we offer classic apparel for men, women and children and we specialize in custom suits at all price points.” notes Dana.

“Over the past two years, supply chain issues have lead to stock shortages so it’s a good idea to start planning a bit in advance this year for graduation or summer weddings for the best selection, but it only takes us a few days turn-around time for suit alterations.” advises Michael.

One of our favourite things about shopping at Christie’s is the exceptional customer service.  Dana, Michael and his wife Sandra go above and beyond.  This is especially helpful when you’re shopping for a gift.  You know you want something special, but are just not quite sure what and their complimentary gift wrapping ties everything up with a nice neat bow.

Fun fact:  The first thing Michael had to learn when he started working for his father Ed twenty-eight years ago was to sew.

Christie’s Clothing is conveniently located in the heart of Collingwood’s historic downtown district, just steps away from Clerkson’s Home Store www.clerksons.com/  where Sandra likes to shop and after a busy day Sandra and Michael like to enjoy a nibble and a few sips at Prime Seven Nine prime7nine.ca/

Ed Christie opened the store in 1976 with an approach to fashion retailing that continues today. Carefully selected, high quality menswear and women’s fashions fill the racks and shelves. The array is diverse, catering to the multi-faceted lifestyle of our community.

Find Christie’s Clothing www.christiesclothing.com/ at 91 Hurontario Street and you can follow them on facebook www.facebook.com/ChristiesClothing.  Open Monday to Saturday from 11AM – 4PM.  For private appointments outside of store hours call (705) 445-2761, text (705) 351-2761 or e-mail [email protected]

Sõl Kitchen

                         

Sõl Kitchen, a vibrant and bright café in Collingwood Downtown is a beehive of activity these days.  As soon as you step inside you’re greeted by wonderful customer service, the beautiful noise of cheerful, lively conversations and wonderful aromas.

Now in its eighth year of operation, the vision behind the restaurant was to be able to provide a vibrant space for people to come together and enjoy delicious food and drink. Sõl Kitchen certainly delivers.

Owner/chef Silann Kaduc and her team have been hard at work over the past two years. “Now that we’re fully licensed we’ve had some fun developing an interesting wine list and offer consignment wines that you can’t find at the liquor store, available by the glass or to take home by the bottle.  We’ve also expanded the retail market considerably, which is something we always wanted to do from the beginning.” says Silann.

The Market offers at least 16 different types of soup, frozen entrees including lasagna, pesto salmon, chicken stew, beef stew, vegetable curry, chili and a variety of pastas. You can also find frozen chocolate hazelnut twists, croissants (even vegan ones) and gluten free, vegan muffin batters.  Everything is made from scratch.  Highly recommended is the Venus Chicken: hormone and antibiotic free chicken breast, stuffed with spinach, artichoke hearts, Asiago and Parmesan cheeses, fresh herbs and garlic, egg washed and dredged in Panko bread crumbs.  It’s an outstanding entrée especially when paired with their roasted red pepper sauce.  Don’t forget the garlic cheese baguette!

“With the latest menu update, some of our long standing menu items have been refreshed, giving them a voice to what Sõl is.  We value fresh ingredients with clean vibrant flavours.  Our menu is always evolving.” notes Silann who has over 25 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, “and we’re very excited about our new Sõl Bõls.  We have three different ones on the menu right now and we like to play around with the flavours.  We’ll typically run a new one as a special before it takes a permanent place on the menu.”

Fun fact:  When Sõl Kitchen first opened, the original dishes were hand made by Silann in her backyard pottery and glass studio.

We asked Silann if she has any good advice for someone looking to get into business as a first time entrepreneur and she offers “Be confident in your vision and true to your own values because you’ll get lots of advice and it can be easy to get off track if you don’t have a good solid vision of your own to start with. Also, it’s very important to be part of your community and in tune with the people on your team because they’re going to be the ones that will be your support system when things can get tough.”

When Silann does take time off she enjoys taking walks on the Georgian Trail with her best pal Otcho, a rescue dog from Mexico and she also loves the independent and diverse dining scene that Collingwood Downtown has to offer with Low Down Cocktail Bar a personal favourite.

