As I walked into Pocket Change to check out their latest artisan wares, I was not surprised to hear an excited patron say to her shopping partner, “I love this store, I can’t believe I haven’t been here before!” And then proceeded to litter the counter with Christmas gifts for all her relatives and friends.
Pocket Change is a bit of a hidden gem. Located in downtown St Catharines at the other end of St Paul Street to where most of the newest stores are popping up, it has only been around for about five months. So you can be forgiven for not having visited yet. But, now you know, this is the perfect spot to pick out unique gifts for the holiday season.
This store and the concept behind it are beautiful. Owner and creator Melissa Parkins has done a wonderful job of curating the interior, beginning with exposing the original pressed tin ceiling and installing recycled timber interior fixtures, which were reclaimed from her renovation of the store.
From charming baby nursery decor to hand-crafted kitchenware and fashion accessories, there are thoughtful items here for all, making it easy to find gifts.
I am particularly partial to lovingly up-cycled furniture and there are some special finds here. I can just imagine the rustic chicken coop coffee tables storing cosy blankets, pillows and magazines for lazy days on the couch at the cottage.
While browsing, I met the lovely Annie from Annie’s Handcrafted Soap Co. dropping off her latest products (find her on Facebook). Her soaps are beautiful and, it is no wonder there is a sign saying ‘Not Edible’, as they smell delicious.
Annie talks passionately about making her soaps as natural as possible for her customers, and seems to have a talent for creating original scent combinations. She shows me one of her newest, liquorice and mint, which is surprisingly fresh and warming at the same time.
Knowing where my purchases are made, and the history behind them, makes my shopping experience even more special. And, as I walked around Pocket Change, I spotted small posters with stories of some of the artisans, how they came to create their wares, and how they give back to the community through their work.
Pocket Changes’ collection is approximately 50 percent fair trade products sourced from around the globe and 50 percent sourced from local artists and crafters. A percentage of proceeds from the store also goes to four local charities that support education, health and wellbeing in the community. So you can feel good about the products you pick-up and where the money is going.
I would definitely recommend a trip to Pocket Change. Pop in and say hi to Melissa and learn about the beautiful, ethically-made items you can discover right here in downtown St Catharines.
Location 393 St Paul St, St Catharines, ON L2R 3N1