The Winnipeg Chamber's free Small Business Forums are a chance for our city's small business community members to network, hear from subject matter experts and discuss the issues that matter most to them.
At our December 1 event, it's also a chance to get all your shopping done while supporting Winnipeg entrepreneurs. Our 'Shop Local' Holiday Market was a tremendous success last year and returns with even more booths for this year's edition.
We asked our pop-up shop owners what you can expect to pick up for your loved ones - plus what gets them in the holiday spirit.
Regiane Ragauskas | beBRAZIL
What's your most popular item: Leggings - They fit perfectly and people feel they are part of their bodies moving with them. It also has good compression, UV Protection 50+, 4 way stretch, breathable, highly durable, it balances body heat, it's wrinkle-free, non-fading and doesn't skrink.
What’s your best bit of customer feedback: They love the colours. They feel energized by the colours that motivates them to exercise and be active. In addition the soft touch of the fabric.
What do you love about the holidays: It's time to enjoy family and friends so there is no chance to have a bad time.
What’s your favourite holiday song: As a Brazilian I love and miss the beach. My favourite song is Quero ser feliz também - Natiruts that reminds me the feeling of being surrounded by the sun and the sea water.
Peter Fehr | Gourmet Inspirations
What's your most popular item: Salted Caramel Whiskey Dessert sauce. DRIZZLE, DRIZZLE, DRIZZLE... cheesecake, ice cream, waffles, pancakes or wherever your imagination leads you
What’s your best bit of customer feedback: "Just eat it with a spoon"
What do you love about the holidays: Snow, cozy drinks, christmas music, warm and cozy food like soups, stews and biscuits!
What’s your favourite holiday song: Joy to the World!
Tania Czemerynski | CZE by Tania
What's your most popular item: Mint + Rosemary Hair Repair Masque. It helps restore moisture, repair the hair, soften the texture, and encourage growth and thickness. It’s also great on the scalp to help treat dryness, dandruff and other scalp issues. Perfect for everyone - especially during our cold winter months!
What’s your best bit of customer feedback: I mentioned earlier the masque has helped people with different scalp issues. I’ve even had some success with a few women that have gone through chemo and have used the masque to help regrow their hair.
What do you love about the holidays: The food! Everyone that I know is an amazing cook, so I really look forward to them putting on their best spreads.
What’s your favourite holiday song: Last Christmas!
Danial Mckay | Canada Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils
What's your most popular item: We carry a wide array of products. Some of our most popular items are salt lamps, tumbled stones, thunder bay amethyst, petrified wood, crystals, agates, geodes, local red river selenites, gemstone spheres, and mineral samples from around the world. We also have holiday gift boxes that are pre-made for those who may need gifts for a collector but are unsure what to buy.
What's your best bit of customer feedback: Our customers love our store because we are brand new to the rock shop scene and instead of carrying tables and tables of the same products we have the choice picks of a few of everything. We also get complements all the time on carrying hard to find or rare pieces that really fill out a seasoned collectors cabinet.
What do you love about the holidays: What I love about the holidays is the change in mind of so many people and the stories of hope and peace that come in a time of year when it is so easy to let emotions get out of hand. Holidays bring out the best spirit of giving and thoughtfulness in some people and it makes a huge difference in peoples lives to know someone is thinking of them. Some times its not about the end gift its about the thought that went into that gift.
What's your favourite holiday song: Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song.
Ashley Viner | RedBones
What's your most popular item: Jerk Chicken, Rice and Peas and Steamed Cabbage
What's your best bit of customer feedback: Love for the flavour of the food and the friendly atmosphere RedBones has.
What do you love about the holidays: I love the all of the lights of the decorations and Christmas music.
What's your favourite holiday song: All I Want for Christmas is You from Mariah Carey
Levi Joseph Tuckett | Some Moroccan Inc.
What's your most popular item: Introducing the ancient beauty regime of Moroccan Women used for centuries. A product, with no additives, straight out of the kingdom of Morocco, The luxurious oil of the Argania Spinosa fruit, known as Argan Oil.
