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    Calla Bean Emporium carries the best selection of fresh roasted coffee beans, a huge selection of teas, hot sauces, spices as well as kitchen gadgets. Some of the best coffee is offered on location including Engine House, Equator Coffee, Arrowhead Coffee, Muskoka Coffee and Barking Barista Coffee. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    The Urban Gourmet in downtown Pembroke offers some truly epicurean delights. As well as their pure olive oils and perfectly aged balsamic vinegars, you can discover a selection of local gourmet cheeses and other treats. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    The Sugar Society is one of the downtown’s newest additions and offers some unique esthetic services. They are the only boutique in the area to offer body sugaring, a more gentle and all natural alternative to wax. Natural, mostly Canadian-made products are also for sale. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Some of the most beautiful outfits can be found at dot. This women’s clothing boutique showcases some incredible pieces of clothing, accessories and shoes. To ensure that every woman leaves feeling unique and special, only two or three of one outfit is available for sale. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Chahna Fai and Church Street Flowers is actually two stores with one door. One floor is overflowing with local artists and artisans, with the goal of selling between 70 and 80 per cent local items while the other is a full-scale flower shop offering a variety of beautiful arrangements. Workshops are offered on a regular basis teaching people how to create their own masterpieces using flowers as well as paint as a medium. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)



Discovering Downtown Pembroke

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday September 27, 2018

Those who overlook downtown Pembroke as a shopping destination are truly doing themselves a disservice by not exploring what the area has to offer.

The downtown has undergone revitalization over the past few years making it a shopping mecca for those looking for something unique, creative and fun.

With over 150 shops and restaurants, it would be hard not to find something to fall in love with. Many of the stores are new to the area and tend to complement the longstanding businesses whose roots have been in the community for decades.

One example is Crazy Beautiful Dresses. This wedding and formal gown shop moved from Beachburg into the ground floor of local staple business Custom Draperies and Blinds. Both shops share one roof, a partnership that has served them very well. By sharpening their focus on window coverings, bedding, and custom chairs, Custom Draperies can bring their already stellar service to even higher levels. “We still go into the home and there is no charge for us to measure and help them pick the right (window covering),” said co-owner Eileen Malette.

Meanwhile downstairs, Crazy Beautiful Dresses provides an incredibly personalized formal and wedding wear shopping experience. Renovations have transformed the space, with a bridal suite that rivals no other. Dresses are chosen through three different perspectives to allow for a wide variety of tastes and styles for wedding gowns, evening and military ball gowns, prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses and soon, a new casual dress line. The goal is to make every woman walk out of the store feeling empowered, beautiful and unique. “We actually track who is wearing what so the girls don’t show up with the same dress,” said co-owner Kim Chenard, adding she is especially passionate about military balls as she is a military spouse.

Men’s formal wear is one of the many offerings at Town and Country Men’s Shop, which has everything you need to look spiffy for any special event. It is the only shop of its kind between Ottawa and North Bay.

Mothers and mothers-to-be looking for cloth diapers and anything else they need to take care of their little ones should take a look at A Special Time – Maternity and Kid’s Wear.

Children’s footwear can also be found at Scott’s Shoe Store alongside some very elegant adult shoes and boots including some of the most popular brands like Birkenstock, BOGS, Blundstone, Rieker and more. “I think people want quality footwear,” Manager Nathan Scott said. “Quality footwear is what is going to last and offer overall good foot health.”

For women who want to treat themselves to something modern and stylish, dot. is the place to go. Owner Renae Rotblatt carefully curates her store with a wide range of Canadian designers, purposefully picking only two or three of each piece to ensure that each woman leaves the store looking special and exclusive. “As big as we like to think we are, Pembroke is still a small city and people like to have their own style,” said Rotblatt. “They don’t want to look like everybody else.”

With 80 per cent of women wearing the wrong size bra, Anna’s Lingerie & Swimwear is a godsend. They are celebrating their one-year anniversary providing people with well-fitted, beautiful and comfortable undergarments. They offer sizes from 28AA to 44HH. The swimsuits offer cup sizes up to FF. “I want to do affordable bras that are still really good quality,” said Owner Anna Williamson. “There are other options but they are usually not great quality, very pretty or they are too expensive.”

Other unique stores have also decided to call the downtown core home. Chahna Fai and Church Street Flowers are two stores, one door, offering a full-scale flower shop inside a transformative gift store. Yet Chahna Fai is not just about the gifts - this boutique offers items created by local artisans as well as customized essential oil blends and workshops. “We definitely recognized that there was a need,” said Owner Pam McNichol, pointing out that she also offers her services as an Access Consciousness Bars Practitioner, Reiki Master, and Body Talk Practitioner, and offers treatments in Axitional Alignment, Chakra cleansing, and aromatherapy.

