The Corner Store
The Corner Store is a new micro-shop in Toronto that sells unique, mostly handcrafted treasures sourced from New York and California. The shop lies deep in the ground floor of the Manulife Centre, which is what makes it a bit of a surprise find. Toronto and Corduroy Magazine Creative Director Peter Ash Lee opened the whimsical Corner Store three weeks ago in a literal corner of his parents' greeting card shop, More Than Words.
He's curated an extremely trendy, but useful and beautiful collection of bric-a-brac. Lee manages to include home dĂŠcor, fashion accessories, and stationary, amongst other items. There are all natural plant pods dipped in paint and repurposed as planters (meta! $6), super-cute hand-painted cards ($6), hanging shelves made from the sides of old wooden crates ($30), and small leather pouches made by Baggu ($40).
Lee moved to New York eight years ago to pursue photography, and he wanted to bring some of the quirky art he encounters there back to his hometown.
"I'm constantly collecting and moving around random knick-knacks in my apartment in Brooklyn, and I thought it would be really fun to do the same out of a shop," he tells me in an email from New York.
He plans to bring back new items regularly to add to the collection. He's bringing some jewelry and some avocado-shaped planters soon. Lee says a lot of the fun in running this business lies in discovering new designers. Sometimes he buys items for himself and then decides to reach out to the designers, or he'll read about someone on a blog, or meet someone in a bar. Because of the local nature of much of his sourcing, many of the current designs come from studios in Brooklyn.
"Not every item is hand crafted by a designer, but I want to make sure that there is definitely a point of view and consistency in the aesthetics of the store and the items. Even if that aesthetic is just 'things that I personally find cool.'"
I asked Lee if he plans to expand to a potentially more visible storefront area. He's going to add to the collection every month or so, and he says on his next trip he might take over another corner of the store.
"I think we'll just have to see how things go."