Holiday Spotlight: This Season, Try Shopping Local

By Jenny Lee

Looking to get away from flyers and the big box stores? Downtown Kingston offers a great selection for all price points – if you know where to look.
Amalgamating sister stores Cybil Scott Boutique and Catwalk Boutiques at 65 Brock Street, House of Angelis captures the spirit of global runways with its carefully selected collections of both Canadian and European designers.
Their regular best sellers in semi-formal and formal wear include pieces by Canadian darlings Nadya Toto, Jeffer Caoc and Franco Mirabelli – signature pieces worn by celebrities, clothes for the everyday and perhaps an indulgent gift of sorts for that special lady. If you are looking for something on a smaller scale, House of Angelis also carries a great offering of gloves, purses, and even colourful long socks and the line of Hanky Panky underthings are, I am told, popular as stocking stuffers.
Within minutes of talking to Joanne and Maria Angelis, their passion for fashion and care for their customers is evident. Their impeccable taste is reflected in their eclectic offerings that are sure to make a statement for work or for the night out.
Focused on the professional woman who wants a one-shop-stop and stylish choices, House of Angelis combines attentive customer service with impeccable taste. Whether you need recommendations for gift ideas or know exactly what you need, this is definitely a go-to for the fashionista on your Christmas wish list.
Walking by their windows, it is easy to see why children drag their parents in by the hand to The Rocking Horse. I was welcomed with great enthusiasm, with the only pause is when Jasmine and Liz, the two salespeople, debate what to show me first.
For babies, Sophie the Giraffe remains a popular choice, because of its natural rubber and paint and functionality for babies, there were also other toys to encourage textile touch and motion.  For toddlers and younger children, there are also kid-friendly versions of collaborative games like “The Great Cheese Chase” in which players have to work together to achieve a goal, as well as real life applications such as the game “The Shopping List” where players have to remember which items were flipped over, in order to place in a “shopping cart” (their playing card). For those with a dramatic flair, The Rocking Horse has costumes as well as puppets which also function as stuffed animals.
According to Jasmine, who reiterates one of the hottest items flying off the shelf is the Rainbow Loom, an uncomplicated bracelet making set that comes with a variety of patterns, perfect for those with creative hands. For the kids in your life who are curious about how things work and putting things together, there is Playmobil, Lego, and a wide offering of puzzles.
For those who like to hunker down to read, The Rocking Horse carries some classics, like Peter Rabbit and Good Night Moon, and recently started bringing in some pre-teen titles, in response to customer requests.
Dover’s Men’s Wear also prides itself on its personalized customer service, which is what separates them from department stores. There is something for any of the gents on your Christmas list, complete with a quick and efficient tailoring service for those looking to get a new fitting.
In addition to Hugo Boss suits and wool jackets, Robert Graham shirts are also a big hit because of its versatility. Classic dress-shirts from Copenhagan’s Bruun & Stengard are soft to the touch and come in a variety of colours. If you are just looking for accessories, they also carry warm gloves, scarfs, ties, cufflinks, and even dress shoes, in addition to the standard shirts and suits.
Those at Dover’s have a quick eye and quick to let you know what will work or not work, and keen to find you exactly what you need.
And perhaps for that individual who has it all or you don’t quite know their preferences, you can venture into the well-known Minotaur Games & Gifts on just down the street from Dover’s. Though usually known the “games store,” because of the wide selection on its shelves as well as their Games Nights, Minotaur also offer funky and surprisingly useful little gifts for the modest budget. From mugs for the creatively curious to the comic books for the hardcore collector in your life, they also offer an outlet for local artists, such as Denise Arsenault, to showcase and sell their craft.  Minotaur also carries the biggest selection of Lego, including the Star War sets. Be cautious, because you may very well end up getting something for yourself instead!
This holiday season, take advantage of free Saturday parking in City of Kingston municipal lots or take a meander down to the local retailers and shops to shop!