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Smart, Suave and Stylish Finds at The Squire Shop

By Bob Peters
December 7, 2012

Sue MacKay and Mark Baker - The Squire Shop - Cornwall OntarioCornwall Ontario - Tucked away in a corner of one of Cornwall’s busiest shopping plazas is a locally owned and independent clothing store named The Squire Shop. And like its name, the store itself seems a little out of place and out of time. Instead of big box retail, The Squire Shop offers a main street chalet-type of ambience with an extremely diverse product line that includes tuxedos, jeans, fur hats, ski-wear and moccasins.

The Squire Shop was opened in 1968 by Stewart Baker, who began his career in retail working at Dover’s Mens Wear in Downtown Cornwall. Mr. Baker was a true entrepreneur, and took his knowledge of clothing and retail and went into business for himself. His passion rubbed off on his son Mark, who helped out at the store as a youngster.

“I liked working at the store and I really enjoyed being with my Dad,” recalls Mark, who now owns and runs the store. “Dad always said do not buy too much, but I always do.”

The Squire Shop is well-known for having a full inventory. In fact, they typically carry enough goods to fill 3 stores. The store is equally balanced with men’s and ladies wear, and carries major lines such as The North Face, Columbia and Sorel. If there is one common denominator linking all of the products, it is the quality of the merchandise.

“Customer feedback drives a lot of what we carry in the store,” says Mark.  “We are always on the look-out for Canadian-made products, and when we find them, we bring them in.”

Two popular Canadian lines include women’s parkas by Quartz Nature, and men’s suits by Jack Victor & S. Cohen. Both clothing lines are made in nearby Montreal. This season, bright-colour ski jackets are popular, as are Canadian-made moccasins and sheepskin slippers from Huron Village, Quebec.  If the winter turns out to be a typical one, Mark does not expect his supply of fur hats from Winnipeg to last long either.

“We pride ourselves on being an outerwear specialty store,” says Mark. “It’s always best if Mother Nature co-operates and matches the weather to our inventory.”

With such a diverse and deep selection of goods, Mark’s customers rely on him and his right-hand gal Sue MacKay to help them make the right choice.

“Sue has been an unbelievable employee for me, working every Saturday since she has been here,” Mark says. “Without her, I would not still be in business.”

Mark and Sue have cultivated a large group of very loyal customers the old-fashioned way: selling quality goods at good value with exception customer service.

“Even though we all dress casual now, good quality sells regardless,” he says. “We are set up to meet just about any need. I may sell a tuxedo at 10 am, a pair of jeans an hour later and ski jackets in the afternoon. It makes for an interesting day!”

The Squire Shop pulls in people from beyond Cornwall, including Montreal, Ottawa, Akwesasne and Massena NY. The store’s central location is ideal, especially for visitors to the city, given its proximity to hotels, restaurants and the Benson Centre – Cornwall’s new multi-sport facility.

Still, as someone who was born and raised in Cornwall, Mark tries to give back to the community whenever he can. He has never turned down a community group looking for support for a worthy cause, and he loves getting involved in fashion shows to raise funds for charity. He enjoys the interaction with other entrepreneurs in town.

“Being part of a bunch of great family owned successful businesses is something to be very proud of!”

This holiday season, The Squire Shop is holding is annual shopping spree. Visitors to the store can fill out a ballot to win a $1000 shopping spree.

The Squire Shop is located at 965 Brookdale Avenue in Cornwall. The store is open 7 days a week during the Christmas shopping season. You can reach the store at (613) 932-6605.

You can also reach the store on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Squire-Shop/318878294803930?ref=ts&fref=ts

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Category: Business