Named the prettiest town in Canada, Niagara-on-the-Lake has more to offer than just the views. The charming spot is a perfect place for many new businesses to take root and thrive in the region.
No matter how big or small, these five businesses all shared the desire to call Niagara-on-the-Lake their home. Now, they are working to connect with Niagara locals and tourists, as well as make a name for themselves in the region.
For FatFace, Niagara-on-the-Lake marks a big milestone. Not only is the company new to the town, but the Queen Street storefront was the very first to open in Canada.
The British family lifestyle clothing brand has over 180 stores in the UK and 27 stores in the US.
Opening the Niagara location in April 2023, Raylin Noble, Head of Stores for Canada and Ireland, says that Queen Street was the perfect spot for their national debut.
“When we visited Niagara-on-the-Lake, it’s such a beautiful town and such a thriving community,” she stated. “It already has such a British flow through it that we couldn’t wait to become part of the community.”
As the company continues to open more stores across the country, Noble states that their very first Canadian location will always hold a special place in their hearts.
“In terms of the Niagara store, it will always be a pinnacle store for us.”
— Raylin Noble, Head of Store for Canada and Ireland
Jihu Hyeon and Sangil Lee celebrated the one-year anniversary of Soko Bakery Café, their Korean-themed bakery café, this July.
When the couple moved from South Korea to Canada, they decided to turn their passions into a business, combining Jihu’s love of baking and Sangil’s for good coffee. Now, they serve a variety of goodies, including their popular roll cakes, sausage leaves, cappuccinos and more.
Hyeon says they first visited Niagara back in 2016 and became fascinated with the region. When looking for a spot to open Soko Bakery Café, Niagara-on-the-Lake became an easy choice.
“Niagara-on-the-Lake is a charmful town, small, clean and calm,” Hyeon states. “We also thought the traffic balance of both locals and tourists was one of the advantages.”
Since then, they have been focused on continuing to build relationships with their customers, both new and old.
“I always welcome all customers with a big smile and bright voice no matter how my day is. I believe it would make their moment happier, then they would feel warm when thinking of Soko.”
Opening last summer, Aura on the Lake already has a solid base of local customers who frequent the restaurant on an ongoing basis.
Offering a variety of Indian street food items and mains, the spot is known for its samosas, butter chicken, chicken tikka masala and more.
With a menu that is always evolving, Chef and Owner Nittin Sharma says they are serving up Indian food “in a different way.”
“We are presenting traditional food and traditional tastes and paying a lot of attention to how we serve it, how we present it in an eye-pleasing and a mouth-watering way.”
When it comes to the future of the new restaurant, Sharma says they will continue to try different things to cater to their customer base. This could include a wider range of street food and common American appetizers done in a fusion way.
Kristy Miller started making candles in her kitchen five years ago and has continued to grow her company ever since.
Creating clean, eco-friendly products, The Scented Market wants to make sure their customers make self-care a priority. They offer a range of candles and body products, including scrubs, bubble baths and more.
— Kristy Miller, Founder & CEO, The Scented Market
Opening her second storefront in Niagara-on-the-Lake in July of 2021, Miller says it felt like a “natural extension of the brand.”
“I quickly recognized that we were more of an upscale boutique-type feel of a store and that downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake specifically had the demographic and was just the vibe of the quickly growing business.”
The business is now looking to expand to even more locations throughout the next couple of years.
Selling dog apparel and other products, like life jackets, cooling vests, bandanas and leashes, Szilvia Vona is helping locals and tourists dress up their pups.
Getting the idea and the inspiration from her godmother, Ljubica Kukorelli, who has a similar store in Hungary, she was able to open Puppy & Dog Fashion in October 2020.
— Szilvia Vona, Owner, Puppy & Dog Fashion
One thing that sets the store apart is the high quality of its goods and the outstandingly wide selection to fit every different breed.
“I realized that there is a niche market for something unique like this here because people have nice dogs, but what is available on the market is not quite the same as what we have in Europe or in our store,” Vona states.
Through dog shows, social media, and word of mouth, the store has been able to grow over the past few years. Now, focusing on providing the highest quality of customer service and educating their customers, both water safety and winter temperatures are important topics when it comes to local dogs.
New businesses are an integral part of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s ecosystem, helping the community grow, connect and prosper.
FatFace, Soko Bakery Café, Aura on the Lake, The Scented Market, and Puppy & Dog Fashion all bring something new to the region. They will continue to connect with locals and tourists for years to come.
— With writing by Tipsy Theory
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