100 Mile Gifts: Shopping local Has Never Been Easier
Shopping locally is something we all believe in…in principle. But, let’s face it: we’re all bloody BUSY. You want to get something special or unique for Mother’s Day, or that perfect gift for your daughter’s piano teacher before her recital. But when? Parking in Uptown Waterloo with LRT construction is dreadful, and who would dare to go near the Farmer’s Market or St. Jacobs on a Saturday in the Spring? So much easier to grab something at Shoppers (you have to stop there anyway), or a bouquet of flowers by the check out at the grocery store. Why does buying local have to be so complicated?
Enter Susie and Carolyn: two sisters from Waterloo Region (busy moms themselves) and passionate entrepreneurs, who decided to make shopping local so entirely doable. 100 Mile Gifts lets you shop local from your desktop or phone, and peruse a variety of wares all made within 100 miles of Waterloo, Ontario. Below Carolyn (also a N2W contributor) explains how her new online store came to be:
“Every year, my mother in law attends the One of a Kind Show in Toronto, and in past has purchased some amazing gifts for me (lucky me!).
A few years ago, she gifted me with the most unique barrel slice cheese board. It’s as though the artisan had taken a giant knife and cut out a sliver of the curved portion of wine barrel – straps and all – and finished it. To this day, it is one of the most lovely pieces I own and I absolutely adore it for a few reasons: it is astoundingly different; it is ‘rustic’ and I love rustic!; it is clearly made with the passion of a skilled hand; and finally, but not ‘leastly’, it is made in Canada. I have since called upon it for so many uses…to serve food stuffs (of course), to arrange candles, to play cricket (just checking if you’re still with me) and even for photo ops.
Every time I look at this piece, I think of my mother in law with happiness (which I realize flies in the face of so many monster-in-law stories – not in my case!). I will never forget who gave me this special item (that’s my mother in law in case you are suffering from Monday brain fog). Perhaps you can recall gifts like this in your own life…thoughtful giving also means thoughtful receiving. Like I said, I cannot view my gift without thinking of a person I really like (say it with me, people, ‘it’s my mother in law’).
Which brings me to something very exciting I’d like to share with you…and it’s relevant to all of you Waterloo or near-to-Waterloo warriors! 100MileGifts.ca is a brand new, online gifting store that promotes high quality goods produced locally within a 100 miles radius of Waterloo Region.
That’s right…everything you see in our store was made with love and talent by some pretty ingenious makers in your own backyard. These makers are young mums, busy professionals, entrepreneurs…just like yourself. These are people who simply love to ‘make’ and care immensely about their end product. We are proud to be launching with 45 different artisans so far, and expect to grow quite nicely from there.
There’s Chris of Heartwell Customs from Waterloo who designs the most exquisite wooden utensils and kitchen knives. There is Louise Jessup of Kitchener who designs wonderful, vibrant typographic maps featuring all manner of cities, regions, countries. Ambrosia Pastry creates bean to bar chocolate for which you’d sacrifice your first born child. And let’s not forget the rapidly rising stars of the confection world, Hugo and Nate. Natalie McAdam of St. Clements is designing beautiful children’s ponchos, and Natasha Kibbe has produced the most stylish dog collars and leashes for pet owners. Trevor of Once Upon a Tree is producing stunning bread and cheese boards, and All Things Tea is the source of all things delectable with her jams and jellies (she’s also my partner and sister, Susie Broughton). Block 3 Brewery in St. Jacobs is making some pretty fine brew (NOT on our site, unfortunately), but also sells some divine beer soaps (these ARE on our site). We’re thinking of turning the above into a 100 Miles rap song for our region.
This list is just the beginning…and isn’t it is just perfect that these people live within stone’s throw of yourself? There are several spectacular reasons to shop locally. You support local economies. You encourage further innovation and creativity in your community. You become a thoughtful giver and, by that fact, create a thoughtful receiver.
It’s pretty good all around. 100 Miles around, actually.