4 Reasons to Support your Local “Girl Gang”

The collaboration of many small businesses is the main purpose behind Skinner starting Northern Goods.

Did you know?

Canada was home to 950,000 self-employed women in 2011, with Ontario holding the highest percentage of those women.

As a woman business, Melinda Skinner, owner of Sunstone Jewels, which was established in 2014, knows all about why it’s important to support local businesses.

After operating for over three years, Skinner has decided to add on and develop a new company, Northern Goods, which is a monthly subscription service featuring handmade Canadian artisan products. With this new venture launching in less than a week, Skinner shares her thoughts on supporting local.

Just some of the work Melinda Skinner produces for Sunstone Jewels

Here are four reasons, of the endless reasons, you should be supporting local:

1. They love what they do and it shows

Skinner’s accessory business, Sunstone Jewels, was built on a whim when Skinner’s friends loved what she was creating and started asking for their own, and so it began. “It was never on my to-do list, but I loved it from the second it began,” says Skinner. The love a business owner has for what they do shows in their work, Skinner is no different.

2. By supporting a small business owner, you’re giving back to your community

With the difficult economy, and job competition, it’s hard on everyone. Skinner says when you’re spending your money and directly putting it back into the hands of locals you’re building a better economy locally as well.

3. You’re helping someone fulfill their dreams

When someone has enough guts to start their own business, they have a deep desire, and Skinner believes when you shop local you’re supporting these community members not just to pay their bills but also fulfill their dreams.

4. There is no denying the quality

The difference when you look at a local craft vs. a mass produced overseas item is undeniable. You’re supporting the craftsmanship, time, and dedication put into creating items, or building businesses from the people around you.

One of Welland’s finest

Cozy, unique, fun and welcoming, to all, are a few of the things The Black Sheep Lounge radiates out of its’ busy Welland location.

If you’re looking for a local place to check out, where they support local in everything they do, you need to head over to The Black Sheep Lounge. From the tea and coffee they brew, to the amazing menu their creative chef changes quarterly, all the way to the local artists they feature on their stage and all over the walls, The Black Sheep Lounge is your one stop spot for all things local.

Lucas Spinosa, 22, the owner of The Black Sheep Lounge has been dreaming of opening his own cafe since he began drinking coffee at age nine. After being open for just under two years, the lounge has already developed a steady clientele and the next adventure is already beginning: Spinosa is becoming a roaster.

The Hellfire Coffee Co. Roaster inside of The Black Sheep Lounge.

“Within about two to three months max, we’ll be roasting our own,” says Spinosa. The lounge currently co-roasts with a roaster in Cambridge, Ont, Monigram Coffee Roasters, but as soon as they’re up and running, they’ll be using strictly Hellfire Coffee Company beans. “This is really going to expand our reach,” says Spinosa.

“Because we’re a small town, no one is doing this,” says Spinosa. “People already have this vibe about The Black Sheep, it’s a warm and inviting place, even when I’m not here and since we’re already established, people will embrace this brand.”

The Black Sheep Lounge has made a point of buying fresh since day one. “Not one thing comes in a box, not one thing is frozen, anything you can buy in Niagara, we buy in Niagara,” says Spinosa.

Rosé Penné with mixed veggies, one of the many great Winter menu items at The Black Sheep Lounge.

Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non profits and community causes, something that Spinosa plans to do with his new roasting company and has already started to with The Black Sheep Lounge.

Hope you decide to head on over to The Black Sheep Lounge for a cupa’ joe and some great home-cooked food, if you do, let me know what you think in the comments below. Happy supporting local!

A cup of Japanese Cherry tea, one of the many teas served at The Black Sheep Lounge.