As Windsor’s small businesses struggle to rebound from COVID-19 closures and restrictions, the act of shopping local has never been more important.
With the holidays now approaching, many home-grown shops continue to show resilience, gearing up for an unconventional gift-giving season with products and services designed to make shopping locally easy and convenient.
2492 Dougall Ave., Windsor
Even after 20 years as a small business owner, Linda Innes wasn’t sure what the closures would mean for her store, Linda’s Fashions & Accessories. Thankfully, Innes was able to weather the storm by selling face masks from Frank Lyman, a Canadian fashion brand she features in her store.
“Within one hour of reaching out to my customers, I sold 137 masks,” she says—to date, she’s sold over 5,000.
Innes is grateful for the support she’s received since reopening her storefront. “Our customers were excited to return. It’s been such a positive during a negative time.”
As business resumed, Innes adjusted her seasonal fashion events to allow for safe social distancing. She hopes to continue hosting intimate in-store events throughout the holidays, helping women look and feel their best for their social bubble gatherings.
“I think it’s important to get dressed for the day,” says Innes. “It makes you feel good, no matter what you’re doing.”
St. Clair Beach Shopping Centre, 13444 Tecumseh Rd. E, Tecumseh
While “big box” stores were left waiting for head office to implement COVID-19 safety procedures, Three Lambs Baby Boutique owner Jeanine Jodoin was able to pivot quickly, offering online ordering and curbside pickup.
“Some of the things that are normally considered a downside to being a small business actually worked to our advantage,” recalls Jodoin. “I was able to connect with customers on social media and make fast decisions on how to proceed.”
Jodoin learned a lot from springtime challenges and began planning early for the holiday season.
In addition to quality clothing, baby gear, and nursery furniture, the store now carries a wider selection of toys for infant to age 10. With gift wrapping and registry pickup available, Three Lambs offers a local one-stop solution to holiday shopping.
“Before people click ‘add to cart’ online, I hope they take a minute to see if it’s something they can get locally instead.”
40 Amy Croft Dr., Tecumseh
As other businesses were left wondering how to move forward amid COVID-19 closures, the new co-owners of Estetica Day Spa were busy taking on an all-new venture.
After using the shutdown as an opportunity to completely renovate the space, Nicole Dell and Alison Depooter set their sights on adding to the spa’s retail section.
“We wanted to offer luxury brands that were unique to the area,” explains Dell. “We looked at Sugarfina and thought it would be a perfect fit.”
Sugarfina is an internationally renowned luxury candy boutique for grown-ups, specializing in gourmet sweets and perfectly packaged gifts including their signature bento boxes and world-famous champagne gummy bears.
The spa now carries a full line of Sugarfina products and will feature a wide selection of holiday gifts, both as standalone options and combined with their spa packages.
“It’s like instant gifting,” says Dell. “They have a gift box for every occasion.”
1404 Tecumseh Rd. E, Windsor
Specializing in pierogi and ready-to-heat meals, Little Foot Foods has grown a big following over the last seven years.
Although they initially shut down for the first month of COVID-19 closures, owners Rachel and Rob Myers continued to offer delivery of their existing stock through their partnership with The Mushroom Hub.
“If we had product for our customers, we still got it out to them,” explains Rob.
As they re-opened and ramped up production, the couple leaned on their retail partners and supported other businesses, utilizing local suppliers as much as possible. They also revamped their specials to give families more value.
“Our four for $35 offer now includes not just pierogi but cabbage rolls, stuffed peppers, and new items like our jalapeño poppers and mac and cheese,” says Rob.
Little Foot will be stocked up with all their best-selling pierogi for the holidays, including seasonal flavours like pumpkin pie and holiday stuffing.