Small businesses are the heart and soul of communities. They provide goods and services, support the local economy, and are a gathering place for neighbours, offering residents a way to connect with others. In 2019, 97.9 per cent of employer businesses were categorized as small and they employed 68.8 per cent of the workforce. So not only do they provide for communities, but they employ a large part of the Canadian workforce.
By supporting small business and shopping local when you can, you're helping a fellow neighbour put food on the table and pay their rent. Choosing where to spend your hard-earned money is a power that you alone hold — with it, you can help your community thrive by supporting the business owners who invested in your neighbourhood. Plus, you'll find unique items that aren't sold in every box chain across the country.
So be a good neighbour and check out your local neighbourhood shops. Here are 12 must-visit small businesses across the Canadian Prairies.
Sherwood Park, AB
Crystal is an artist, illustrator, product designer, and mother based out of Sherwood Park, just east of Edmonton. Decorate your apartment with one of her playful paintings or whimsical accessories, which are featured in galleries and stores across the province. Her work can also be purchased in her online shop.
Iron Hide Woodworks
Iron Hide Woodworks specializes in handmade wood and iron furniture and believes that "you shouldn't have to fit your life around your furniture." For custom pieces that are created to fit into your home (instead of the other way around), request a quote online. Visit them to see what else they have going on — virtually or in person.
Wild Prairie Soap Company
This soapery uses natural ingredients to create handcrafted soap, bath, and personal care products. For those trying to achieve a healthy, natural lifestyle, Wild Prairie's soaps are plant-based, cruelty-free, and preservative-free. Check out their all-natural Hand Sanitizer Gel.
Crafted is a one-stop shop for unique, professionally handmade goods — like dog-themed bingo, modern ceramics and funky patterned socks for the whole family — from over 80 Canadian artists and designers. Located both online and at the Calgary Farmer's market, you're sure to find the perfect housewarming gift or that accent piece you didn't even know you were searching for.
Field Stone Fruit Wines
Field Stone Fruit Wines is Alberta's first-ever estate winery. This family-run business makes delicious wines using their own saskatoon berries, strawberries, raspberries, chokecherries, and rhubarb. Find Field Stone Fruit Wines at farmers' markets and liquor stores across Alberta.
The Grey Goat
This interior designer and mother-of-two creates original farmhouse and rustic-inspired home decor like preserved boxwood wreaths and chicken wire vases. The Grey Goat also carries gifts and goods for the finer things in life, like these champagne cubes or this darling matching cream and sugar set.
Alt Haus Interior Design Studio
If you love a living space full of colour and quirk, Alt Haus is the interior design studio for you. Run by self-described queer power couple Miranda Young and Jo Van, Alt Haus carries fun, one-of-a-kind pieces for when you're feeling funky — like this Hubba Bubba sculpted table and this Hot Lips neon box sign.
Glitch Gifts and Novelties
This locally owned and operated gift shop is perfect for all ages looking to scratch that nostalgic itch. Whether you're into horror movies (Pennywise Chia Pets), retro video games (remote-controlled Pac-Man lamps with sound effects), or just really miss the 90s (Totally 90s Trivia), Glitch carries something for everyone.
Wanuskewin Gift Shop
You'll find thoughtfully curated items from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artisans at this gift shop located on Broadway Avenue. Check out their Fred Saskamoose collection commemorating the first First Nations hockey player in the NHL (also known as Okatahâskwêwahtik Okimâw or Chief Thunderstick).
DIY Craft Bar
A family business started by two high school sweethearts, DIY Craft Bar brings their love of crafting to those who might not have the opportunity or skills to create something on their own. Their Crafts to Go kits come with everything you need for your very own crafting creation — like this cement succulent plant holder!
Inspired by the lifestyles and cultures of Asia, Unique Bunny carries personal care products, home goods, accessories, and more from China, Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries. There are three locations in Winnipeg, or you can check out a large variety on their online store.
Anishinaabe interior designer Destiny Seymour finds inspiration in the beautiful patterns from centuries-old Indigenous pottery and bone tools, bringing them to the modern era in her table linens, pillows, and blankets. Seymour is the creator of this Indigenous-led design studio that looks critically at the representation of Indigenous cultures within spaces.
And these are just a sampling of the unique, local small businesses we are proud to call our own across the Canadian Prairies. Fill your home with locally made, handcrafted goods that are unique to your community, and give the same to your family, friends, and colleagues. Be a good neighbour this year and shop local!