General stores with one-of-a-kind, handmade goods are popping up all ‘round Canada
The hyper-curated lifestyle store is all the rage right now. They’re one-stop shops where you can grab everything from an outfit to ceramics and furniture. Here are 5 mercantile stores in Canada that you have to check out.
Litchfield is a minimalist temple for the urban adventurer. The shop’s rotating selection of artisanal living goods includes kitchenwares, apothecary, and indie magazines curated by the shop owner, Jonathan Litchfield. His mandate? To bring beauty back into the everyday through well-crafted products. You’ll find a lot of Japanese flair here: from traditional crackle teacups, to (badass) Higonokami folding knives and Midori brass pencil cases.
Gastown’s industrial charm meets Portland’s sensibility at Old Faithful, a shop with a cabin-like feel that’s stacked with heirloom pieces, including Edison light bulbs and wool throws. The inspiration behind Old Faithful comes from old-timey general stores (co-founder Walter Manning comes from a long line of general store owners). The family legacy shines through in Manning’s aesthetic: quaint and practical, with a touch of nostalgia. Perfect for the Pinterest crowd.
Located in a crisp-white space in Toronto’s Brockton Village, Souvenir Studios is both a lifestyle boutique and event space for emerging artists. Co-owner and creative director Danielle Suppa favours local Ontario designers, like lingerie brand Mary Young, Cadette jewellery, and ceramics makers The Otter Potter. Stepping into Souvenir Studios instantly transports you to a world of clean lines, pops of colour, and carefully executed design.
Workshop & Co. is the rugged and edgy middle child of Kenneth McRobbie and Colin Blanchard, the East Coast interior design duo behind luxury furniture store 31 Westgate, and coastal lifestyle shop Seaside. In contrast to the polish of 31 Westgate and nautical undertones of Seaside, Workshop & Co. houses an array of statement home furnishings that have real character: antique and vintage items like spindle sticks, German tripod tables, and champagne riddling racks.
Every brand housed within Clark Street and Mercantile is heavily scrutinized: they work with craftsmen with generations of experience, everything else is bosh. There are flannel shirts from Portuguese Flannel (owned and run by two brothers that come from a family of fabric manufacturers in Portugal) and rainwear from Elka, a Danish company that dates back to 1950s. The point is, Clark Street maintains a standard of quality that’s so far removed from the epoch of fast fashion.