Lovin’ Local Life in St. Clair West

There is something uniquely alluring about St. Clair West; there is an energy and excitement, as well as a sense of community connection. A major contributor to the overall charm of this coveted area are the neighbourhood shops, restaurants, bars and establishments that offer unique, warm and friendly service. It’s the kind of place where shopping local not only gives you choice, but makes you feel good and engaged as part of a vibrant community.

St. Clair West has several active BIAs that promote and support local businesses. They host neighbourhood events and work to beautify streetscapes and improve the overall experience for both patrons and business owners. For full listings of area businesses as well as some of their ongoing events and initiatives, check out the Hillcrest Village BIA, Wynchwood Heights BIA, Regal Heights Village BIA and Corso Italia BIA. 

Crucial Time for Local Businesses

The pandemic has hit small businesses hard. A recent study from Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) revealed that only 38 per cent of retail businesses are achieving normal sales;  one in seven is at risk of closing permanently . Hospitality businesses are in even more jeopardy, with one in four in risk of closing, with sales having dropped precipitously during the pandemic.

Even though our holiday shopping and dining experience are different this year, you can still help support local vendors to survive and thrive going forward, continuing to lend that crucial character to the neighbourhood.

Ways to Support Local

Now more than ever local vendors appreciate your support. There are many ways to participate.

  • Buy gift certificates. You can plan to use them yourself later on in the year when doors are wide open, or gift them during the holiday season. It’s a win-win and the local vendors benefit today!
  • Use social media. Share your favourite store or service outlet’s Facebook and Instagram Posts. Help spread the word.
  • Leave reviews. Want to help your favourite local business grow their customer base and be successful in the months to come? Leave glowing Google reviews. A kind word and confidence in a business goes a long way and carries a lot of weight.
  • Order Takeout. Maybe you can’t sip your coffee at your local shop, meet for brunch or have date night at your favourite neighbourhood bistro, but you certainly can have that experience at home. Order takeout or delivery often!
  • Shop Online Wherever you can, shop online or do curbside pickup. Even if a vendor doesn’t have an online shopping channel, they are often more than happy to do business over the phone and deliver goods or arrange for curbside pickup.

The Best of St. Clair West

Here is just a small sampling of what you’ll find in St. Clair West. For a more comprehensive listing, check out the various BIA noted above.

Tapas to go? Check out Mercado Negro. Crave comfort food? Order delivery from Seawitch Fish and Chips.  Experience the Mediterranean flavors of bistro Barista & Chef through takeout or delivery. There is nothing quite like a caffeinated pick me up on the go. Try Oakwood Espresso or Hunter Coffee. Emma’s Country Kitchen is self-described as “a little slice of breakfast heaven”. Takeout can be gourmet, when you order from The Rushton.

Playful Minds Toy Store has an incredible selection of unique, educational and super fun toys. Source Organics will build your beauty inside and out, with their natural health and beauty products. Did you ever think of your floor as your fifth wall? Make the most of it with a stylish rug from Harmony Rugs. All this time at home making you dread your home decor? Refresh your home with some new paint from Maple Paint. Visit Poppy Seed Creative Living Space for accents, chalk paint, furniture and more. Make your wardrobe fun and fabulous with a little help from ParPar or Mandala Design. Stock up on eco-friendly products at the Green Jar. In need of a new handbag? A visit to Anavi Designs is a must.

Get your fish fresh at De le Mer Fish Markets and you can even shop online. High quality ingredients improve your overall flavour, which is why you should visit the Olive Oil Emporium. We are pretty sure this is the year for indulgent gifts- or perhaps a treat for yourself. Check out chocolatier Chocolat De Kat. Who doesn’t love bread- or maybe some pastries for dessert? Stop by Tre Mari Italian Bakery.

During the holiday season, when retailers and hospitality businesses do the lion’s share of their business, it is important to consider those smaller businesses, whose survival hinges on continued patronage from their customers, even during lockdowns.