Happy Monday fam, and thanks for joining us on tonight's blog! We have a very special treat for all of you, a guest blog from our friend Spencer, owner of Stuff. Tucked away south of the train tracks in the bustling Calgary beltline community is the 11th Avenue district where you can find; art, architecture, beauty, design, fitness, food and style, all within two blocks walking distance. The independent local businesses between 5th street and 7th street, along the Avenue, strive to bring culture, entertainment and shopping experiences to the citizens of The City of Calgary. If you keep reading (which I think you definitely should), Spencer gives us a look into some of the phenomenal shops along 11th Avenue, and tell us things about the avenue you might not know! Read, and enjoy!
Hey all, I’m Spencer. I’m the founder/curator/mistake maker of “Stuff”, which is a men’s lifestyle store located on 11 Avenue SW in the Calgary Beltline Community. I can remember opening the doors to the store in January 2016 and noticed that I wasn’t the only crazy person making the big decision to open a retail store, (in a less than desirable time in Calgary), since there were a few a flurry independent shops opening and trying to find their footing in the spring of 2016.There were a lot of doubters with regard to my timing, (myself included). I can’t tell you how many first time customers would come into the shop and comment on the economy and that they wished me luck –as in “yeah, good luck with that”.
It’s been a year and a half now, and the challenges keep coming like the snow in November, (welcome to entrepreneurship). The “design district”, where Stuff is based, has seen some long term retailers and businesses either close up or move out of the area in the short time I’ve been here. In case you don’t know, the #11thaveyyc business and shopping district is home to many independently owned and carefully curated art galleries, home furnishing and décor shops, architect and design firms, day spas, gourmet food grocers, as well as some great places to grab a bite to eat or a beer. It’s filled with design savvy creatives along with beer and burger lovin’ carnivores. Oh, and did I mention there are Milkshakes? Meal-size milkshakes.
#11thaveyyc has a long history of being on the edge, both of the downtown as well as in its offerings to the public. Stylish boutiques and bookstores were mainstays in the past along with some of the Art Galleries that have remained in the area to this day. Many commuters come through on their walk to and from work, and why wouldn’t they? We’ve got some amazing views of the downtown - sorry if I sound like Sara Palin, but I can see the two towers of Bankers Hall from my store - the window shopping is great, and being someone on the inside looking out, the people watching is fun too.
So come. Come to #11thaveyyc and support the local independent businesses in the area! If you do, make sure and check out some of my favorites in the ‘hood:
Want to unleash your inner chef? Get your butt down to The Cookbook Co. Cooks, where they have gourmet ingredients, cookbooks galore, and all the kitchen tools and utensils you will ever need. They’ve been in business since 1984 and we can see why. Oh, and they offer cooking classes, of course. Plus you will find Metrovino in the back to pair the perfect bottle of wine with dinner.
Kit has been a fixture in the neighborhood for years. Offering the best brands in Scandi-Euro design, this is a contemporary modernist’s dream store. Find great products from Hay, Tom Dixon, as well as Knoll and Herman Miller, just to name a few. These guys also have the distinction of being named Calgary’s best furniture store for 2017, in the Best of Calgary survey - which makes sense to us!
Full disclosure – Kokedama! is my roommate. If you walk to the back of Stuff you will find Caine, who makes and sells Kokedama’s, which are small plants, shrubs and succulents that have a moss wrapped ball of soil around the root ball. Contemporary and fairly easy to maintain – just pick the right plant – these plants are truly living sculptures.
If you are a style savvy design purist that wants to experience what I think is the most beautiful home furnishings showroom in the city, visit Shaun Ford. Specializing in high end “tailored environments” you will find Apparatus Lighting, Minotti, Polyform and Varenna in their showroom. Beau-ti-ful.
A boutique gallery in the middle of what seems like gallery row; Herringer Kiss carries Contemporary visual art and is focused on emerging as well as established Canadian and American artists. Whenever I get tired of looking at the dark charcoal walls I’m surrounded by in Stuff, I pop across the foyer and walk into Herringer Kiss’ bright white space and lose myself in whatever current exhibit they have to happen.
The best burgers, fries, and mile high milkshakes. ‘nuff said.
Stuff (I’m a little biased here).
I opened Stuff to cater to the guys that don’t necessarily like to shop and that are often, hard to buy gifts for. The store has men’s casual and business casual apparel, furniture and home décor to trick out a bachelor pad, skincare, gift items, and also features local artists.
New in next Monday to see who we have on the blog next! If you are someone you know would like to be a guest blogger on our blog drop us a line! - Stay local!