The owner of The Little Red Spade (TLRS), Lorette Thomson, had selected unique events and workshops for her inviting and quaint gift shop in 2020. Then the COVID-19 pandemic reared up bringing everything to a standstill.
Lorette had plans for a Spring expansion — an outdoor nursery and had already partnered with a local grower to bring unique garden and flower bed plants to her shop. She was looking forward to displaying and selling yard and garden art from local artisans. Sadly, these plans had to be postponed, but be assured in 2021, this planned expansion will be up and running.
Lorette is not one to give up easily. Entering into her second year for The Little Red Spade, she is determined to bring some of her plans into play to sustain the shop. She held a rain barrel fundraiser to bring in some needed financial assistance to her business. The timing was perfect with the growing season around the corner — it was well received by the community.
Support from the community has helped Lorette get through some fragile times, as is the experience of many local Stittsville small businesses. She told Stittsville Central, “the locals in this community are very supportive. And their kind words of support have been absolutely golden. I feel like I am backed by my own personal cheering section”.
(Tyler Moore wooden bowls, handmade painted beach bags, wooden chevron drink coaster – just a few of the items currently for sale at The Little Red Spade on Stittsville’s Main Street.)
Lorette’s next venture is bringing the Canadian Made Outdoor Market to TLRS. It will be a smaller venue than originally planned, with people away on summer vacation, she says, “is perfect so we can easily adhere to social distancing and have all safety precautions in place, to keep all people safe, while we are coming out of the first wave of the pandemic”.
The Market will be opening on July 2nd and will be held on Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 9:00 pm and again on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. All products sold by the vendors are 100% Canadian made and most are local creations. There are vendors who are very interested, and although Lorette loosened the registration timeline, some are still holding off until the last minute in light of the current situation. If you want to display your artistic talent or food creations, visit here to register – it’s not too late.
She has teamed up with Vesey’s Seeds to do some further fundraising. Lorette would like to see a covered marketplace all year round, supported by generators, behind her shop. To bring her closer to this plan, she will be showcasing and selling Vesey’s high quality bulbs every second Saturday of the month at the Outdoor Market. She shared her image, “I can totally visualize carolers in the winter and people walking around with hot chocolate and mulled cider…perusing through the market. It may take 3 to 5 years to raise the roof, but I hope to see it through”.
The business has had to shift somewhat. Lorette worked hard to bring her products on-line through self-promotion and arranging appointment only order pick-ups. She had offered in-house craft workshops and cooking sessions, but these were halted. The void had to be filled — with some sessions becoming on-line using Zoom. With the pandemic, everyone it seems has taken up growing their own vegetables, so Lorette initiated the sale of custom-made raised key hole garden boxes that are self-watering and self-fertilizing.
Hand-crafted bat houses were recently introduced to the inventory and the shop has an unrivaled reputation for the vast selection of wool and knitting supplies, hand-crafted greeting cards, Fusion minerals paint and their other products, milk paint, rug hooking supplies, hand crafted soaps from Pink Soapworks, Equator coffee, Hummingbird chocolate, Tru Earth laundry detergent, along with an abundance of crafting supplies. And, of course, her service goes above and beyond. The shop carries a wide selection of locally made products from various artisans available for gift giving or something special for yourself.
Always the optimist, Lorette has seen a lot of good come out of this pandemic. “Families being forced to stay at home together – relationships are stronger and life seems to have prioritized as to what is really important. Spending time together creating memories. Supporting Local and Canadian. Which is what I have been promoting all along. So this makes me very happy.”
Lorette ended our conversation with, “I hope my first year in business will be the worst and can now coast into my retirement plan”. We certainly hope so as well.
If you are looking for quality and locally made unique gifts, drop in to the quaint Little Red Spade at 1563 Stittsville Main Street. Visit the shop’s website at https://thelittleredspade.com, follow The Little Red Spade on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/1563main or pick-up your phone and call Lorette at (613)435-1414.
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