By MAGGIE M, Wedgee-in-Chief, Editor, theWedge.LIVE 💛 TO SHARE click icons at story’s end. TO SUBSCRIBE go to upper-right column. TO COMMENT go to upper-right of story
“PEOPLE tell me frequently ‘there is an energy in this place’, and, ‘they feel so good’,” Kim Sabourin shares modulating her tone. Visitors seem to have convinced her of something metaphysical occurring in the store she has owned for almost twenty years. I listened.
I was there, and too, left with a spring in my step.
Metaphysics aside, I may have found the best independent lifestyle store between Toronto and Montreal–in Cornwall. I write this without reservation.
I had driven south on renown Brookdale Avenue, a milieu of malls and chain outlets, to meet Sabourin. Laura’s, The Art of Living and Giving, stylish from the curb was nestled in their midst.
I did not expect what appeared behind its glass door.
Seven rooms with distinct themes, and themes within themes–6,000 square feet that extended beyond its front door. Endorphins were pinging in my brain and coursing through my veins when I crossed the threshold.
This store is like the opioid of desire.
There is fashion clothing, jewelry, gourmet foods, coffees, chocolates, flowers, scents, home decor, baby products, Christmas ornaments and trees, gourmet kitchen gadgets–not just a few, but a lot–flowing over from every sight line.
Sabourin’s magnum opus is a balsamic and olive oil tasting bar in the 5th room. One wall is covered floor to ceiling with fresh spices from all over the globe: Morocco, Cambodia, Himalayas…
Suddenly, this shop-owner shape-shifts into a barista pouring shot after shot of precious muscat grapes aged eighteen years. Each taste of this rare balsamic introduces a new flavour infused with figs through Sicilian lemon to maple.
I unapologetically asked for seconds. And thirds.
Laura’s was vetted by Veronica Foods, a highly regarded grower and producer of balsamic and olive oil, located in California. It is a great honour that Laura’s was selected exclusively to market its foods in the region. This feature alone is cause for a weekend drive to Cornwall.
“The key to great olive oil is its freshness,” Sabourin says. The narrative is reversed related to this sibling on the shelves. The younger, the better. These olives are cultivated from many continents and not exclusively from Italy–a misnomer.
Merchandise danced and sparkled all around me. My shield was down and I succumbed to a beautiful, green English teapot with a built-in filter–and the perfunctory, three small bottles of balsamic.
As I was preparing to leave, a tall “Adonis-like” man asked Sabourin, “Have you got gel for fondues?” (Now that was so predictable I mused!) The gel was in-hand instantly. This relieved time to try on a silver necklace with a bejeweled cross.
Gel and jewels. So Laura’s.
POST SCRIPT :
Kim Sabourin is one-half of a Cornwall “power couple.” Her husband, Leon Sabourin, is an electrical engineer. Together they own two acclaimed restaurants, Schnitzels and Sheep’s Head, and The Cornwall Lighting and Decor Centre (adjoins Laura’s.) And there are a few more projects in the mill.
Stops on my next trip.