Exploring the Thriving Local Business Scene With the Pink Gorilla

There’s something about Thunder Bay’s local business scene. The more I visit, the more I get in tuned with it. When you go to other cities, it seems the massive corporations have all but wiped out the local small businesses. Thunder Bay seems to have bucked this trend and the local business scene is thriving. There are many passionate entrepreneurs that are starting small businesses or small businesses that continue to thrive for generations. In addition to that, the collaborative nature between these businesses is downright amazing! It seems everyone wants to help each other out. People aren’t trying to cut each others’ throats in an attempt to get ahead. They want to see each other succeed and ultimately it seems everyone comes out ahead. I have even been able to tap into the collaborative nature of Thunder Bay’s local business scene. Prior to my visit, I reached out to see if there were any businesses I could collaborate with to help spread my message about my travels and my love of local products. The Pink Gorilla from Handfull of Characters reached out to me. In my opinion, the Thunder Bay Country Market is ground zero for the local business scene. I’ve blogged about it in the past and have found some amazing local products. On a Wednesday night, the Pink Gorilla and I met up to explore this local business scene and talk to some of the other small business owners there.

We first went inside, walked upstairs, and talked to the manager of the market to make sure we didn’t alarm anyone. I mean when you have a pink gorilla walking around, you never know what kind of trouble you can stir up. We figured we’d walk around and talk to anyone who seemed interested. The response was pretty great!

Who would have known that there were comics made locally in Thunder Bay? We talked to Merk and saw his great artwork.

Website: https://merkasylum.ca Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/merkasylum/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/merkanaut/ Our next stop was the Metropolitan Moose. Julia drives in all the way from Kakabeka Falls to sell her Cuban inspired baked goods!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Metropolitan-Moose-Beanery-Cafe-900441879981549/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/metropolitanmoose/ Amanda from Red Door Metalworks was excited to get a picture with the Pink Gorilla. She is a metalsmith that crafts “modern jewelry for the confident woman.”

Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/reddoormetalworks/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/red_door_metalworks/ We were thinking, where do we go next?

Why not talk to Braden about the authentically French macrons he makes? I tried one and it tasted wonderful!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/atfthunderbay/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/a_taste_of_france/ Looking around there were so many more vendors to talk to!

We couldn’t resist the smell of Bobbi’s cinnamon buns! They smelled great! There were also a few other goodies there.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/343475082378024/ I didn’t catch the guy’s name but he was working for the Northies clothing line. This clothing is local to Thunder Bay and made in Canada.

Website: https://www.northies.ca/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/northiesbrand Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/northiesbrand/ Nancy from Shine Photo had a bunch of great photos up for display. If you want to have your picture taken, she’s the one to call!

Website: https://shinephotostudio.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Shineportrait/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shineportrait/ Who can we talk to next?

It’s Karl from Eat Local Pizza! I’ve eaten at Eat Local Pizza in the past and they make great pizzas! They’re focused keeping everything as local as possible. While they didn’t have a booth at the Thunder Bay Country Market, it was great talking to Karl. I definitely got hungry for pizza!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EatLocalPizzas/ The Pink Gorilla told me she loves Rose N Crantz coffee. There wasn’t anyone to take a picture with at the moment but that didn’t stop her from showing her love!

Website: https://rnccoffee.ca/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoseNCrantzCoffee Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rnccoffee/ Now if you had a sweet tooth the Chocolate Cow is perfect for that craving!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chocolate-Cow-188112981213305/ If you’re more into being healthy, DeBruins Greenhouses has what you need! There’s plenty of vegetables for clean eating!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debruinsgreenhouses/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debruinsgreenhouses/ We’ve talked to a lot of people, but there’s still more!

Joyce painstakingly makes clothing that she deems is “wearable art.” It is all natural and she puts a ton of work getting all the natural dyes to come out just right.

Website: http://www.joyceseppaladesigns.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Joyce-Seppala-Designs-114087918620704/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joyceseppala/ How can you find happiness? Sarah showed us you can get it through scented candles!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peaceandquietcandleco/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peaceandquietcandleco/ If you’re looking for ornamental pieces of art, you need to talk to Maggie! It appears she is focused on her work and I didn’t find any social media accounts. She has some great stuff so you’ll have to talk to her in person!

Talking to Guy was very interesting. He is an artist of Metis ancestry. His art reflects the stories of his ancestors with each piece of art having a corresponding story on the back. He is working to get his art published in a book that will be taught as a part of Canadian history.

Website: http://gypsysgemsandgifts.blogspot.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GypsysGemsAndGifts/ The final vendor we talked to was Kim from The Market Store. Kim holds the motherlode of Thunder Bay local products. There’s tons of products from other businesses that don’t have a booth at the market. This is a one stop shop for their products.

Website: http://www.thunderbaycountrymarket.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tbaymarket/ Last but definitely not least is Handfull of Characters!

The Pink Gorilla is definitely very popular, but it can magically transform into many other characters!

A list of other characters include: Patty the Patriotic Beaver, Speedy the Elf, The Grim Reaper, Big Black Gorilla, Cheeky Monkey, Scarilyn, Crazy Vulture, B’wanna the Birthday Baboon, Le Ribbit, Puppy Espoir, Can EYE Ask You Something?, Old Goat, Wango the Orangutan. As well as masks you can purchase:

You’ll have to check out the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HandfullofCharacters/ for more information. You can also give a ring to 807-355-0689 to see if Handfull of Characters can brighten up your or the day of someone you know! I can definitely say this adventure at the Thunder Bay Country Market was a lot of fun. I love seeing the thriving local business scene of Thunder Bay. It makes my travels more complete being able to experience this firsthand.