What Port Stanley Needs

map showing Port Stanley south of St. Thomas on the north shore of Lake Erie

We’ve lived in Port Stanley for 3 months. Three of the happiest months in a good, long while. We love it. This isn’t a complaint but an observation after doing our best to shop locally and talking to neighbours. Our town could use a few more businesses. I think they’d be hugely successful.

I suspect Port Stanley is like a lot of other little lakeside towns that swell in the summer and retract after Labour Day. On hot weekends, at least one of the restaurants busy the phones so they can catch up with orders. The beaches are packed, the inns booked, and the stores bustle with customers. It’s delightful! It’s equally delightful to leave the chaos and retreat to our quiet neighbourhood.

There are wonderful shops like Little Beach and Apropos. Terrific restaurants, lovely inns, greenspace. A sweet harbour with plenty of places to walk, seating and exquisite views.

The Kettle Creek Inn, a large blue and white building, and the Port Stanley welcome sign that says shop, dine, stay. It has a big fish on top of it.

I already have a terrific hair stylist – Lauren who owns Hair on the Harbour. The reviews are in:

“Best haircut you’ve had, maybe ever! It’s natural and not fussy.”
Derek Botten, spouse

September 2021

I don’t want to change this town. But we bring a fresh perspective. Port Stanley definitely doesn’t need a chain coffee shop or dollar store. It doesn’t have to fundamentally alter itself. That would wreck it. St. Thomas is only 10 minutes away for any must-haves that can’t be found here. But it’s missing a couple of key elements. And if I had an itch to start a business, I’d do it here. It’s ripe with opportunity.

The Needs

It needs a family restaurant that’s open when the rest are closed on Monday and Tuesday. A place that serves a good breakfast. Where we can take friends who visit and don’t want anything fancy. Where families with kids would feel comfortable.

ReVibe is a wonderful store for artisans and other vendors but I wish it was about three times the size. It’s a must-see marketplace, for sure. I think Port Stanley could use more like it.

The town needs a farmer’s market. The lone, small grocery store doesn’t cut it, especially when it comes to produce. There are a few markets outside of town, but why not bring the farm to us once a week? I know a lot of people who’d make it a habit to shop there.

It needs house cleaners. They’re booked solid with cottage rentals and AirBnbs.

GTs on the Beach is one of the – if not the – most successful restaurants in town. But they close for the season after the summer. I get it, the tourist trade is their bread and butter. But the population just grew by several hundred people. We love the town and want to support it. I think I’ve identified a few ways to improve upon that. Who wouldn’t want to live here and make their living? Any takers?

4 thoughts on “What Port Stanley Needs”

  1. Iā€™m not sure a lot of business owners are going to want to invest in a restaurant that depends on dine in business after Covid. I 3

  2. Hi Lisa—you are right about the ‘family’ restaurant! I remember years ago there was one called ‘Grandma’s’, if I remember correctly. Loved it! Awesome breakfasts, etc. Also, a weekly farmer’s market with local produce is a great idea!

    1. Thanks, Angela. I’ve been talking to some merchants and they say it’s really difficult to make a go of it over the winter. But a family restaurant seems like a safe bet. šŸ™‚

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