The next time you’re thinking of dining out, check out Sõl Kitchen at 19 Hurontario Street.  They’re open from Wednesday through Saturday, 11AM – 5PM.  Find a cozy seat, admire the original works of art by Kaz Jones and Andrea Rinaldo, both well known local artists, and enjoy a delicious meal. You can visit their website at solkitchencollingwood.ca/ to check out their menus and follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/solkitchencollingwood or Instagram www.instagram.com/solkitchencollingwood/

Collingwood Art School & Alexander Art Supplies

                         

Local artist Jason Alexander has created quite the hub of artistic energy in his studio and art supply space located at 77 Simcoe Street in Collingwood Downtown.  One side of the building is home to his art studio where he teaches, and the other side, his shop where you can find a vast selection of merchandise.  Known for stocking high quality Canadian made canvasses at very competitive prices, Jason offers art supplies suitable for every level of artistic talent whether you’re just starting out or have been a seasoned artist for decades.

Born and raised in downtown Toronto, Jason studied at the Ontario College of Art as well as abroad in Florence, Italy for four years and he can even make his own paint.  When he was a seasonal resident to the area, he had an art studio in Toronto as well as a studio at the family cottage on Georgian Bay before moving to Collingwood full time. “One of the first things I did when I moved here full time was to join the BMFA, Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts in 1991.  I participated in their art tour that year and have been doing so ever since.  They are an amazing group of talented and enthusiastic artists and artisans with wonderful creative energy.” notes Jason.

 “Being situated on Creative Simcoe Street has its advantages for sure, I love that after teaching a class, we can all head on over to Low Down Cocktail Bar or Prime Seven Nine just a few steps away and enjoy some drinks and snacks together”. “Downtown Collingwood has so many unique and interesting businesses.” As the father of a toddler Jason enjoys a trip to Minds Alive www.mindsalive.ca/ every once in a while and his favourite place to grab a coffee is Mad Dogs Vinyl Café www.facebook.com/maddogsvinylcafe/.

Over the past two years, Jason has had to tap into his own creative resources and has gone so far as to deliver art supplies to customers in their cars in the dead of winter.  Naturally, he’s thrilled to be able to offer classes once again in his studio.  His classes run on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1PM – 4PM, Thursday evenings and alternating Saturdays and include all the supplies you need.  Classes are offered to budding artists from 14 years up. “My oldest student was 95” he notes with a chuckle.

“If you’re going to run your own business, you need to have a dream, be patient, work smart and be prepared to put in long hours” advises Jason, and we’re looking forward to the opening of his next venture, The Annex Gallery.  The gallery will be located in the same space and he’ll be busy shuffling things around over the next few weeks.  Follow Jason on Instagram www.instagram.com/xanderpaintings/ or facebook www.facebook.com/jason.alexander.31924792 to stay tuned in with his progress.  Visit www.alexanderartmaterials.com/ for more information about art supplies and classes.

 

Crave The Chocolatier

                        

Leading up to Valentine’s Day a visit to Crave the Chocolatier in Collingwood Downtown is a must!  Sheri Gabriele, the Chocolatier, is now in her 17th year of business with this unique shop where she hand crafts the most delicious bites of chocolate heaven using the finest Belgian chocolate.

‘Crave was definitely influenced by my husband John, who always wanted to own a candy store and has the heart of a child at times’ notes Sheri. ‘In the early days, staffing issues led to me running the store and I never went back from there’.

Sheri loves having a retail store in the heart of such a gorgeous and historic downtown that offers a wonderful array of unique shopping experiences with independent merchants you just can’t find anywhere else. As a small business owner herself, Sheri makes a point of shopping locally whenever possible.  A favourite spot for lunch, 98 Super Panda, is just a few steps away from her shop.

The last couple of years have definitely been challenging while she’s had to navigate all of the shut-downs, keeping her staff and her customers safe and supply chain issues.  ‘I’m extremely grateful for the community support we’ve received at Crave, it’s been really incredible.  We’re very thankful that we’ve been able to keep the lights on and our sanity in check.’

Sheri really enjoys the fun challenge of creating something new for her customers to sink their teeth into and her favourite bon bons are the Strawberry/Banana Truffles and the Orange Truffles.

You can find Crave the Chocolatier at 62 Hurontario Street, and you can follow Sheri on www.facebook.com/CraveTheChocolatier

If you’d like to send someone a really decadent gift basket or flowers and add in some chocolates from Crave, you can order it on-line through her neighbours at Collingwood Flowers & Home Décor. https://collingwoodflowers.com

The Curly Willow Eatery

                   

With over 65 combined years in the restaurant business, Linda and Mike Sloat serve up delicious lunch and dinner options from their cozy eatery in Collingwood Downtown.

