By Mai-Liis Renaud
I don’t know about you but as the Pandemic week number 18 comes to a close, it is certainly great that as a community (and province) we have worked hard to come together to flatten the curve and be able to have almost all businesses re-open during stage 3. Of course we still have to be very careful because despite the fact that “we may have become tired, Covid-19 certainly hasn’t” (as we see just across the border from us).
So as we cautiously re-open we must still observe all the protocols from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, mask wearing in indoor spaces, social distancing and hand washing and sanitizing.
Bearing all this in mind, I decided to venture out (with mask in hand) and do another “Out and About with Seeker Chick Mai-Liis” today, Friday, July 17th. I have to admit though that I have been very cautious and have not ventured out to many stores at all during the last few months as not knowing where this virus is lurking has made me (and I’m sure many others) quite nervous and it is awful that we have to treat everyone like they could be contagious!
My first stop was Serendipity Boutique (located at 331 Second St W, Cornwall), a place that I have certainly missed. I couldn’t believe it when Debbie Fortier told me that they had been opened for 5 weeks already. 5 people are allowed in the store at a time, wearing masks as is mandatory and social distancing must be respected as shown on the stickers on the floor. French Dressing Jeans facemasks are currently being sold at Serendipity for $10 each and this money is going directly to help the expansion of the Boutique which in turn funds Maison Baldwin House. I purchased one so will be seeing for myself how breathable and light they are. Store hours are Tuesday to Friday: 9 to 2 and Saturday from 9 to 1. Please check out their Facebook Page for updated items in the boutique.
Next stop was to visit artist Jane Macmillan who is the first to rent one of the two containers down by Cornwall Square. This is a wonderful project that certainly brings colour from all the artwork that adorns these spaces that can be rented by artists, artisans, small businesses and non-profit organizations for just $20 a day during the week and $25 on weekends. The afternoon was beautiful and art lovers stopped by to see Jane’s wonderful paintings. Her work can also be seen at www.janemacmillan.com
Jane will be there again tomorrow (Saturday) and her neighbour will be The Local Fill (1515 Pitt St, Cornwall – www.thelocalfill.com) so be sure to stop by to visit with Julie. For information about the “Pop-Up shop containers please visit www.cornwall.ca
While I was on First Street I visited with Roger and Lee from The Spicy Pearl who were having a break outside. Their business opened before the pandemic but has certainly pivoted due to it to the point that they were outside taking orders and delivering orders to cars pulling up for curbside pick up. Even though restaurants are able to open to have guests inside, they are not ready for that stage yet (but soon I’m sure) however they are excited for Ribfest which this year has been joined by many local restaurants who will be donating partial sales to the Optimist Club of Cornwall to help raise funds to help youth.
Please visit cornwallribfest.com for info on how this event has adapted to include the following restaurants: Schnitzels European Flavours, The Spicy Pearl, 800, Simply Jennifer, King George Restaurant, The Birchwood Cafe, Shoeless Joe’s, The Glengarrian, Cora’s Cornwall and more. Each restaurant will be donating a percent of their sales to help The Optimist Club.
From July 20th to the 26th, visit these restaurants and each order receives a ballot for a chance to win cash. The winner will be announced on July 26th. Then on July 24th and 25th visit the Ribbers: Texas Rangers, Crabby’s BBQ Shack and Ribs Royale at Lamoureux Park as well as the Virtual Vendors Show.
The Spicy Pearl (9 First St E, Cornwall – www.thespicypearl.ca) will be serving 3 kinds of ribs: Honey Garlic, Jerk and Spicy Pearl BBQ and will be donating 100% of the sale of these ribs to The Optimist Club as well as 10% from any of their Grill Items. As a lover of ribs I think I know where I will be heading next week!
Then I spotted a sign that I had so been waiting for. Right at The Happy Popcorn Co. (5 First St E, Cornwall – thehappypopcornco.com), stating that the store is now open for Walk-ins – 2 people at a time. They still have online ordering and curbside pickup but I am happier to walk in and smell the smells of popcorn popping so I was literally like a “kid in a candy store” as I chose my supply of these wonderful treats, thanks to Bill, Kristin and their little helper of the day, Delilah.
It is wonderful to see so many patios open on Pitt Street (with restaurants able to start opening their doors as of today) and businesses which have re-opened of course with the many new rules and regulations that this “New Normal has bestowed on everyone.
One of these businesses is The Kingslea (145 Pitt Street – www.thekingslea.com) and I was happy to finally be able to stop in at to visit with owner, Tony Lacroix. The store is just beautiful and I found the perfect summer dress but unfortunately it looked much better on the mannequin than it did on me. lol! The store has men’s and women’s clothing and accessories and on-site alterations services. Tony also makes face coverings (masks) and has many different designs – please check then out on his website. As many people know when seeing him at special events, Tony is a very dapper and creative dresser and this creativity led him down a new path, designing custom clothing – two of his beautiful gowns were seen this past February at the Chamber of Commerce Awards night.
It felt good to see so many familiar faces on the street and I continued on back towards Fourth Street where I visited 2 other Stores. The recently re-opened Agape Centre New For You Thrift Store (40 Fifth St W, Cornwall – agapecentre.ca) to see how they had pivoted with the new regulations. It is great to see that there is someone at the door to regulate the amount of customers and also to supply them with hand sanitizer when they enter and leave. Masks are mandatory and there are large directional arrows on the floors as well as a lot of rearranging to make wider spaces to walk in. I did notice that presently the change rooms are closed but they are working on opening these asap. All in all a pretty safe feeling shopping experience. Did you know that when you shop here your money goes towards helping the Food Bank?
Another very safe shopping experience was the Salvation Army Clothing & Furniture Store (401 Fourth St W, Cornwall – thriftstore.ca) where at the entrance I was greeted by Major Linda Groves and her hand sanitizer. There is a sign at the door stating what is expected of you and what you can expect from the store at this time of Covid-19 and again only so many people are allowed in the store at a time, wearing masks which is of course mandatory now. I was handed a sanitized pull-along shopping basket which I thought was weird as I didn’t really need a basket so of course I asked why everyone was asked to take one and the answer was quite logical. When all the shopping baskets available are gone they know that the maximum amount of people allowed are in the store and everyone else has to wait outside and enter as someone exits. Again it felt quite safe to shop here as the aisles are wide, things have been re-spaced and presently there is no furniture for sale in the store However I was told that furniture donations will be accepted again as of Monday, July 20th. Again when you make a purchase here your money goes to help the Salvation Army Food Bank.
After visiting so many places today I had one more place to go, on my way home. Thank you Karen and Andy at Rurban Brewing (412 Cumberland St, Cornwall) for helping me (and many others) through these times of uncertainty. A place that has also seen many changes in the way that they operate and now has a patio outside and allows only a certain amount of people in the building at once. For more info visit www.rurbanbrewing.com or better still come and check it out in person but remember to wear your mask when entering the building but I’m sure you will be allowed to take it off when you are drinking your beer though!!!
On my way home I met one of my neighbours, a very outgoing girl who told me that her anxiety levels are high at this point in time when she ventures out so I confided in her that mine are too and she said something that is really important. We are all experiencing strange times right now and everyone deals with things differently so we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves – we all adapt to this “New Normal” in our own time and in our own way. My favourite saying is “You do you and I’ll do me”. We will all get through this together!
Have yourselves a Wonderful Weekend and I’m sure you’ll see me “out and about” next week as I will also be selling for the August Seeker (with the Specialty Section called “Seaway Foodies” to celebrate all the re-openings of our fine eating and drinking establishments and anything food related. Oh and did I mention that we will be back in print!