For those of us born and raised in a city, making the move to a small town is a big decision — one that’s usually coupled with some trepidation about what life in one of Southwestern Ontario’s small towns is actually like. And while nothing may top the convenience of living in a city, there’s something to be said about discovering the remarkable local businesses you’ll find in a more rural setting. From one-of-a-kind mom and pop shops to specialty stores and everything in between, small towns have every daily convenience you need. Here are some of the best local businesses near our Imagine community in Niagara Falls.
Niagara Food Specialties
6 minutes from Empire Imagine
For fresh cuts of meat, Niagara Food Specialties is the place to go. Local artisan producers of traditional Italian salumi, Niagara Food Specialties was started in 1975 by Mario Pingue and quickly built a reputation for quality cuts that include hand-crafted prosciutto crude, capocollo, lonza, guanciale, pancetta, fresh sausage and more. The shop prides itself on its product, which are all locally sourced from farms in southern Ontario, and its natural gaining process, using only sea salt to preserve the meat before leaving it to air dry.
12 minutes from Empire Imagine
From plumbing and landscape tools to hammers and screwdrivers and everything in between, Bickles Hardware is your one-stop shop for all your hardware needs. A community staple, Bickles was established in 1919 by Harry Bickle, and the shop has had a hand in the development of major Niagara projects, including the Welland Canal and Garden City Skyway. Its unique storefront is immediately recognizable, with construction workers sitting side-by-side representing the shop’s “working shoulder to shoulder” motto.
13 minutes from Empire Imagine
It doesn’t get more homegrown that Dobbie’s Florist. Now celebrating 131 years in business, Dobbie’s is a fourth-generation run flower shop (and the oldest original family-owned florist in Canada) that’s committed to creating beautiful arrangements perfect for any occasion. The shop has flowers of all kinds, from daisies and roses to snapdragons and kalanchoes. Today, the shop is run by founder John Dobbie’s great-grandson, Bruce, who has supplied the flowers for many high-profile celebrities, including Princess Diana when she, William and Harry came to visit Niagara Falls in 1991.
15 minutes from Empire Imagine
Want to satisfy your sweet tooth? Be sure to visit Moodie’s Bakery. Owner Suwanna Upper is a master baker, patisserie and chocolatier who opened her doors in 2008 and has had customers flocking in by the (baker’s) dozen ever since. Moodie’s Bakery serves up fresh breads, specialty cakes, cupcakes, meat pies — and friendly service of course — daily.
The Post Office by Shannon Passero
15 minutes from Empire Imagine
In an era of big-box stores, a specialty clothing boutique is a refreshing change. The Post Office by Shannon Passero is a true shopping destination, offering a mix of ethically-made clothing, accessories, home furnishings, gifts, decor and more. Stop in to shop and meet Passero and her team, who pride themselves on travelling the world to uncover one-of-a-kind, artisan-made products to feature in-shop.
Kame & Kettle Beer Works
20 minutes from Empire Imagine
Want to discover a brewery with hometown pride? Kame & Kettle is the place for you. Their website proudly touts that they’re “The community’s brewery, and we strive to represent well, with pride.” It’s this motto that makes Kame & Kettle a local hot spot for craft local beers, with over 100 different beers on tap, as well as Crowlers and tallboys. Friends Todd Barber and Dave Beifuss cracked Kame & Kettle’s doors open in 2015 (if it’s your first time here, the entrance is at the back of the building), and are proud to conduct their commerce locally.
Explore our area map to see more of the great businesses, restaurants, services and more near our Imagine community in Niagara.
Images courtesy of Vincenzo’s (Niagara Food Specialties); Flexovit USA via Twitter (Bickles); Omid Rezaeian via Google Images (Dobbie’s); Niagara Centre Board of Trade & Commerce (The Post Office); Trip Advisor (Kame & Kettle).