Small town. Big shopping.

Being a first time blogger I was a little apprehensive when I was told our organization would be starting a blog.  What would I write about that would interest people?  That’s when I decided I would pick a topic people on the North Island could relate to: shopping locally and what small businesses here on the North Island have to offer.   This topic goes hand in hand with Community Futures since we provide a Small Business Lending Program and have helped develop a number of small businesses on the North Island.

When I moved here four years ago I was amazed at the variety of shops for such a rural area.  You can pretty much find everything you are looking for with a few small exceptions.  Below I have provided just a few examples of my favorite local shops:

The Shed Outdoor Store

The Shed carries everything you need for your favorite outdoor hobbies such as biking, skiing, snowboarding, camping, etc. If you’re not into wilderness activities there are also plenty of apparel items to choose from for everyday use. I really like the high quality brands they carry in their store such as Burton, North Face, and Oakley. They also carry the ever popular Bob strollers. So there is definitely something for everyone in this store!

The Clothes Inn

Another store in our small community with a great selection of clothes for everyone in the family. The first time I checked out the clothes Inn I couldn’t believe the selection.  The selection is huge and very high quality and the sales people are very helpful and definitely know their products. The Clothes Inn has store fronts in both Port McNeill and Port Hardy and the staff is great at checking both stores for whatever item you’re looking for. You can keep up to date with The Clothes Inn on Facebook by searching “Clothes Inn Port McNeill”.

East of Java

A great store to check out for gifts.  East of Java sells everything from gourmet coffee, chocolates, ornaments, bath products to children’s and adults apparel. That’s just naming a few of the great items they carry. I especially like the selection of baby and toddler products from Melissa and Doug and Hatley.  There is definitely a treasure for everyone in this  little gift shop.  Find East of Java on Facebook.

Cove Apparel

The Cove is another example of excellent local shopping. Located in the heart of downtown Port Hardy the Cove offers quality brand name clothing for all different styles and budgets. The layout of the store is really neat, especially the fitting rooms which have been recycled from old steel cauldrons. Be sure to make a point to go in and see what this store has to offer. For more check out “Cove Apparel” on Facebook.

These are just a few examples of the great shopping opportunities to be had in the North Island. There really is a store with whatever you are looking for, from furniture, sporting goods, electronics, clothing to housewares. I think what I especially like is the small town friendliness when you shop locally. You get excellent customer service and a great attitude. So, in a nutshell, never underestimate a small town and the shopping experience it has to offer.

Danielle Gaudreault