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Making a life is more than just making a living

I left a job with Peterborough GreenUP almost 20 years ago to help start the Avant-Garden Shop with my then business partners. My primary focus (and worry) at that time was, of course, on whether or not I could actually make this new venture work. 

That fact that the store is now in its 18th year is testament that my husband, Clayton, and I have. Although retail rarely makes one rich, we’re making a living and loving what we do.

It’s truly important to us that we support Canadian artists and offer unique and high-quality products.

But the deeper satisfaction with what we’re doing flows from the relationships we’ve fostered – and continue to foster – with our suppliers and with all of you over the years. We’ve met and helped literally 1,000s of you find that perfect something for your home or as a gift for a loved one, and it’s through those exchanges that we’ve shared in so many of your joys and sorrows – births and deaths, graduations and birthdays, retirements and weddings. It’s the interpersonal part of our work that brings the real riches into our lives.

“Customer appreciation” is a common phrase in the world of business, one that comes with images of sales and finger foods. But what does it really mean to appreciate someone? It means to be thankful for. To not take for granted. To value. And, interestingly, the financial use of appreciate means to increase in value over time. Which is exactly what has happened for us over the years.

Community is SO important. A growing body of research indicates that the health effects of feeling lonely and isolated are comparable to those of smoking! Clayton and I are honoured to be a part of the Peterborough community, to not only help you find just the right card or gift or bird feeder, but also to be a part of your lives. We look forward to every conversation that we have 🙂

I think this quotation from Paulo Coelho captures the essence of this well:

“The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don’t talk anymore, they don’t sit down to talk and listen. They go to the theater, the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, but they almost never talk.

If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories.”

So, please, come on into the warmth of our store to not only say hi but to share your stories.

Brenda & Clayton