The couple originally moved to Collingwood following a career opportunity, but soon after arriving decided to once again, launch out on their own, and they opened a small café at the back of a retail store on Hurontario Street.  Their reputation for delicious meals, reasonable price points and excellent customer service grew quickly and soon had them in search of a larger location to meet customer demand.  Today you can find The Curly Willow at 141 Pine St. in Collingwood Downtown with 30 seats indoors and an additional 30 seats on their lovely back patio.

For out of town guests, the couple offers The Willow Suite Collingwood Retreat, a two bedroom suite in the newly renovated upstairs apartment that can be booked through airbnb. www.airbnb.ca/rooms/50831188/

“Running a restaurant over the past two years has certainly presented challenges and we’re so thankful for our incredible staff, loyal customers and local suppliers like Andrew’s Copy Centre.  For anyone thinking of starting their own business it’s really important to consider an industry where you’ve had hands on experience with something that you’ll really enjoy.” Says Chef Linda.

Having dined at The Curly Willow many times, we can definitely recommend the Lobster Grilled Cheese, Shrimp Risotto, Mushroom Ravioli and the Filet Mignon.  You can check out their current menu here thecurlywilloweatery.com/, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thecurlywillowcollingwood or Instagram at www.instagram.com/thecurlywilloweatery/ @curlywilloweatery.

The Curly Willow is open from Tuesday through to Friday for lunch and dinner and on Saturdays for private functions like birthday parties or celebrations of life.  Reservations are highly recommended.

Tesoro

                               

If you ask any local “where’s a great place to eat in Collingwood?”, Tesoro restaurant in Collingwood Downtown is always mentioned as folks list off their favourite places to dine.  Owned and operated by Joelle & Winston Rogers, this charming restaurant offers a traditional Italian menu with a wide range of appetizers, entrées and basic Italian specialties including gourmet thin crust pizza. The food is delicious, the service is impeccable and on the walls of the restaurant you’ll find many beautiful original works of art by local artist Andrew Peycha.

Joelle and Winston moved to Collingwood when their two children were small, primarily to provide them with a healthier environment to thrive than what was offered in the big city.  The family lives on an 11 acre hobby farm with fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, fainting goats, and a Silky Rooster named Pedro. Joelle also has an apiary where she produces her own honey for their additional business, The Batteaux Creek Honey Co.  They decided to open a restaurant because it was a natural fit with Joelle’s experience in the food and beverage industry and her interest in how food fits in with a healthy living lifestyle.

The restaurant, which is inside what used to be an old schoolhouse, has now been in business for 20 years and for 16 years Chef Tony Vanderwal has been Joelle’s right hand man.  “We’ve offered our signature Chicken Supreme, Spaghetti & Sicilian Meatballs and many other favourite dishes since day one, and when we add a new menu item or feature, we consider feedback, suggestions and requests from our loyal customers.  Chef Tony is pretty incredible and comes up with some amazing dishes like our Cioppino Hot Pot. He really does his research.  Flavour profiles and presentation are extremely important to him.  He’s a chef and he creates his artwork with food instead of paint.” says Joelle.

How have they survived the past two years with all of the restrictions, supply chain issues and staff shortages? Take-out was already in place and their food travels extremely well.  Also, they had already established Tesoro Mercato right next door, which is a fantastic European market and deli. The Mercato started when customers asked if they could buy the pasta sauce & meatballs because they couldn’t get a reservation or wanted to have items for a later date.  Joelle put a freezer and a few shelves in place in Avalanche, their little gelato parlor next to the restaurant, and the Mercato was born.  Joelle soon took over the space next door and today the Mercato offers over 100 house made products, including fresh pasta made daily, frozen entrees, pastas, soups, desserts, hot and cold deli sandwiches as well as a wide selection of specialty foods and giftware.  If you’re vegan or gluten free, this is a great place to find some really yummy things.

Joelle and Winston are incredibly thankful for their loyal customers and the very supportive community that is Collingwood.  When they do go out for a bite, they particularly like to support other small businesses like the Espresso Post and The Tremont.

We asked Joelle if she had any words of advice for someone thinking of starting up their own business and she said “Do your homework, expect to be married to your business, be dedicated and get ready to roll up your sleeves because it is work hard.”

Today, the restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday 4:30PM – 10PM for dine-in and take-out and the Mercato is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10AM – 6PM.

Visit their websitetesororestaurant.ca/ for more information and to check out their menus.

Follow them on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/TesoroCollingwood/ or www.facebook.com/TesoroMercato and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/tesoro_restaurant/ or www.instagram.com/tesoromercato/

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