We are so lucky to live in a city where shopping local is a high priority for residents who want to keep money flowing in “Ma & Pa” shops and try to stay clear of corporate retailers that come to the city. The downtown retailers do a great job at keeping up-to-date with trends, offering great sales and keeping their shoppers coming back for more. In this blog post I wanted to take note of some of the best locally-owned stores that offer updated business wear that makes it easy for any Kingstonian to stay on trend. Great clothing and shoes are not all these privately-owned businesses offer, they also support other local causes which is a huge part of their success.

The downtown Kingston core has created a community of friendships that work together to increase awareness of how important it is to keep their stores thriving. It’s a very well known fact that retail space rent is expensive, which is why year after year we see stores closing downtown and another large retailer going up in the East or West Ends. Not only are small businesses supporting each other, the people of Kingston have grown to support these stores over box stores, and a lot of this is due to the amazing customer service that’s provided. How many times have you walked into a huge retailer and they knew your name or asked how the last item you purchased is working out? Doesn’t happen too often. These small businesses care about their customers, they know what’s going on in the community and they support local – it’s a great group to be a part of.

Not only are they in store to help, they are diving into social media full force. From a marketing perspective it is absolutely amazing to see these small businesses explode on social media. Most of these businesses have been following the same marketing objectives for years and now have changed gears completely and jumped full-force into Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. They are learning how effective these platforms are in reaching their target audience, whether it be Queen’s students or 30-something professionals. It’s a very cool transition to see, ‘out with the old and in with the new’, and it makes us so proud to see this happening in our community.

Chris James offers men’s and women’s professional, business casual and formal clothing all in one shop. They cater to the 30+ market bringing in high-end pieces you can’t find anywhere else in the city. Their knowledgeable staff have been in the industry for many years and can help with custom tailoring and wardrobe building.

If you have a party to attend, Agent 99 is your go-to ladies! All the glitz and the glam is between the walls of their amazing location on Princess Street. In addition to their huge selection of formal gowns, they also have all the newest trends, from sundresses to sunglasses. The staff are very friendly and helpful- it’s hard to leave empty handed. This team does a great job on social media, make sure to check them out!

Roundstone, or Fancy That as you may know it, offers well-made clothing for women of all ages. The classic pieces in store are thoughtfully brought in for the audience they have come to know and love. The following of this store is strong with repeat customers and loyal buyers who come time and time again. The wonderful staff leave you feeling like you have won the retail lottery with their helpful advice and friendly faces. This is a real gem of a store and a staple in Kingston’s downtown locally-owned retail.

Photo C/O Downtown Kingston

Heel Boy is a local favourite for shoes, boots, accessories and more. This stylish retailer knows quality and what trends to introduce to Kingston’s downtown location. The staff are great and the store itself offers a cool vibe with low lighting, awesome seating and a great layout. From the iconic sign outside to the smell of leather inside, you need to go for your next shoe shopping experience. HB also has the best shoe sales a couple times a year that you don’t want to miss!

If you are looking to be treated like a queen or find your partner that perfect gift, head on over to the House of Angelis. This luxury boutique offers high-end pieces with high-end assistance. A family run businesses, these ladies are here to help you. Whatever your budget may be, they will help find the perfect addition to any wardrobe.

Photo C/O Downtown Kingston