What I first notice as I walk into the Kingston Road shop is the crisp smell of candles. It smells like a nice home, straight out of an interior design magazine. I’m immediately greeted by Sharon, the storeowner. Collected Joy is so welcoming! 

I don’t know where to look first, because so many corners of the store are visually pleasing and full of merchandise, but not crowded.

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There’s soft music playing, and Sharon is a delight. She kindly introduces the products to me – I set my eyes on handmade wool mitts from Saint-Sauveur, QC. They’re themed around the Leafs and the Habs. Plenty of other products in the store promote Toronto and Canadian pride – a feeling I share, and so does preloved. 

As I look around, I notice there’s something for everyone – of different ages and interests. I’m tempted to buy tea, decorations, and chocolate to gift them to my loved ones. 

A lot of the products are humorous, especially the ample variety of greeting cards. 

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Sharon's appreciation of community is my favourite aspect of Collected Joy. She comments that her daughter goes to school down the road, while her son takes the streetcar nearby. She values hard work: “90% of the products I sell are small-batch, handmade products,” she explains to me. 

She’s thought of all the details: Her beautiful store is decorated carefully, her business cards and paper bags are pretty, and the jazzy music really ties the atmosphere together. I’m sure that if I brought some friends, they’d agree that the store is very “instagrammable” with its pretty displays, great colours and lively fonts. 

Remember how I said I was tempted to buy something? I couldn’t leave the store empty-handed: I bought a few greeting cards for upcoming birthdays and celebrations.

I wouldn’t just recommend this store to a friend, I would bring them along with me!

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