A new children’s store opened at 52 Mississaga St. E. in downtown Orillia earlier this month. December Sun carries baby clothing, books, accessories, and more.
Before the pandemic, store owner Kara Greene commuted between her hometown of Orillia and Toronto. She found that she could never find a local store in Orillia that carried baby items outside of the big box stores.
“The only option was going online, and it’s really hard to buy baby clothes online,” she said.
“I always envisioned owning a children’s store, but living in Toronto it felt like the need was already fulfilled," she explained. "But in Orillia, it felt like there was a gap in the market.”
For the past eight years, Greene worked as a nanny; she says her passion has always been working with children. Most of the products she has in store are either made by companies who do charity work with children’s hospitals, camps, or supportive organizations.
Greene also tries to carry products that are made in Ontario and that feature organic cotton and sustainable material.
“All the products in here are pretty much Canadian made and made by family-owned businesses who are doing the best they can to give back to their community, which is really important to me,” she said.
Greene, 35, believes her business will thrive in Orillia, a community that, she notes, has done a great job at supporting local businesses during the pandemic.
“People here have realized how important shopping local is and I feel like now is the best time to open this business to give people more opportunity to shop for their children,” she said.
“As a nanny I was always at play groups and drop-in centres with other moms, and I know by just speaking with other people that they would rather shop local than order things online. As soon as I announced I was opening this store, I had overwhelming support from other mothers," she said.
Greene says she has had countless people in her store already, and her social media accounts have blown up.
“People are saying this is exactly what we needed in Orillia. It just felt like there was this gap that needed to be filled and it was something that I had really wanted to do, did a lot of research on, and needed to take a leap of faith,” she said.
“It’s been a little bit scary because I do have a 10-month-old son at home, but so far the response has been really powerful.”
Greene hopes to eventually grow her business so that she can also offer yoga and music classes for young children and parents.
On Sunday (Nov. 28) 10 per cent of all sales will be donated to the B.C. flood relief fund. She also encourages people to drop off an unwrapped toy for a local toy drive.
You can find December Sun on Facebook by clicking here.