LITTLE CURRENT—After 19 years, Little Current women’s fashion store Dreamer’s Cove has changed hands. Started by Rena Collins and her daughter Pam Stephens, the pair has now passed the keys to Anne Marie Thibault of Little Current. Ms. Thibault hopes to keep the same lines and store atmosphere that made the store a favourite Manitoulin stop over the years, while adding her own touch through a renovation and the introduction of several new lines.
A social worker by trade, Ms. Thibault was previously the health director in Aundeck Omni Kaning, but also has experience in retail.
“I’ve wanted my own business for a long time,” Ms. Thibault told The Expositor. “I grew up stopping by Vicki’s Island Fashions where my mom worked. I learned a lot from helping there. When I was older every paycheque would go to Betty’s Convenience Store in Gore Bay. I have always loved clothes and fashion. When the opportunity came up to purchase Dreamer’s Cove and learn from Pam and Rena, it just felt right. They have a lot of experience to share and it has been great learning from them.”
Ms. Thibault explained that her goal with the store is to keep the same quality of service, while adding more lines to appeal to a wider shopper audience.
“I’ve always believed in shopping local,” said Ms. Thibault. “I want to expand on what is already a great store and encourage people to continue to shop on the Island.”
She has spent her summer doing a lot of research, from travelling to stores throughout the North and taking cues from what works and is a miss.
“Let’s Take a Hike in North Bay combines gift items and women’s fashions and has won retailer of the year for Ontario,” shared Ms. Thibault. “I would really like work on making Dreamer’s Cove into a name across Ontario.”
“I plan to keep the same variety of affordable brands that people love while bringing in some new things,” she continued. “I have started bringing in Paul Brodie, Pendleton, Tommy Bahama, Up, Bobbi, Carreli and Kensie. I will still be carrying Tribal, French Dressing Jeans, Steve Madden and many other favourite brands. I really want to have a nice balance of professional and fun clothing in a wide age range and style.”
“It was also really important to me to continue to do something different than the rest of the downtown and I have worked with the other downtown (Little Current) business owners to ensure I bring in brands that aren’t already being offered,” she added.
Ms. Thibault revealed she will be closing the store for a small renovation following the two weeks after Thanksgiving to ‘freshen up the store.’
“I think people will be really pleased with the new look,” said Ms. Thibault. “I have been busy working on everything this summer as Pam and Rena have been mentoring me. My mom has a ton of retail experience and has been a great resource as well. My entire family has been so supportive; my son Cody, my daughter Ella and my partner Andrew. I have been very lucky.”
“I want the store to be a place everyone wants to come and shop, and if you aren’t already a customer, I want people to come and check out the store,” Ms. Thibault said. “I will be getting in new things all the time and will also be carrying locally made items such as moccasins, gloves, mitts, purses and dreamcatchers. We have beautiful hand-beaded purses from Nancy Corbiere of Aundeck Omni Kaning.”
Ms. Thibault plans to offer special ladies shopping nights throughout the year as well as private shopping evenings for groups.
“It’s been a lot of work, but I am really excited,” concluded Ms. Thibault. “I encourage everyone to stop by and check out our new lines and ‘let us show you why locals love to shop here and tourists want to return’.”
Dreamer’s Cove is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5:30 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm.