At this time of year our thoughts often turn to the people who encircle us and also to how we can offer a hand to those who find themselves in need. So, in anticipation of our Sip & Shop event tomorrow, Saturday, December 1st, we thought it might be enjoyable to introduce you to some of our neighbours on Main Street in Newmarket, Ontario. We are, as you may know, in the Historic Conservation District of Newmarket, where, for example, across the street from us Robert Simpson had his first store and from which he went on to build the Robert Simpson Company Ltd., a household name in Canada for many, many years. We hope that you enjoy meeting some of our neighbours. You might even choose to drop by and say hello to one or more of them on Saturday, too.
What is truly inspiring about the first neighbours, Cathy and Kim of “Still in Style Resale Boutique,” is that their shop is the drop off point for Newmarket for the fourth annual “Fill a Purse for a Sister” campaign.
What is truly inspiring about the first neighbours we’d like to introduce you to, Cathy and Kim of “Still in Style Resale Boutique,” is that their shop is the drop off point for Newmarket for the fourth annual “Fill a Purse for a Sister” campaign organized by Angel Freedman, a Stouffville based social worker. Cathy and Kim are the co-owners of this upscale lady’s Consignment Shop, which offers many items that have never even been worn or have been worn perhaps only once or twice. Their shop is at 203 Main Street, just a few doors north from our Red Scarf Equestrian store. The Boutique has occupied this shop on Main Street for close to thirty years.
The goal for this year’s “Fill a Purse for a Sister” campaign is 10,000 new or slightly used purses that will be distributed to women who are in need. Backpacks were added to the list of donatable items because of the requests from shelters for youth and crisis centres. This of itself speaks volumes regarding the situation of some young women and girls in our community.
Some women live in shelters. Some women are homeless. Some are young women and teens. “There are people who are hurting,” says Cathy. When we look at lives lived in the midst of plenty, it is not always easy to imagine that life is not that way for a great number of people. It is not always easy to connect the dots between the two sets of circumstances, the two realities. But connecting these dots is a necessary task if kindness and caring are to find those who need it. There is a great amount of need in our community. Indeed, there is a great deal of need across this country, and the program has expanded from its York Region origins to reach regions right across it.
But the women who receive the purses receive more than a new or slightly used purse itself. The purses are also filled with items which are special, small gifts for these women who are hurting, and who so often have given without thinking about themselves. Items such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo, feminine products are donated. But also gifts such as hats, gloves, even jewelry can be found inside some purses. Everything is welcome, except for food. The purse and its donated contents thus become a physical connection between “sisters”. One sister looking out to make the reality of the other a little bit better.
The title of the “Fill a Purse for a Sister” program is drawn from a quotation from Susan B. Anthony, a woman’s rights activist in the 19th century who said: “Every woman should have a purse of her own.” Ms. Freedman underlines the link between a purse and a woman’s sense of dignity. It is not difficult to imagine the impact being without a purse would have on a woman’s self-conception, on her conception of who she is.
“Still in Style” will still be accepting donations tomorrow, Saturday, December 1st, 2018, the last day of the campaign. [Source for some of the information herein about the “Fill a Purse for a Sister” campaign is Debora Kelly’s November 22, 2018 article in Newmarket Today “Purses for shelters campaign nearing 10,000 goal”: https://www.newmarkettoday.ca/local-news/fill-a-purse-campaign-nearing-10000-goal-1131282]
Next door, we have Pamela and Debbie, co-owners of “The Maid’s Cottage” a home-cooked meal restaurant that was started by their mother and has resided on Main Street since 1998. They are perhaps most famous for their award-winning Butter Tarts. They have placed first in the “Ontario’s Best Butter Tart” Festivals held in 2016 and 2017 in Midland. And, as Pamela hopefully says, they will once again do so next year. Another special feature is that here, when tea is served, it is done so properly, in fine china, in the English tradition.
Across the street, we want to introduce you to Ness, the proprietor of “Soup-Pa.” As I walked in the door he greeted me with a large smile and invited me to sit down with him. The Soup-Pa makes 70 different soups from scratch. No MSG is used. Low sodium. Ninety-five percent are made without cream. Vegan options are available. I asked him if he was familiar with Jerry Seinfeld's “Soup Nazi” on the “Seinfeld” TV sitcom from the 1990’s. He said he was. He smiled widely and without missing a beat, said in imitation of the Soup Nazi, “No soup for you!”
On the other side of us you will find Knappett Jewellers. The store was founded on Main Street in 1971 by Paul Knappett, who started there as a young man, and subsequently branched to jewelry in general. His motto has been all along that taking the time to get to know your customer leads to knowing them well, and from this, friendships inevitably grow.
We find, too, perhaps best of all, the kindness and caring that the proprietors exhibit in ... also reaching out to those who need a helping hand.
Walking along Main Street, or any street for that matter, we tend to look at the signs that greet us, the lights, the merchandise in the display windows. It is rewarding, however, to take a moment to look past the storefronts and meet the people who are the proprietors of these small establishments. In doing so, we find not only their craftsmanship, but also evidence of their happiness in serving others. We find, too, perhaps best of all, the kindness and caring that they exhibit in looking after not only their customers and neighbours, but also reaching out to those who need a helping hand.
The “Sip & Shop” Details
Come and meet your neighbours on Historical Main Street, Newmarket this weekend... The door to the Red Scarf Equestrian Lifestyle store located at 221 Main Street South, Newmarket, will be open to you for a special gathering to “Sip & Shop” on Saturday, December the 1st, 2018, beginning at 11 am. It will be a chance to relax and enjoy catching up with an old friend and/or making new ones.