When Katie Stokes started her business Whiskeyjack Boutique in 2019, it became a reminder to her that when you trust your gut, good things can happen.
Before opening their business, Stokes and her business partner, Allison Mistakidis, had a vision of creating a business after learning more about the downtown area and what opportunities were available.
“The store and concept were originally her idea. She came to me wanting to learn more about the downtown area and what opportunities might be available for her in the neighbourhood, and the more she talked about her vision, the more intrigued I became,” she shares. “We first met over coffee in early April 2019, and by May 2019, we opened our doors for the first time.” Located in the heart of downtown Windsor at 55 Maiden Lane West, Whiskeyjack Boutique specializes in Canadian made gifts for locals, and unique Canadian made souvenirs for tourists.
“We’ve always been a safe and inclusive space from day one, and we do our best to give back to local and Canadian charities on a regular basis to support causes that matter to our customers and us,” she states.
When they first started, they already had a Shopify website and product catalogue, but they were not using it to their full potential or marketing it as a means for ordering products.
“When the pandemic hit and everything shut down, we quickly pivoted to push our online shop and were able to adapt very fast to taking delivery and curb-side orders as well as shipping worldwide,” she explains. “The biggest impact we’ve seen because of the pandemic has been the loss of tourists in the downtown core and our city in general. A big part of our business was built on the people who visited Windsor from other cities, communities and countries, so we had to shift our product base and focus a bit to move forward focusing solely on local shoppers.”
With her parents Rick and Rita also volunteering their time to help out with the business, Stokes shared that their business is unique because they make sure to focus on Canadian brands.
“What makes our business special is our focus on supporting Canadian brands, makers and bringing new products to our area that showcase all the wonderful things this country offers,” she says. “Customer service is very important to us, and we go above and beyond for our customers whenever possible.”