By Kathy McGrath

With many businesses closing as a result of the pandemic, it’s nice to see a fun new shop appear in the neighbourhood. Last month, Cherry Bomb Mercantile, a floral and gift boutique, opened its doors at 517 East Ave. in West Rouge.

The delightful store sells a variety of items including plants, flowers, candles, chocolates, cards, jewellery, purses, shawls, charcuterie boards and body lotions.

Owner Sarah Charlton-Galle said she created the type of shop she always wanted in the area. “Like a lot of people in the neighbourhood, when I wanted to get a nice gift for someone, I had to drive pretty far, only to end up at big box stores that don’t appeal to me,” she said.

While Sarah herself makes some of the beautiful goods, including quilts and embroidered T-shirts, she also carries items made by various local artisans. “I like to support people’s passion projects and my customers love seeing these products on the shelves.”

Sarah grew up in North York but moved to Highland Creek with her husband 24 years ago. The couple has a son who attends Highland Creek Public School and a daughter at Mowat Collegiate. 

As a student, Sarah worked part-time in a florist shop for six years. She loved the job and always dreamed of opening her own store. She explains that “life got in the way” and she ended up working in communications for non-profits for more than 20 years. 

“My work dried up during the pandemic and I started to think about opening a shop,” she explained. “I eventually went back to my old work and I realized ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’”  She knew it was “now or never” to make the change.

Although it was a challenge finding somewhere to rent, Sarah persevered and eventually found a suitable space. Her husband, a builder, then converted it into a pretty and welcoming display area.

Flowers have been the biggest seller so far, said Sarah, who loves creating unique bouquets not available at grocery stores. “I’m making arrangements that start at $25 and then I have others for $80 with lots of gorgeous, expensive things in them.” Currently Sarah has a cash-and-carry format, but she can accommodate custom orders for pickup.

Cherry Bomb Mercantile, located on the northeast corner of East Ave. and Island Rd., is open Tuesday. to Saturday 10-6.  The store will be open all of Easter weekend as well as Mother’s Day. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram at cherrybombmercantile.