The veteran-owned Urban Gourmet has become one of the most sought-after places for indulgence. Though known for selling different olive oils and balsamic vinegars, they have also opened a cheese counter, providing some of the finest Ontario cheeses available on the market. Handmade scented soy candles are also on sale and the pre-packaged oil and vinegar sets make the perfect gift. All the products are of the highest quality. “This (oil) is pure,” said Manager Debbie Levesque. “It is extra virgin, it is from Italy" She added the balsamic vinegar is all natural and aged 18 years.

Art fans can come down to Purvis Gallery and Framing. Though the store does offer framing services and is the expert in creating military shadow boxes, they do have a beautiful selection of local artists work on display. “Not a lot of local artists have their own studio space, so we like to support them that way,” said Manager Megan McAndrews. “It’s nice to have people come in just to look at the art and to browse. It is a nice way to show what the community has to offer and to support each other.”

One of the newest additions to the downtown shopping core is Sugar Society. It has expanded from offering sugaring services to providing a whole range of esthetics from manicures to lashes and professional makeup. “We don’t wax at all,” said owner Stacey Michalopoulos. “We only use sugar, water, and lemon. So it is much more natural. A lot of the other products that we use are all natural and organic and we do try to source Canadian-made products.”

Looking for K-cups, local coffee, loose teas or spices? Calla Bean Emporium is the place to go. Some very niche products can be found under their roof including Lacroix sparkling water and Torani coffee syrup, both of which are worth the journey.

Play it Again Sports offers a large selection of new and used sporting goods, as well as skate sharpening and custom embroidery. Military financing is available for purchases.

Though the downtown is a great place to shop, it is also an excellent place to grab some food. Janna’s Gallery Café and Kerry’s place have merged together to offer a culinary experience to remember. It is the to-go place for breakfast, a carafe of mid-day sangria or some fabulous fajitas. If you are craving Italian food, Anthony’s Italian Grill offers casual drinks at the bar, a lovely dinner in the main dining room or party in the private banquet room, with a menu inspired by fresh simple Italian traditions.

Craving something light? Wilkies Fresh Baked Bread and Klaesis Bakery and Café both offer some world-class baked goods, which will keep you coming back for more.

Ullrich’s may be known for their catering, but they also have become a hopping lunch spot while offering some European delicacies and some of the best meat in the area.

Play a song or two from the jukebox and get a tasty retro milkshake in more than 50 flavours at Giggling Goats. What is more modern is their offering of delicious Caribbean foods and the ability to make their milkshakes dairy, sugar and gluten free if that is needed. “Sometimes we have families come in and a child is lactose intolerant, we can still accommodate them because that is important to make everybody feel included,” said Co-Owner Jeness Elliot, adding that they also offer a 10 per cent discount on milkshakes and ice cream for military members and First Responders.

For the past year, Little Things Canning Company has offered tasty lunches as well as home-style freezer meals for people who prefer not to spend their free time in the kitchen. They even deliver weekly to Petawawa for a small $3 fee. “There is always something on the menu that people love,” said Owner Stacey Taylor. “There is such a large variety.”

Blendz Smoothie Shop has moved from Deep River into downtown Pembroke, offering the same great flavours but in a bigger location. In addition to their large menu of smoothies, the restaurant serve lunches and light bites, homemade soups, salads, hummus and snacks; all of which are healthy and delicious, a winning combination. They will officially open in early October.

After indulging in all the tasty treats, you may want to look into working off those calories. Good thing Pembroke has all you need to get fit. Young people can work out at the Elevate Youth Fitness Studio for free, funded through the Krista Johnson Memorial Run. The Pembroke Boxing Club will help you get into fighting shape. Founder Jason Burgoyne and his team offer classes to get people into their ideal shape, regardless of starting fitness level. Pembroke Pole Fitness can strengthen your body with grace and the LEAP Health Hub prepares you for a long, healthy and fulfilling life by changing the way you think and the way you move.

Looking for something to better align your chakras? AWE Yoga offers aerial, traditional and Stand Up Paddleboad yoga, and White Pine Yoga offers a variety of yoga classes as well as workshops and events for yogis at every level. Or join a fitness community that is passionate, determined and supportive at Phaze 1 Fitness and Tanning. They are the best equipped and most popular gym in Pembroke with 40 cardio units, 60 weight machines and every free weight you can imagine within the 8,000 square-foot building. Military and First Responders as well as Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and HGS employees receive 10 per cent off regular price.

At just 15 km away from the gates of Garrison Petawawa, downtown Pembroke is the perfect place to shop, play and eat.