Walking into goods, Ottawa’s newest variety shop, it’s clear that owners Jessica Wilson-Frenken and Josie Videto have great taste. Like, really great taste. From silk screened prints to cocktail supplies, and pottery mugs to intoxicating essential oils, the shop is full of perfect items to make your home even homier, your workspace more appealing, and to fill your garden with flowers to protect you from zombies.
What started as a few shelves in local clothing boutique Victoire, quickly grew into this actual bricks and mortar shop. Open since March 2015, goods shop lives on a sunny spot up at the north end of Dalhousie Street. It’s almost like walking into someone’s living room – a living room with the best supply of cocktail bitters that you’ve ever seen. A lot of their products are local (think prints by Ross Proulx, maple syrup from Really Horrible Enterprises), and they’ve also thoughtfully curated products from across Canada (yes, even though it is almost summer, you definitely want that PEI-made wool blanket).
That North Dalhousie spot is quickly becoming a place of new openings – beauty bar Smudge also opened up a few months back, and Victoire just completed a move from further down Dalhousie. To celebrate with Victoire, goods is having a ‘friends, business, PARTY!’ this Thursday, May 14, starting at both shops at 5pm. They’ll have food, music, and all sorts of shenanigans to celebrate their newly established neighbour status.
To get a better idea of what led to this new goods shop, we had a chat with Wilson-Frenken about the move, opening day, and the latest finds for the shop.
Apartment613: Congrats on opening the shop! Tell us a bit about your inspiration for opening goods shop, and where the idea came from.
Jessica Wilson-Franken: I started goods on my own in Victoire (with a ton of help from a lot of people, but at the end of the day I was the one responsible for it), but in the last six months a colleague from a previous job, Josie Videto, started helping me out here and there with marketing and merchandising. It made a huge difference having someone else giving it their attention and momentum to work with. As soon as she started helping there was an improvement in sales and my attitude towards it. It didn’t have to be a side project, it could be so much more!
We decided it was time to start seriously thinking about opening a shop together and worked out a plan going forward, figuring it would be about two years before we would be able to find a place and save enough money to do it. Around that time I heard from Victoire that their lease was up on Dalhousie and that there were two spaces available further north on Dalhousie. We basically said, “We will, if you will” and that was that.
What was important to you about starting goods?
Making it as simple as possible. If we felt there was too great a risk of complication in any part of the project, we would find a simpler way. In the end Josie’s Dad built all the furniture and we did the painting and floors ourselves and it went pretty painlessly. We also both knew what we were getting into: getting the store ready is hard but it gets infinitely harder once the store is actually open, so making things easy was crucial.
What kinds of adventures or trials did you encounter in setting up shop?
It was funny, things were almost miraculously smooth the whole time leading up to it. Like, the floors for example: we had a pretty conservative allowance from the landlord and looked for a few months leading up to getting the keys to the space. It seemed hopeless and we thought we’d have to shell out a ton of money – then one day, walking through Home Depot, there was a clearance sale on the floors we wanted and they had marked them down to a fraction of the amount we had to spend. Those things kept happening – then the day the store opened we both got sick. I had a terrible stomach flu and couldn’t work the first week and it turns out Josie was/is pregnant!
There are so many amazing products and creations here in the store – this might be tough, but do you have a few favourites right now? Anything exciting and new to tell us about?
That’s a tough one. Everything that comes in is our favourite version of that thing, it’s all so special… I can’t choose. But I can tell you about some new things we’re really excited about! We placed our first order with a company called Leaves Of Trees out of Toronto – it should be coming in this month and we’re over the moon about it!. We also placed our first order with Aaron Draplin for his Canada Collected print, we’re obviously thrilled to have that in the shop.
What’s your favourite thing about your new shop, and the new ‘hood you’re in?
Everything about the new shop makes me happy. We get a ton of sunlight, the smell of charcoal bbq from Pili Pili, all the neighbors are super friendly and I feel really lucky to spend my work day in here.
goods shop is located at 201 Dalhousie Street. Check out their website for opening hours.