Our oil is Lab tested in France for it’s purity, eco-certified and has the USDA label. Packaged and distributed by Some Moroccan Inc. We make sure our products are Fairtrade to empower Moroccan women, and we also give back 5% of the profits to less fortunate children In Morocco.
What’s your best bit of customer feedback: Our clients have been loving the product since the moment it hit the shelves.
What do you love about the holidays: Having spent the last Christmas in Morocco away from family, building this business, I realized how important family is during this time of the year. Giving back to the ones who needs the most and spending good quality time with the family.
What’s your favourite holiday song: All I Want for Christmas is You (and by ‘’you" she meant some Moroccan Argan Oil...)
Chantal Hogue | Frescolio Fine Oil and Vinegar Tasting Bar
What's your most popular item: We have a Traditional 18-year Aged Dark Balsamic vinegar, that is so smooth and well balanced, it goes with everything. Many of our customers use it for bread dipping, salads, and marinating, but it’s also my secret ingredient in homemade spaghetti sauce!
What’s your best bit of customer feedback: How much they enjoy our bottle return program. It’s a cost neutral service for us, and we weren’t always sure it was worth the staff hours it takes to wash and sanitize the bottles. However, our customers love being eco-friendly, and the $0.75 bottle credit helps too.
What do you love about the holidays: How festive everyone is! Our customers are awesome, they’re often foodies like us and we just get to chat about cooking and different flavour combinations. Our shop isn’t a high-stress environment, so everyone coming in is usually happy to spend a few minutes with us, which we really enjoy.
What’s your favourite holiday song: Anything by Bing Crosby. He could be singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and make it sound like Christmas.
Cori Poon | sweet C bakery Inc.
What's your most popular item: Sweet Candy Sushi - homemade rice crispy cake, rolled with a variety candy and manipulated to look like sushi but using only sweet items.
What’s your best bit of customer feedback: When FDA has actually seized the parcel because they thought it was real sushi and couldn't believe that it was shelf stable and made of candy. I took that as the biggest compliment and they even congratulated us making such a strong replica.
What do you love about the holidays: I love the magic that my kids now see in the season. Everything is so pure and being able to see and live that magic through their eyes is truly fascinating.
What’s your favourite holiday song: Winter Wonderland
Sarah Cullihall, Ceilidh Moulden | Sí Fairtrade Fashion
What’s your most popular item: Handwoven Kimonos dyed with natural dyes (beets, coffee beans, carrots etc). and our upcycled double-loop headbands.
What’s your best bit of customer feedback: We have a variety of high quality products ranging from leather goods to handwoven products all with unique designs. They're excited about our social mission of helping indigenous entrepreneurs overseas!
What do you love about the holidays: Spending time with family because we're overseas for much of the year!
What’s your favourite holiday song: Silent Night
Kimberley Bialkoski | flora & farmer
What’s your most popular item: A three-way tie between my Savoury Fig spread, made with figs, caramelized onions, and roasted garlic; Hot & Drunk Horseradish Dill Pickles, a spicy cucumber pickle with a shot of vodka in every jar; and Applekraut, an award-winning, probiotic, fermented sauerkraut, with an Asian kick.
What’s your best bit of customer feedback: It's hard to pick just one! But I think "That was the most amazing jar of deliciousness I've ever eaten" sums up pretty much all of my feedback!
What do you love about the holidays: As entrepreneurs, relationships with friends often get put on the backburner, I like that the holidays gives us a little nudge to get together and enjoy their company. Oh, and FOOD!
What’s your favourite holiday song: Honestly, Christmas carols have never been my jam ?
Carol of the Bells isn't too bad though.
Kevin Shale | Low Environmental Impact Technologies
What’s your most popular item: The PureAir 1500 (Home and Office air purification)
What’s your best bit of customer feedback: “It really helps with allergies and reduces office wide flu/colds.”
What do you love about the holidays: Spending time with the people who matter most
What’s your favourite holiday song: Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas song)