COMMENT: Local shops are part of our small-town charm

Renee Saunders, owner of The Sweet Room Bakery Boutique on Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.

(ABOVE: Renee Saunders, owner of the recently-opened Sweet Room Bakery Boutique on Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.)

If Stittsville’s small-town feel is something that’s important to you, take some time this week to support the local merchants who help give our community its personality.

A lot of my conversations lately have been turning towards the role that locally-owned businesses play in shaping the character of Stittsville.

This month a new bakery opened on Stittsville Main Street. There was some concern that Gaia Java might shut down, but they’ve managed to stay open. (A new independent coffee shop called The Grounds will open next month next to the Food Basics on Hazeldean Road.

Stittsville is developing quickly but there are still a lot of empty storefronts, and it’s a tough time for small retailers. Last year in Kanata, two locally-owned shops shut down: Just Curious, a gift shop next to the Farm Boy on Hazeldean, and Act II, a consignment clothing store. They were in the plaza at Hazeldean and Castlefrank, where a fabric store and a party store both moved out in late 2014.

How many times have you heard someone say “I love Stittsville because of its small town feel”? I hear it a lot. What would a small town be without unique, local businesses?

How many times in the last month have you bought some meat at Ivan’s instead of the Costco? Had breakfast with your family at Main Street Cafe instead of a chain restaurant? Bought flowers at Pretty Pots instead of a chain store? Had coffee at Gaia Java or Quitters instead of a drive-thru?  Bought local beer at Covered Bridge?  Browsed the books and movies at Re-Read?

These are just some of the businesses that make Stittsville special. It might make take a few more minutes to run your errands at local shops than it does to pick up everything in a big box store, but taking your time and meeting your neighbours is part of small-town charm, isn’t it?



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