Oakville-Based Retailer ‘Lemonwood Luxury’ Launches Expansion with Plans for Several Stores

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Lemonwood Luxury, a unique apparel and accessories boutique store based in southern Ontario, continues to expand with the opening of its fifth location and plans to continue to grow the brand with more retail stores.

The latest store opening was in historic Unionville, Ontario.

“Lemonwood is primarily a retailer and wholesaler of women’s luxury apparel and accessories. We cater to a more mature market. So we have sort of a very focused view of our customer and who she is,” said Christine Peters, founder and owner of Lemonwood.

“She’s very educated and well travelled and already owns five pairs of black pants so we don’t really want to sell black pants. We want to sell something that will delight her. We source from all over the world to find the items that will delight her.”

The new store at 193 Main Street in Unionville is in the restored Hunter-Dukes House and Store c. 1850 and directly beside the renowned Unionville Arms.

The other retail locations are in Oakville (the retailer’s first one), Rosedale/Summerhill in Toronto, Collingwood, and Port Carling. It serves customers in the rest of Canada, the USA and internationally through its e-commerce offerings. Additional retail locations are currently in the planning stages, added Peters.

“We started on a side street in Oakville and quickly found out that it was a side street that people don’t usually go on. My thought was to do wholesale and to have a little retail front. And then we had the opportunity to sort of top up on a main street in Oakville and we stayed there as our flagship store. That was in 2017,” she said.

A vacant 193 Union Street before Lemonwood Luxury moved in. Photo: Sylvia Morris

“We have three more in the works that we’re looking at with the same sort of DNA structure of being in small villages and having a community presence in each of those locations. Each location has a really unique presence whether it’s in a little village or on the main street. Picturesque. That kind of destination spot. That’s what Collingwood is. That’s what Port Carling is. That’s what Unionville is. And the ones going forward. That’s where we look. We don’t want to be in malls.”

Currently, the focus is on the southern Ontario market but Peters said the company has plans to expand that in the future.

Peters has worked with smaller factories that employ and empower women. She started with a small factory in Nepal and today the company has factories it uses in India, Europe and other countries.

“These are smaller businesses that are either owned by women or run by women and employ underprivileged women in their workforce. That’s a really important part of the DNA of Lemonwood,” added Peters. “We’re trying to have sustainable fabrics, natural fabrics, and have this other narrative running through, who qualify to be one of our suppliers.”

Peters said the retailer’s philosophy is “elegance & simplicity” on all levels with Scandinavian-inspired boutiques that are bright and airy, with clean lines and uncluttered, at their core Modern Day fashion salons that emphasize personal service, that are built around all fibres wonderfully natural, including cashmere (over 100 different styles and 80 different colours of poncho wraps, scarves, shawls, sweaters and more), Italian linens, silks and bamboo and rounded out by beautiful clothing accessories (including designer masks), all curated from around the world, affordable luxuries presented by welcoming and knowledgeable personnel.

Peters said the company focused on its online business, like many other retailers, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit.

“We gathered email addresses for a number of years and that’s really what helped us communicate to our existing clientele. That really helped. We had a loyal, loyal customer following. That really was how we got through this. The internet and communicating with our existing customers on a regular basis in a way that was meaningful and they could identify with the brand and not feel like we were hounding them for orders,” explained Peters.

“Opening up a little bit and then having to close again, it wasn’t easy. But we were getting through it. And every day it’s just trying to be creative in what we communicate and how we run our promotions and things like that to keep our customers interested in what we’re doing.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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