We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use our site or clicking the "I understand" button, you agree to our use of cookies detailed in our cookie policy and our terms of use.


Search the Blog


Small businesses are the backbone of any community, but rely on our continued support to keep operations going. There are so many ways you can show love to your favourite local shops, and we’ve rounded up a few tips you can use right now. We also have a list of a few spots close to home we think you should check out.

Choose Local When You Can

Before you make an online purchase at a big-box retailer, think about whether or not you can pick up a similar item from a local business. Not only are you saving when it comes to shipping costs, but it’s a nice way to connect with the people in your community. When you choose to shop small, you’re supporting your neighbours and helping to build a thriving local economy.  

Tell Your Friends

Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about small businesses you love. If there’s a shop you particularly like, tell your friends and family about it. People are more likely to trust a positive review from someone they know, which can be an enormous help for small businesses who may be struggling to get new customers in the door. 

Share on Social Media

Another powerful tool for sharing the small business love is social media. You can help to boost your favourite shops by following them on social, liking and commenting on their posts and writing positive reviews on their pages. Take it one step further and post your own pictures on social media, tagging local businesses you frequently shop from. 

Go Straight To the Source

While it can be easy and convenient to purchase your items through third-party apps like Instacart or Uber Eats, those same applications charge the merchants who partner with them large fees. To bypass this, simply go straight to the source to pick up any items you need. You’ll be saving on any delivery fees and you’ll help to keep the doors of your local businesses open.

We’ve done the digging to bring you a roundup of a few local businesses you might want to explore in your community.


Brantford Bookworm

331 Brant Avenue

Get lost in the shelves of this local bookstore, where you can discover rare titles as well as your favourite best sellers. 

Sweet Bakery

403 Fairview Dr.

The next time you need sweet treats for your next get-together, you’ll want to check out Sweet Bakery, where everything is made fresh using whole ingredients. 

Coffee Culture

75 Dalhousie St

Enjoy your morning cup of coffee at this quaint European-inspired cafe and eatery, where each cup is freshly brewed from 100% fair trade beans. 


Haldimand County

Barin’s Kitchen

37 Main Street North

Enjoy the flavours of the Middle East at this charming restaurant, where you’ll find flame-grilled kebabs charred to perfection.

Cravings by Brittany 

12 Cayuga St. N.

For the most creative desserts made from scratch, Cravings by Brittany has you covered. Each week you’ll find a new selection of baked goods to choose from, that are made fresh every time. 

Unique Designs 

2003 Main St. N.

Flowers are an easy way to add a little colour to your space, and with endless varieties, you’ll never run out of ways to incorporate flowers into your home. 


Cafe O

901 Victoria St N

Ditch the big-name coffee shops for this local gem. Every cup is freshly brewed to ensure you get the perfect sip every time.

Kitchener Comic Book Warehouse 

3310 King St E 

Spend hours sifting through the shelves of the Kitchener Comic Book Warehouse, with two floors jam-packed with single-issue comics and graphic novels. 

Encore Records Limited

301 King St E #206

For all the music lovers out there, discover some old classics on vinyl or find a new favourite as you comb the aisles of Encore Records.


Dobbie’s Florist

5144 Victoria Ave

Add a little colour to your home by picking up some fresh-cut flowers. They’re always a beautiful addition to any room, and can help to liven up any space even during the coldest of months. 


Old Country Acres Niagara 

9327 Ridge Rd

With Old Country Acres, eating local has never been easier. Receive heirloom, non-GMO, zero-pesticide vegetables grown locally delivered right to your doorstep.

Evergreen Thrift Store 

5663 Ferry Street

Give your gently used items a second home, or shop around to find something unique for yourself. From clothing to old books and puzzles, explore the many hidden treasures available at the Evergreen Thrift Store. 

Toronto & GTA

Common People Shop

1594 Queen St. W.

For everything you didn’t know you needed, Common People Shop has got you covered. Discover unique trinkets that you won’t find anywhere else, like hand-poured candles and hand-woven dog collars.

The Green Jar 

1016 St Clair Ave. W.

Low-waste living has never been easier than with The Green Jar’s package-free approach. Stock up on household essentials, like laundry detergent and organic dish soap, all in recyclable and refillable containers. 



8 Pardee Ave.

In today’s day and age, it’s hard to find a bakery who mills their own flour on-site. At Brodflour, that is their quality standard, with only the freshest whole ingredients.  

If you’re on the hunt for even more local businesses you can support, explore our guides on the best eats, the best hot-spots, and the best mom-and-pop shops close to home.


Images courtesy of: Cravings by Brittany (Cravings by Brittany); BlogTO (Common People Shop); The Green Jar (The Green Jar). 


Get new home design and lifestyle stories delivered straight to your inbox and stay in the loop on all things Empire.

Let's Get Started

Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists

Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists

Please complete the form and we will be texting you shortly to:
Assist you with how to schedule a tour
Answer your questions
Find a quick move-in home