July 5, 2018
Traverse Bay Corner
By Don Norman
The name says it all. Lakehouse Treasures, located at Traverse Bay Corner (Highway 11 & 59) has clothing, antiques and all the little knickknacks you ever wanted to adorn your cottage and many you likely had never thought of! Jacqueline Turcotte-Rhule and Chris Shamlock (known to their friends and customers as Jake and Coach, respectively) set up shop at their location in 2015 after they purchased the location previously known as Plum Creek Gifts late in 2014. The couple had been living in St. Andrews and had already been planning to move to the Victoria Beach area full-time. On top of that, Jake had retail “in her blood,” as Chris put it. She had been the owner of a rural vintage shop near Duluth, Minnesota. So, knowing the business was up for sale, it just made a lot of sense to dive in to the new venture.
Before they opened the store they completely reimagined the store inside and out. “We wanted to give it a nice fresh appeal.” Chris says it’s really important to ensure that when customers visit the store, that the experience would be memorable. “When they are walking through the path, they get to see some really neat items that could be up to 100 years old,” he said. “I always tell the customers; every time you come to our store you are going to see something different.” This is especially true for customers who come back when they reopen in spring. Every year, Jake gives the store a complete makeover. “So every year you come into the store, it looks completely different,” explains Chris.
It’s an interesting business model. If you like watching those shows like “Canadian Picker” Jake and Chris live the life. The peak season for the shop is from the May long weekend to the September long weekend. During the off-season, they go hunting for the items to stock their shelves. For the vintage items, sometimes, it’s a planned trip. But sometimes it’s just a roadside find at an old dairy farm that seems like it might have some hidden gems. “You have to have an eye for it,” says Jake. Once they find these items, Chris does the carpentry side of the refurbishing to make sure that things work correctly, and Jake does the refinishing. “I like items with a story,” Jake explains. She said that if she has a table that has a burn mark where a hot pot was placed on it in the past, she’s not going to sand it away to hide it. She’s going to make sure that it’s visible. Because it’s part of the piece’s history.
Of course it’s a different process with the new items. There are a couple of markets they visit in the off season, where they find the newest and coolest lines they carry. At those markets, they try to seek out as many Canadian manufacturers as they can. “We have also done a lot with local artisans,” said Chris. That could include anything from pottery, to jewellery to photographic prints.
Some of the lines they are selling this year, include a high-quality clothing line called “Life is Good Apparel” that specializes is inspiring casual tees and sweatshirts designed for comfort and style. Life is Good donates 10% of their net profits to children’s charities. Another line they stock is called “Fitkicks”. They specialize in footware and they have some products that are great for navigating the small rocks and now zebra mussels on the lake shore. If you watch the show Dragon’s Den, you may have heard of the company called TaLii Towels. The folks at Dragons’ Den thought it was such a great product, they said that the woman who started it didn’t need them! They make a compact, sueded microfiber towel that’s fast-drying and about ¼ the volume of a regular terry towel. It dries in minutes.
The business has been steadily growing since they opened and the longer they’re at it, the better understanding they are gaining of what their customers want and discovering new ways to display their wares. They are currently open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and will be until Labour Day.