Since beginning Frère du Nord in 2016, our vision has always been to incorporate a retail space into our factory and design studio, and after searching for three years we finally found the perfect space: 45 Prince Street, right in the heart of our hometown of Oshawa. A former pool hall, the building has more than enough room for our factory, but also features large beautiful windows facing the street, making it perfect for a storefront. It took a year of renovations, but on September 21st of 2019 we proudly opened our doors to the public for the first time.
We did not anticipate the amazing response we got for our Grand Opening. From before the doors officially opened until well after they closed, our new store was packed with friends, family, customers and supporters (who we also consider friends!), politicians, and intrigued community members and neighbours. I was especially happy to see all the kids who came along, and it was really lovely to see them like busy little bees in the arts and crafts area we set up for them— we will definitely be making a permanent spot for our little friends to enjoy when they visit with their grown-ups. I was also thrilled with the amount of people who expressed how much they liked our live edge fixtures and displays. Created by Barnboardstore Durham with wood sourced from Ontario, the fixtures really make the space feel more like a gallery than a retail store, which has been part of the vision since the beginning.
Of course, all the activity inside the store was only half the fun. Our friend Max and his staff from Lowlands Fire Food were stationed out front making their incredible pizzas all day, and it was clear that everyone thoroughly enjoyed their lunch. We also had a slate of excellent local musicians perform throughout the afternoon including Joel Stewart [Cove & the Current], Josh Kvasnak [The Doozies], Jake Stauffer [Weapons], and Matt Gunn- be sure to check out their pages and keep coming to events around Oshawa to support them! And, although I didn’t get to have any until the day was over, it was great seeing everyone enjoying the beer from Town Brewery. We were really happy to hear that some of you hadn’t tried it before and now have found your new favourite brewery!!
At the end of the day I was reminded of how thankful I am for all the intrepid customers who ventured down to our industrial space over the past three years - whether it was for fittings, to see where their clothes were made, or just to hang out, it really is their genuine interest and support that has continued to inspire us, and gave the confidence to move forward with our new space. So, thank you to all those who helped us get to this point— we can’t wait to see what the future holds for us, and we’re so glad to be taking this next step with you!