Today is Valentine's Day and would like to take the chance to write about an appreciation of a different kind of love, a love for the local communities, more precisely, boutiques that have created them, which support local talents. My relocation back home to Vancouver has not always been the smoothest, and without these wonderful stores and their owners and staff, it would be even more bumpy. Though am writing about only 3 here today, am very grateful of others too: Branches & Knots (W Broadway), Stock Home Design (W Broadway), Giving Gifts (Main Street), Banyen Books & Sounds (4th Ave), espace d. (Gastown), and Little Gypsy's Fine Jewelry Gifts & Gallery (Port Moody).
First up is Half Fool Cafe in Chinatown (18 East Pender Street, Vancouver). It’s a wonderful place with a great selection of drinks: coffee (they use locally roasted Modus Coffee beans), freshly made smoothies, and teas, caffeinated and not, alongside a sweet collection of edible and inedible goodies made by talented locals—baked goods, teas, chocolates, body & bath items, mason jar products, decorative plants and more. Of course, cards, prints, and artwork too!
I have always placed a lot of emphasis on en (Japanese for fate, chance, connection, destiny), I mean even titled one of my exhibitions, with the word. One day last month I decided to pop in and check out the cafe, as it has been over a year since I last stepped into the place. Was pleasantly surprised by the new look arrangements, and a new owner. We had a great chat, which turned into more later on. Am very blessed to have connected with him—he is as lovely if not more than the wonderful space he has created. More than just wanting to turn a profit, he really is determined to build a community of local talents and be a part of the community that his cafe is in by taking part in cultural celebrations such as Chinese New Year and by hosting an array of special events to shine a spotlight on hometown talents. *Update Jul 2019, Half Fool Cafe is now closed, and will be deeply missed*
Next up is the must stop by place in Port Moody, Willow & Wallflower in Port Moody (2606 St. Johns Street, Port Moody). The charming store is always changing with new and beautiful finds—the owner has a great eye for the perfect one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, locally made arts and crafts and much much more! Though I don't have a baby, their baby section is marvelous. I hardly leave the place empty handed or without inspirations. Like Half Fool, Willow & Wallflower is about hometown love and pride, so much so, that it has been the winner of Port Moody Golden Spike Award for Arts in Business 3 years in a row, from 2016 to 2018! The awards are handed out by the City of Port Moody to "recognize Port Moody businesses that impressed residents in a variety of ways, from their street appeal and great customer service to their business spirit and environmental leadership".
Lastly, is White Lotus Divine Healing (2607 St. Johns Street, Port Moody), right across the street from Willow & Wallflower. Every single time I open the door and step into the boutique, I feel a sense of peace and positive energy. The scent of the place is so calming and ever so subtle, which I tried to recreate myself and sadly did not work. The store is not home to just healing items, such as crystals, books, art, jewellery, herbs, and more, but it also hosts meditations, wellness sessions/workshops for the body, mind & soul, and even retreats. It's not just for "spiritual hippies", White Lotus is for anyone who likes or is looking for a little zen and goodness, which am all about. Get your dose of positivity recharged here!
Please do check the above places and thank you to them and to you for being so supportive of local talents and businesses! Because without them and without you, people like myself would be at a complete lost.