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Life's Little Pleasures at the Heart of Thriving Downtown

By Bob Peters
November 21, 2012

Cornwall Ontario - Chris Munro - Life's Little Pleasures - CornwallThere is a little shop in Downtown Cornwall that offers a great selection of jewellery, clothing and home decor items. According to some men, the store also deals in “wife brownie points”, a nod perhaps to the reception gifts from that store typically receive at home.

Life’s Little Pleasures has been a fixture on Pitt Street ever since it opened in 1985. The current owner is Chris Munro, who purchased the store in 1999.

Ms Munro was working in advertising when the original owner asked for help in putting together “Going out of business ads.

“I was a customer and therefore not a happy camper when I learned the store might be closing,” recalls Ms. Munro.

The store was eventually sold to another owner, and when that person decided to move on to other things, Ms. Munro pounced on the opportunity.

“I always loved the charm of the store and I felt that I needed to go for it…I needed to surround myself with nice things, good people and to bring to others a positive environment.”

Since that time Ms. Munro has become a popular leader on the street, always on the lookout to support fellow merchants and to attract new stores to the Heart of the City. She has paid a lot of attention to the needs of her customers, and the store’s offerings are much different than the original Victorian-inspired gift shop.

“Trade shows are key in sourcing out new and exciting products,” notes Ms. Munro. “I have a chance to speak directly to designers and manufacturers as well as network with other retailers from coast to coast. My 18 year old daughters input on product selection has also helped us tap into a different demographic.”

“I definitely see people wanting to de-clutter their minds as well as their home.”

Today Life’s Little Pleasures carries an eclectic selection of designer clothing & jewellery, accessories, bath & fragrance collections, home décor & accessories, and general giftware.

This includes the bath and fragrance collection from Crabtree & Evelyn, a company that has pioneered botanical formulations for over 40 years, long before the natural and wellness movement became popular.

Life's Little Pleasures also carries Ground Soap, an award winning line of hand-made soaps that are crafted out of organic ingredients by Cornwall entrepreneur of the year, Angela Youngs.

For shoppers looking for a little 'bling', Ms. Munro suggests Myka Designs Jewellery collections, designed by Maja & Michael Bremer in Vancouver. Myka jewellery is coveted for its striking design and meticulous workmanship. Each piece of jewellery is handmade and enhanced with Swarovski crystals & beads as well as semi-precious stones.

Life’s Little Pleasures also carries clothing designs for women of all ages that demand comfort, quality and easy sophistication...with a preference for natural fibers (linen,bamboo & organic cottons).

“We are enjoying a loyal and enthusiastic following with clothing that is timeless, versatile & practical,” says Ms. Munro.

Life’s Little Pleasures is one of many local stores that is seeing the advantages of a revitalized downtown Cornwall.  Ms. Munro has taken advantage of facade improvement programs and continues to be a positive ambassador for the City.

“Cornwall still has that small town feel where merchants build solid relationships with customers,” says Ms. Munro. “Yet there are opportunities here and the current mix of restaurants, cafes and shops will encourage further growth. There was once a time when people wondered if something different could fly here. Today people are craving a slice of what big cities offer... I say bring it!”

The surge in community pride and new businesses locating in the downtown core has resulted in growing sales at Life’s Little Pleasures. Yet Ms. Munro is not resting on her laurels. She continues to bring in new products and is using social media to connect with her customers.

“I believe in the power of social media and have certainly seen positive results from it. Our customers are kept informed of new product arrivals as well as information on events throughout the city. At the same time, they provide instant feedback to me on what they like and what they’re looking for.”

Still, the heart of Life’s Little Pleasures is Chris Munro, and she can always be found in the store, where every item on the shelf has some connection to her. It creates a unique energy in the store that is very positive.

“The bottom line is that I have to connect with what I carry on some level,” says Ms. Munro. “I want guests to feel welcome here and know that I appreciate the fact that they’re visiting. If it’s a positive experience, they’ll be back!”

You can reach Life’s Little Pleasures online at lifeslittlepleasures.ca and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lifes-Little-Pleasures/221327146504

Life’s Little Pleasures is located at 108 Pitt Street in Downtown Cornwall. The store is open 7 days a week during the Christmas shopping season. You can reach the store at 613 933-8595.

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Category: Business