Coriander Life and Coriander Style are sister stores directly across Hurontario from each other in historic downtown Collingwood. Owner Sarah Harrison has a long history in retail. While growing up in Toronto, Sarah’s mother, Bobbie French, had 10 retail stores in the area and her father, Derek French, was a fashion wholesaler and importer. So needless to say, the business of retail is in her blood as it was quite literally the conversation around the family dinner table each night.
“The name Coriander came from sourcing trips I took to Bali, back in the ‘90s when global imports were a huge trend. My dad and I would find treasures abroad and bring them back to Canada to sell to other stores,” recalls Harrison. “Our first retail venture began in 1999 as a holiday pop-up location out of an empty storefront in downtown Guelph. This quickly evolved into a full-time store and the first Coriander shop was launched. It was an adventure—we sold all sorts of crazy things gathered in buying trips across the globe, but eventually we settled down and focused on fashion and gifts”.
“During a spontaneous road trip to Collingwood with a girlfriend in 2014, I fell in love with downtown Collingwood. We shopped downtown, had lunch at the Tremont Café, and met a few of the locals. Andrea Rinaldo from the Butter Gallery introduced me to Rick and Anke Lex who showed me the space 83 Hurontario Street. Six weeks later we opened the first Coriander Life in Collingwood. And after outgrowing that space, we opened a second location in 2019 at 78 Hurontario Street, the home of Coriander Style.” Coriander Life has evolved into a fun, quirky, and entertaining gift shop filled with merchandise guaranteed to make you smile. Coriander Style offers chic easy modern dressing designed to keep you comfortable and contemporary.
Sarah is a true visionary and talented buyer, but what she prides herself on most is the ability to build a great team. Between the two retail locations she employs about a dozen people. The staff members can bounce between both locations which keep the job interesting and fun. “If the last few years have taught me anything, it is that the number one ingredient to having a successful retail store is to have a happy team. This is the key to building stores with great energy and a fun culture. People want to work in a positive workspace and to use their strengths to contribute to a business they believe in. I believe in empowering our staff and to let them do what they do best, whether it is working with clients, creating great displays, or looking after our inventory. I honestly feel that it is the fabulous people who keep Coriander running every day that are the heart and soul of our business,” explains Sarah.
New at Coriander Style is a popular menswear section. What started off as a comfy couch for men to relax on while their partners are shopping has now become the epicentre of a menswear collection offering stylish comfortable clothing and accessories. “When people come to visit Collingwood, they usually come in pairs. So we thought it just made good sense to offer a shopping experience for men as well.”
Sarah is a natural team-builder who loves marketing and being part of the Collingwood Downtown BIA Promotions Committee. She was one of the founders of Collingwood Fashion Week. “Being part of Collingwood Fashion Week has really helped me connect with other businesses. The entire event is an excellent way for small businesses to connect, partner, and promote each other. And I love that we are putting Downtown Collingwood on the map as THE fashion hub for southern Georgian Bay,” glows a very proud Harrison. “After all, our retail community has built something very special in this downtown and we shouldn’t be shy about sharing it with the world”.
Visit their website shopcoriander.com/ to shop on-line. You can also sign up for their newsletter and find out about exciting promotions like their Library Box Club https://shopcoriander.com/pages/library-box-club and their 5th Saturday Club https://shopcoriander.com/pages/5th-saturday-club. Follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/coriandercollingwood/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/shopcoriander/