| Oct 22, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - October 22, 2009 Hope’s Place supports local producersBy Julie Druker

Hope Stinchcombe, the new owner and operator of the Parham General Store, aka Hope’s Place

The new sign above the door proclaims the fact that the Parham General Store is in new hands. In fact it has been, for roughly six months since Hope Stinchcombe moved back to Long Lake where she was born and raised.

She took over the business from long-time owner Melville Good in April, 2009 and hasn’t looked back since.

For Hope the move came from a desire to live a more stress-free and independent life. She left a ten-year stint as a shop supervisor at Nortel in Ottawa and so far she has no regrets. “I think I've made the right decision. It’s going well so far but the winters can be tough and I‘ll know for sure after having been in the business for a full year.”

To the less observant shopper, the store looks as charming as always but now even more so with a sitting area for coffee drinkers and artful window displays that change seasonally.

It still remains a homey century-old store where one can find pretty much anything they are looking for. Hope has kept the original wood counter, pressed tin ceiling, wooden floors, and the original shelving intact (built by her great grandfather, Earl Howes) and says that she is “continuing on with the groceries and grain products that Mel established long ago.”

There also remains the deli fridge and counter where purchases are wrapped in butcher paper and tied with string that dangles from a spool mounted on the ceiling.

Upon closer inspection, one realizes that Hope is definitely making an effort to make the store her own by incorporating a wide range of items and products from the local community. One finds on the shelves Wilton cheese, frozen M & C Meats from Sharbot Lake, local honey from Steele’s Apiaries on Long Lake Road, pumpkins and gourds from Ken and Lori Howes’ neighbourhood farm, plus apples and home-made preserves from Maw’s Lakeview Orchard in Prince Edward County.

And it does not end there. Sarah Hawley’s heritage seeds are available seasonally and Hope will soon be selling Sarah’s organic body products as well.

Local craft objects are also available such as Parham artist Heather Hugh’s hand painted t-shirts, along with custom embroidered shirts by Upper Frontenac Graphics. Hope says that she is still in the early stages of setting up the store and is "still looking to carry more local products by other local artisans and producers."

Hope is also selling furniture and other antique collectibles, including glass, ceramics and china pieces that she and other local consignors are buying up at local auctions.

In the summer months she allows local vendors to set up a flea market adjacent to the store outdoors in the parking area, which she says helps bring business into the store.

For Hope there is a comfort and joy in being able to support her local community through her work. She explained, “For me, being able to promote local businesses and vendors from the local area is definitely my priority whenever possible. It makes the community as a whole stronger.”

The Parham General Store - Hope’s Place, is located at the junction in Parham and is open Mon.- Sat. from 7:30AM – 6PM.

Any local artisans and/or producers looking to market their wares there can call Hope or Annette at the store at 613-375-6335.

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