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Paige Forrest, June 9 2021

Shop and Support Local: A Guide to Small Muskoka Businesses

The small towns throughout Muskoka are built up of history with houses and cottages passed down through families and mom and pop shops that line the main streets. Many owners of small Muskoka businesses rely heavily on the summer months as that’s when they see the majority of their income. Throughout the summer, the population in Muskoka more than doubles due to cottagers who come up and live at their summer home. It isn’t a secret that without the support from our cottagers, many of these stores wouldn’t survive.

Growing up in Muskoka, and working at local stores, I understand the impact it has on local business owners when the population shops local. One small purchase makes a difference in the lives of small business owners, where 100 small purchases may not even make a dent to large corporations. Shopping local not only supports the local businesses, but the majority of the time you receive a better and more personalized experience.

Over the years I have supported many stores and restaurants throughout Muskoka, but here are a few of my favourites: 

1. Kala’s House of Colour

One of my favourite stores and female-owned stores is Kala’s House of Colour. The store is owned and run by a friendly face, Claire. Claire started the business in Toronto, then moved to Muskoka where she had a store in Bracebridge and Port Carling and is now located downtown Bracebridge. Her store is filled with goods for truly anyone and everyone. From a wide range of baby products to eco-friendly products, to plants, to cooking accessories, you won’t come out of this store empty-handed. Lots of the products found in Kala’s House of Colour are locally made. This is the perfect place to stop if you’re out wandering around or if you’re in need of a gift!

                                                                                                         (picture from Kala’s House of Colour Instagram account)


Instagram: @kalahouseofcolour


2. Old Station

(picture from Old Station Instagram account)

This family ran business started in 1985 and is one of the original restaurants on Manitoba St. downtown Bracebridge. Upgrades have been made to the building over time to house more guests, but the friendly service and high-quality food still remain. The wrap-around patio which overlooks the main street is the perfect location to enjoy a bite to eat or a thirst-quenching drink after work on a warm summer day. The pub-style restaurant offers a menu filled with options to meet everyone’s dietary needs you won’t be let down. Some of my personal favourites are the Old Station Classic (French onion soup and creaser salad) and the Yam Fries.


Instagram: @theoldstationrestaurant

3. Ah! Naturel

Another one of my favourite stores in Muskoka is Ah Naturel. This female-owned store and spa is mine and many others go to spa. The store offers a variety of spa services and carries products which are made locally. One of the top product lines (and my favourite product line) they carry is Muskoka Soapstones. Muskoka Soapstone is another local company that makes all bath and self-care products right in Huntsville, ON. Other products you can be found here are make-up, candles, body scrubs, bath bombs, soaps, salts, and oils just to name a few. You will receive great and friendly customer service when shopping here. Ah Naturel is found right downtown on Manitoba Street of Bracebridge.

(picture from Ah! Naturel Instagram)

Instagram: ahnaturel_bathbody

What are your favourite small Muskoka businesses or other local businesses near you? Send me a message, I would love to connect and learn about local stores and restaurants in your community!

Show love to your community and shop local!

Other stores and restaurants to check out:

·      Algonquin Outfitters

·      Allora

·      Bliss Boutique of Muskoka

·      Free Anatomy

·      Hawks Nest Jewelry 

·      Mill on Main

·      Raiment Loft

·      Sully’s

·      Tall Trees Muskoka

·      That Little Place By The Lights

Written by

Paige Forrest

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