If shopping is your therapy, you are in for a wealth of feel-good opportunities in the area. New names on village and town streets blend with time-honoured favourites to provide a broad range of products, brands and services. Most stores are family-owned and operated, which means superb customer service rooted in a wealth of knowledge. Enjoy warm welcomes on relaxing and fun shopping excursions far removed from malls, chain stores and big-box outlets. Chart your course! Begin! Exhale! Say aah! READ MORE
Uptown Sweets’ (Exeter) shot-of-colour sign promises a unique candy experience. Coming from a candy-loving family was the inspiration for owner Lisa Johnson, who recently moved with her family to Exeter. Walls of packaged sweets and a bulk candy wall fulfill sweet tooth dreams of popular and nostalgic treats. Rent an 18-flavour cotton candy machine for fun parties. Allergy-free party bags are available on request.
The newest edition to Bayfield’s quaint downtown is Déjà Vu, which offers a curated mix of high-end consignment clothing, accessories and fine estate jewellery. Owner Micheline Notte remarks that “only one per cent of textile waste is actually recycled”, and with a love and appreciation for estate jewellery and the skills used to design and create fashion, it was an easy decision to establish a business that supports lowering our carbon footprint. Book a private appointment with a knowledgeable professional for an estate jewellery consultation or trade unused gold or silver for cash in a secure environment.
With its aim of elevating outdoor leisure experiences, Cottage Culture (Hensall) is the newest division of Iceculture. Inspiration for this venture came from the effects of Covid-19 on the Canadian lifestyle, with a newfound comfort in staying at home. Backyards and patios gained importance, and Iceculture realized their international partnerships offered a new opportunity. Source high-quality, stylish, unique-character Scandinavian-designed outdoor furniture, outdoor kitchens, Canadian-made fire pits, sofas, sectionals, dining tables and accessories. Delivery and on-site assembly are available.
The General Store (Grand Bend) features products from more than two dozen local entrepreneurs. Among them are Sunstone Souvenirs with ready-made and build-your-own energy talismans; Avianna Candles’ cruelty-free, 100% soy wax candles with essential oil elements; and chef-created products to spice up your cuisine from Wholesome Herbs & Spices. From jam, canned pickles, beans and relish, herbal tea, maple syrup, jewellery and artisan greeting cards, you are sure to find something to tempt.
Original, representative oil and acrylic paintings set the scene at Beanstalk Art Gallery & Studio (Hensall). Artist Robert Johnson’s realism giclée-on-paper, hand-signed prints feature buildings and places; they are offered at various sizes and prices. Robert’s favourite subjects are historical or visually interesting buildings (such as the Flatiron Gooderham Building in Toronto), wildlife, nature and animals. Art commissions are accepted. Future plans include lessons and paint nights in the gallery’s ample, airy space.
Merchant 6 Home Interiors + Kitchen Market (Exeter) arrives on-trend and will reinvigorate your nesting instincts. The Home Interiors side of things focuses on comfy items that make relaxing home spaces. Down-filled pillows, oversized sofas, cotton pouffes, jute rugs and pendant lighting - furniture and accessories au naturel. While Kitchen Market offers products to enjoy while cooking and dining, sharing space with 2GO fridge and freezer food items from smoothies, juice and ice cream to frozen meats.
Westland Greenhouses (Grand Bend) is a four-season delight. Year-round, find a great selection of unique merchandise for home and outdoors to gift yourself or others. Gardening enthusiasts are in plant heaven here with a vast selection. If DIY displays aren’t your thing, opt for ready-to-impress flowering window boxes, urns, containers and more. Check out workshops, and don’t forget to feed the bunnies.
Change up your décor and more at the new GreenBucks Seasonal Store on Lakeshore Road south of Grand Bend, the newest addition to the family-owned-and-operated, year-round GreenBucks Dollar Discount Store (Grand Bend). Owners Matt and Julie DeJong have a well-earned reputation for being the go-to store for seasonal décor. Going a step further, in 2021, they built a 4000 square foot building and filled it with Christmas-themed products from bedding and kitchenware to Christmas decorations. From March to August, products transition to spring and summer-themed décor, reverting to Christmas in October. Plenty to inspire and desire. Watch their Facebook page for announcements.
For more than 40 years, the Steckle family at Huron Ridge Greenhouses (Zurich) has grown the plants they sell. Using local plants accustomed to native soils and conditions can improve the amateur gardeners’ success rate. In spring, the greenhouses burst with colourful plants to enhance indoor and outdoor spaces. Thumb not so green? A yearly membership offers seasonal, four-times-a-year outdoor planters professionally designed and filled. Or watch helpful, timely how-to videos on their Facebook page. Cap off the year at the indoor Poinsettia Festival, a spectacular display of Christmas lights and candlelight that has delighted visitors for more than two decades.
Make a statement with local, well-built, quality items from The Iron Barn (Grand Bend). Enhance and enchant in summer with garden art like sunflowers or dragonflies and enjoy evenings with a custom-designed fire pit. Steel pumpkins, fir trees and pine cones set a seasonal scene. Indoor art, signage and custom designs personalize your spaces.
Create the backyard of your dreams, using design help and products from Lakewood Garden Centre & Landscaping (St. Joseph) or let their experts plan and finish the project for you. In spring and summer, the Garden Store offers garden-themed clothing and accessories, garden décor and supplies. In the fall, this space transforms into a Christmas shop filled with beautiful trees and lights, mischievous elves and jolly Santas. Join a holiday workshop or book a private one with friends or family to celebrate the Christmas season.
Long a favourite for people in the know, Sea Jewels Trading Company (Grand Bend & Bayfield) brings items from faraway places to our doorstep. Owner Jim McCoy and his store managers travel to Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand and Bali to personally select the products. Over the years, Jim and his team have built long-standing personal relationships with small, independent suppliers. This ensures an always-updated selection of jewellery, unique décor, fashion-forward casual clothing and accessories at affordable prices.
Sunset Arts Gallery (Grand Bend) is an artists’ co-operative venture that has been on the Grand Bend scene for some time. Artistic expression is continuous, and well-known local artists’ newest paintings, photographs and mixed media creations frequently refresh the gallery’s walls and shelves. Add new local artists to that mix, and you have the ingredients for a gallery that is a treasure to visit often to discover what’s new and that speaks to you!
Canadian First Nations indigenous products are featured at Thunderbird Crafts & Trading Post (Kettle & Stony Point). Customers are captivated by the vast selection of genuine, handmade and designed products. Elegant Oscardo mugs in matching boxes feature the artwork of well-known artists, including Maxine Noel and Daphne Odjig. Moccasins, fashions, accessories, jewellery, greeting cards, art prints, blankets, holistic personal care products, and more showcase indigenous design and expression. Beaders will find an incredible array of unique supplies for their projects. Great place to shop for any occasion.