“We still had a very good year because of the community support”
Being responsive and adaptable has helped the collective of 8 businesses

Article & images by Al Rivett

One thing that comes loud and clear from Geoff Davis, co-owner of Retro Rewind in downtown Colborne, is he’s extremely proud of the community that’s had the back of small, local business owners through the most challenging of times.

“We were closed for 18 weeks last year due to COVID (restrictions), so that was a huge percentage of the year that we were just not open, but we still had a very good year because of the community support,” said Davis, whose business is one of many in downtown Colborne that’s stayed viable despite unprecedented challenges.

“We’re just so happy that people are supporting local and they are embracing that and a little bit goes a long way. I don’t know if people understand how important that is. Not only in being a business owner but being a person in a small community, from a small community that we need these businesses to survive and exist for many reasons — financially, for the look of the town, for everything. We really hope people keep embracing (small businesses).”

Davis said being responsive and adaptable to customers has helped Retro Rewind — coming up on its third year in business – navigate the COVID lockdowns that occurred in 2020 and again this year.

“You obviously have to shuffle things a little bit. The sign on our door now is we only allow five people maximum at a time in the shop, and that is right there a restriction,” he said. “We’re able to pivot around that. We offer curb-side pickup. We also have (social media) posts we actually allow them to say whether they want it or not and we do deliver some products to some people who aren’t comfortable enough to make it out to the shop.

The downtown business is unique in that it operates as a collective with eight local artisans selling unique products within the store. Davis said business partner and entrepreneur Jay Robinson (owner of this website, Cramahe Now) was the “driving force” behind the idea of a collective and showcasing local Northumberland artisans, all located between Brighton and Port Hope. Robinson’s Retro & Handmade — which makes custom handmade furniture and items using barn boards and beams — is one of the eight-member collective within the store. 

Davis said a “cool mix” of artisans make up the collective, adding up to a one-stop shop for an impressive array of gifts for anyone coming to the area. In putting together the collective, care was taken not to have any crossover of items. “If we have someone making macrame, obviously we’re not going to bring in another artist, as we don’t want to compete within the shop”.

One of the artisans, Krista Goddard of Dragonfly Design Studio, has an actual studio within the shop where she creates designer jewellery using upcycled products, including vintage cutlery and pennies, to make one-of-a-kind items.

Davis is the face behind Retro Rewind, who has curated a large collection of vinyl records, memorabilia, and retro toys and other items that appeal to collectors. Davis says his love of all things retro was stoked by attending estate auctions, garage sales, flea markets and buying storage lockers, which has manifested itself into being involved in the collective. 

“It’s always been in my blood,” said Davis.

Other collective members include Essential Knots, which creates unique items using macramé; Parkadilly, which creates unique indoor and outdoor items using colourful twisted metal and wood products; Heirloom Furnishings, which offers reworked designer furniture & sells an array of high quality chalk paint; The Pampered Shelf sells bath supplies including bath bombs, salts and bubble baths; and Cardboard Reality, which sells ink and trendy custom greeting cards. 

Retro Rewind — which captured the Best New Business Award from the Brighton-Cramahe Chamber of Commerce in 2019 — has also been community-oriented in its outlook, said Davis. As an example, the Lions Club of Colborne sold custom-made bird houses in the store to raise funds for its Guide Dog initiative.

Retro Rewind is at 8 King St. East in downtown Colborne. It’s open 10:00 to 7:00 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 to 5:00 on Saturdays and 10:00 to 4:00 on Sundays. It’s closed on Monday and Tuesday. For more information, call 905-269-9000 or visit online at: www.retrorewindstore.com

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