Our Story...

Lennox and Addington County store offers both quirky collectibles & needed essentials...

A  love of nature and the rural lifestyle brought Christine Johnston and  her partner Gary Cox to Eastern Ontario nearly 30 years ago.


For  much of that time, the couple had harboured the dream of opening their  own store full of interesting, unique and highly desirable collectibles  and memorabilia.  After Chris retired from working at the Sears  Distribution Centre in Belleville, for 25 years, she got serious and  turned that dream into a reality.


In March of 2015, Explorers  Eco-Emporium 41 opened its doors on Highway 41 in Northbrook. The Grand  Opening on May 16th, was a huge success.


“We wanted to do  something along these lines to bring out our own creativity and to  encourage our collector’s side. Our home is unique: we are not hoarders  but we do have very unique and upscale collections. We like the  interesting and the off-the-wall items, collecting and sharing such  items is a lot of fun.  These items have proven to be interesting to a  lot of others as well. That’s why we’ve used the word Explorers in the  name, as we like the hunt for these wonderful one-of-a-kinds, and we  wanted others in search of similar items to have a place to find such  treasures,” said Chris, who added that the store also features goods  that locals, cottagers or visitors might need.


“Along with the  many collectibles, we also have a good selection of what we call  essentials – things that the homeowners or the vacationers would need.  We have bedding, clothing and accessories, bathing suits, books,  footwear and a lot of basic household items.  We are always changing the  inventory and adding new things based on what the customers tell us  they want as well as seasonally.”


The first challenge facing the  prospective business owners was securing a location. Chris and Gary live  in Potter’s Settlement, just North of Tweed, close to Highway #7. They  knew they wanted a location in the general area of Highway #7,  preferably to the North, where they like to fish and explore in their  spare time.


“We wanted to set up a shop in this general area, as  we knew that it could become something unique. Just like Lennox and  Addington’s history and beautiful scenery.  We knew that the area needed  something like this, an interesting place to visit and to shop. This  area is very near to our hearts. We love it here. We love being out in  the country and being outdoors fishing and hiking. When we found this  location, we knew it would be perfect, as it is on Highway #41, just a  little North of Highway #7. It is right in tourist country, and a very  unique building being a quonset hut. Even though it is in the middle of  cottage country and along a major thoroughfare, Chris said thus far  about three quarters of her clientele are local folk, all of whom are  very encouraging of the enterprise and many have become return  customers.


“It’s an experience to shop at our store. Yes you can  get basic necessities but people like to come in and look at the  interesting items that we have; the memorabilia and collectibles.  Chatting with us as well, about both the area and the goods that we  carry,” she said, adding that they have many items that appeal to  children and families at affordable prices.


“We listen and are  very responsive to what our customers want in terms of necessities and  the products we carry in the store.  For example, people have been  asking for vegetable plants so we are going to try and have a small  nursery next year, with Perennials as well.”


The ‘Eco’ part of  the name comes from the couple’s desire to do everything they can to  make the business as environmentally-friendly as possible and create the  lowest carbon footprint that they can in all facets of the operation of  the enterprise.

Another of the biggest challenges for the  business has been creating awareness that it is there and that it has  items that cater to both local folk and visitors to Addington Highlands  alike.


“We have a Facebook page, a Website, a Twitter account as  well as Linked In, so we are using those avenues as much as we can to  generate interests.  We’re also pleased with the Ministry of  Transportation’s guidance and assistance.  We have asked a load of  questions and everyone that we have spoken with have been very helpful”,  she said.

“We have been very hands-on with everything. When I  finished at Sears, I immediately started to research everything on the  internet that I could soak in about running a business. That is how I  came into contact with Trenval Business Development Corporation and have  gained my Business Plan Certification along with Entrepreneurial  Training. I have had assistance from the Lennox and Addington Economic  Development office, from the Land O’ Lakes Tourism and the Addington  Highlands Township office in Flinton. It definitely has been a learning  process, and   one of the biggest things I’ve learned was to ask  questions of every one that would listen.


Chris said that word of  mouth, both online and from folks just talking with one another, is  going to be key in the long-term viability and sustainability of  Explorers Eco-Emporium 41, which means creating a welcoming engaging,  customer-friendly environment is crucial.


“We are a unique  shopping experience and we want to be known as an affordable and  friendly place to shop.  We would like to be known as an ‘Emporium’ – a  place that is a fun experience as well as a place where you can get many  of the things that you need.”


For more information, visit  www.explorersecoemporium41.com.  The store is located at 12047 Highway  41 (east side) in Northbrook, just North of Kaladar.- See more at:  http://www.yourbusinesshere.ca/index.php/la-county-store-offers-both-quirky-collectibles-needed-essentials/#sthash.ClVTfL94.dpuf


We add new wares.... daily.  We are personal shoppers - We will do our  best to find what you are looking for.  We can wrap that special gift  for you.... We can create any design for you for your Business Cards,  your Christmas Cards, your T-'s and Hoodies.  We can create that perfect  saying to go along with your window sticker.... etc.  Ideas that you  might have and need assistance with to make your life a little easier  ....we can help.  Expanding our ideas and our business, one customer at a  time.  You our customers help us to grow with your ideas !