CALENDONIA – Nancy Fuller started her business 31 years ago on Argyle Street, and to this day she continues to be a local shop owner on the very same street. The Coach House Gift Shoppe opened in June of 1984, and moved to its current location in May of 1997, at 39 Argyle St. N. in downtown Caledonia.
Starting her fifth year of retirement from office services at Stelco/United Steel where she worked for 36 years, Nancy no longer has to juggle the two jobs. She is now able to focus all of her energy on The Coach House Gift Shoppe, and in the last four years, sales have gone up by 150%. Nancy is grateful to the local community that has supported her over the years, “We are very thankful for our loyal local customers.”
Nancy first started her shop in 1984 by renting a vacant building with no running water. Through hard work and determination, she opened up the shop within a month, selling only crafts and products made by local artisans. The Coach House Gift Shoppe was the original storefront for artists like Ben Henry, as many people were unfamiliar with his soap stone carvings in 1984. Nancy also sold pottery and batiks made by artisans in Brantford, as well as hand-sewn cushions, placemats and tea-cozies manufactured by local resident Elaine Latulippe.
In 1997, the Coach House expanded from home décor and furnishings to include fashions and accessories. Ladies winter coats were introduced in the fall and by December 24 of that year Nancy was completely sold out. The following year Nancy expanded again and began to carry jewelry, scarves, purses, boots, shoes, and other accessories. The store now has a wide range of styles and variety of sizes, carrying fashions for new-borns to the elderly and from a size small to 3X. As Nancy puts it “there’s baby clothes so Grandma can treat her grandkids, and fashions for her to wear too!”
Nancy uses Facebook a lot, stating that many people order by calling 1 877 212 GIFT (4438). There are new items uploaded to Facebook daily as shipments arrive.
Nancy says: “I would like to send a big thank you to all the ladies who have made their way to the Coach House Gift Shoppe. I get people from Peterborough, Thunder Bay, and Niagara.” Even co-workers enjoy the daily shipments, calling it playing ‘dress-up’ at work. Nancy is also returning to having only North American made products in her store. All fashions showcased in the front of the store are from North American, and all bath products are made in British Columbia.
Currently the Shoppe is offering a range of incredible sales. Jewelry and boots (including leather ones) are now 50% off, clothes are 50-60% off, handbags and scarves are 60% off. Nancy also notes, “right now the Coach House discounts definitely beats prices you would see at Target.”
The items in the Shoppe are great for gift giving, they are colourful and for all age groups. Nancy has a computer system for status cards as well, so once you use your status card at her store you never have to bring it in again. “I hope that if you are reading this you come visit us. You will be very welcomed and we look forward to seeing you.”