Port Credit Emporium – A Gem in the Making
The word emporium originates from the Greek word emporos meaning “merchant” but, it can also be used to describe a store that offers an array of specialty goods.
A few weeks ago, I was drawn to Port Credit Emporium when I was out for a walk along Port Street. Upon entering the store, I was greeted by a lovely lady who invited me to have a look around. The store was incredibly chic with its vignettes of houseware and jewelry – there was even a nook dedicated to a sample of one-of a-kind fashion pieces.
I then happened to look up to the open-concept second floor where my eyes were attracted to some vibrant, original artwork. So, now I was curious and asked the lady about the store’s design; there appeared to be an attention to detail for all things unique and hand-crafted. She explained that the store owner was her daughter, Karen Ferguson, and as small as this world continues to get – it turns out that Karen and I had crossed paths in the past through our children’s school.
A week later, I met with Karen so she could tell me about the vision for her new store. I asked her, first of all, why Port Credit for this kind of store? She explained that she had been planning this store for many years “in her head,” therefore when she was ready to finally open for real, she explored the possibility of several different locations but Port Credit was always her first choice. She elaborated, “I no longer live in Port Credit but it’s a place that calms my soul – I love being close to the water. Also, the people are wonderful here and I believe that Port Credit is a “diamond in the rough” so to speak because there is so much potential to develop a selection of retail and specialty stores that is different from the run-of-the-mill- ones.
I then asked Karen to tell me about her eclectic taste in merchandise and how she has successfully brought together her interests in fashion, art, jewelry and houseware. “I lived in Paris for a year and I have also spent time in the Bahamas, where I worked in a book-store. What more can be said about Paris – it is an incredible city. Every shop and boutique draws you in like a magnet. French women love fashion but they buy fewer pieces with the emphasis on quality, and for them, an outfit can be enhanced with the right accessories.
In the Bahamas, there is a huge focus on the arts and literature. The bookstore where I worked would often bring together writers and artists for an evening of culture.” Inspired by her travels, Karen felt it was her calling to create a place encompassing all these ideas into one store. She also has aspirations to evolve the shop as a community space for artists, artisans, book clubs etc. but for now, Karen says, “My focus at the store is the artwork and the merchandise; the rest of my vision will grow with time.”
(Karen Ferguson with her mother, Barbara)
Now, I suppose I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about some of the great items this store has to offer. The merchandise comes from a variety of local and international suppliers and artisans.
Jewelry includes handcrafted pieces by: Kurve Jewelry and Alskling Design – both Toronto jewelry artists. Alskling Design uses recycled items to make one-of-a-kind jewelry and they even re-work vintage or heirloom jewelry to create contemporary pieces. Another designer, A&C is out of Norway and offers both, manufactured and handmade jewelry. Ubaté Designs, out of Burlington, works with semi-precious stones and sterling silver. Karen has tremendous respect for these artisans because they are all passionate about their craft just like she is about her store that features them.
In the fashion nook, you will find a rolling rack with a limited number of items from Montreal designer, Concubine and Mississauga designer, J Trove. The pieces are funky and really different from what you might find elsewhere. There is also a great selection of scarves by Kemi, which are made from top quality blends of silk and wool, and to complement any outfit, stylish clutches created by a Norwegian designer, Zita Chic, are made in Paris. You can also find a variety of handbags made by Joanel of Montreal. Karen mentions that she chooses fashion pieces that are timeless and comfortable so they would appeal to women at any stage of their life. The shop even offers some items for men such as hats, gloves, watches and scarves.
Hand-crafted pottery, J Trove’s personalized cushions, La Rochere glassware, with their trademark Napoleon bees, hand towels, organic soaps by Soap Utopia made with an all-vegetable base and shea butter, laptop and i-pod cases made out of silicone by WAKA designs and imported coffee beans from the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica – all offer wonderful gift ideas this holiday season.
The art gallery at the shop features local artists and will be a rotating show. Karen mentioned that during her time abroad, she found that greater emphasis was placed on the arts and artists and she really wanted to bring that back home to Canada. She is pleased that Mississauga is doing a great job already by supporting art through the various galleries in Streetsville, Clarkson and Port Credit, Visual Arts Mississauga and The Mississauga Art’s Council to name a few. Currently at the store, you can view original art by artists including Diane Lynn Segger of Segger Studio ( www.seggerstudio.com ) , Leslie Buckle, a local Port Credit artist, Ivan Papazov-Vanche (www.vancheart.com) and Joan Butterfield.
And there you have it – just a sample of all the specialty items to be found under one roof at Port Credit Emporium. Throughout the year, Karen plans on hosting different community events, seminars, art classes, etc. so “Like” them on Facebook for more information.
This week-end’s event is: “Jewels on the Credit” – a pop-up jewelry show hosted by Arts on the Credit. (http://artsonthecredit.ca/jewels-on-the-credit). So, forget those busy shopping malls and make your way out to Port Credit for a unique and local shopping experience.
Port Credit Emporium is located at 42 Port Street E, Port Credit (905)-271-9679
Words and Photography by Ann Ivy Male
© 2012 Ann Ivy Male