Fall, Holidays

Welcome to the River District, a place where community and support for one another shines brighter than the darkest days. Over the last 20 months, the world has been turned on its head and small businesses have had to go through some of the toughest times in history, forced to shut their doors uncertain about when they would be allowed to reopen and if they would make it to that day intact. The River District businesses were not immune to this but during this time of uncertainty and turmoil our River District businesses persevered. 

Never has there been community support like in the River District during this time. Leveraging social media to promote each other’s businesses, physically stepping up to help move stores from one location to another and making sure to support local businesses before turning to other shopping methods even if it was a little more complicated or time-consuming in the beginning. 

Overnight, local businesses had to pivot their business models. Many had no online shopping options and curbside pick up wasn’t a word in our vocabulary, in addition to this many owners had to help their children with online learning while trying to maintain their business. Instead of throwing in the towel, these businesses innovated. Sweetpea, a shop that offers everything you need for your tiny human, installed lockers at their front entrance offering next day pickup. These lockers have been incredibly successful allowing shoppers to pick up their orders at a convenient time. They have also offered local delivery at no additional cost which has allowed parents to stay safe in their homes during a time when bringing your little one outside seemed scary. The Milk Maid also offered local delivery allowing for fridges to be stocked with high quality cheeses, meats, wine, and accoutrements making for a more civilized time spent at home. As the warm weather set in and there was a better understanding of the new world we were living in, shops were able to start offering more services. The Georgian Bay Centre for the Arts who had just opened their doors, now offered curbside coffee and treats through the Pallet Café setting up a counter in their storefront. For the first time, cafés and restaurants were opening on street seasonal patios on mass and have proven to be a roaring success. The River District will not see these go away any time soon. 

Several businesses used this time to make big changes. Barebirch a home décor store and Sun Point an apparel and tanning salon are now in their stunning new homes taking advantage of façade grants available through the City of Owen Sound. Sabitris Global Cuisine had new owners take over the restaurant, but this was a family affair, and the original incredible food is still being offered. CTRE a production studio saw a huge expansion moving to and taking over the former Bank of Montreal on the corner of 2nd Avenue East and 9th Street East. Aveda Mane Street hair salon also went through growth expanding into the space next door, allowing for more services. Owen Sound iRepair moved from 2nd Avenue East to 8th Street East and Sugar Dust has moved just a few doors down to a bigger and better space, bigger space, bigger cupcakes? 

With the relocations come some additions, seeing some amazing growth in the community the River District has welcomed Village Pizzeria offering quality fresh ingredients, Sundays Ice Cream Parlour invites guests into its not so secret entrance to enjoy Kawartha Dairy and many vegan ice cream options. Mochi Bubble Tea has moved in next door to Yummy Yummy on 10th Street East offering Bubble Tea and snacks. Boon Bakery, once a regular at the Farmers’ Market providing gluten and dairy-free bread and baking has chosen the River District for its bricks and mortar location, and Rrampt a popular local magazine and content creation studio has set up shop in one of the many unique buildings this community has to offer providing a hip co-work location and café available to everyone. 

The City of Owen Sound and the River District Board of Management has also leveraged this opportunity for change and have undertaken a renewal project. Bringing you this website and countless innovations yet to come. 

It has not been an easy time in history and our lives will be forever changed but The River District community has taken what could have been the worst time in history for small businesses and instead turned it into an opportunity for rebirth. Working together, supporting one another, innovating, improving, and above all else persevering, welcome to the River District. 

Related Articles

Happy new year message
New Year's Eve in the River District
Holidays, Winter
Click to view the details for the news article New Year's Eve in the River District
Christmas countdown logo
Last Minute Gift Guide
Holidays, Winter
Click to view the details for the news article Last Minute Gift Guide
Kris Kringle waves to children along the route of the 76th annual Kiwanis Owen Sound Santa Claus parade Saturday evening. DENIS LANGLOIS
Scores of people take in parade, lights festival in Owen Sound
Holidays, Winter
Click to view the details for the news article Scores of people take in parade, lights festival in Owen Sound