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and I just took a rest," she said. She gave up the hardware store and for those years she was off discovered she really missed the gift business.
Kim Stewart, owner of the gift store, has been in retail since she was a teenager and immediately fell in love with merchandising and the interaction with people. She and her husband were dealers for Home Hardware in Cornwall and Ingleside and her duties involved the gift section, which she loved.
"I really wanted to stay versatile with the name," she said.
Although she has no big plans to make any major changes at the store in the next little while, Stewart said there are changes for the plaza in the works through South Stormont's Community Improvement Plan.
Stokefire is open from Tuesday through Sunday, except for the months of January and February when Stewart closes the store for a little break.
Stewart said her passion is merchandising and things often didn't remain in one place for long.
Stewart loves the gift business
Stewart said the store was not her ideal location for a gift shop because of the square footage of the store Saucony Mirage 4
The store really does have something for every occasion. Stewart has it sectioned off into areas and you can find anything from jewellery to baby gifts, from gourmet foods to home decor. Stewart said she tries to source from local talents whenever she can.
She got the name of her store from a request for names on the internet. However, it wasn't one of the names suggested.
"It was papered up for two years and in my opinion, it brought the plaza down," she said. "It just looked sad. Here I was at 35 sitting at home maybe feeling sorry for myself and I thought, I really love the gift business."
"I took two years off, Saucony Kinvara 3
Stewart lives just a few minutes from the plaza and knew the history of the end unit. It had previously been a grocery store, a hairdresser and restaurant. But eventually, the unit became empty for a number of years.
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Walking into Stokefire in the Long Sault Plaza you immediately get the feeling no matter what the occasion you will find just the right gift.
a big push at Christmas," said Stewart who added she loves the season and, if she thought it would be profitable, would Reebok Crossfit Nano 5.0 open a Christmas themed store. "When Christmas is done, we close on New Year's Eve and then reopen on March 1. We need a break. The staff needs a break and I think the consumers need a break, too."
Stewart said it's her experience sales tend to be weak during those two months.
"I got names like the Little Hummingbird, The Pink Rose. Nice feminine names. But the name Stokefire was the name of someone who submitted a suggestion. I said, I love that. It doesn't mean anything," she said. Stewart said from a business standpoint the name didn't define her or her store. If a gift shop didn't work out, it could be the name of a shoe store, or clothing store or almost anything.
"But heck, I'm a good shopper and I can fill that store ten times over," she joked. "In an ideal world, this gift shop should be 2,000 square feet. This shop is 4,200. But if you have the space, you are going to fill it."
"I own the place so there are no restrictions," she said. "The displays can be as out there as I want to go. I love the creative part." Stewart even went so far as to say she loved the renovation process.
"What I really love about it is I get to be a part of everyone's happy occasion," said Stewart. "They come in because it's a wedding, a birthday, birth of a baby, a baptism or christening, I get to help them select a gift and wrap it up pretty and send them out the door. They feel good and I feel good."
"At best you could be in a break even situation."
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