It's Small Business Week in Ontario. To celebrate, the Township of Oro-Medonte is turning the spotlight on five innovative small businesses that epitomize this year's theme of entrepreneurial resilience and adaptation in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The third of five articles, submitted by the township, focuses on the Flowered Cow Farmhouse Furniture/Decor and Shabby Chic Tea Room.
Fancy tea service, furniture restoration, artisanal gift shopping and hands-on painting workshops are now underway in a lovingly restored old church in Oro-Medonte.
The Flowered Cow Farmhouse Furniture/Decor and Shabby Chic Tearoom opened in September right beside the new Dwellings retail location in Craighurst.
This charming new establishment features a curated selection of retail goods including farmhouse painted furniture and home decor, gourmet food items like artisanal oils and vinegars, handmade jewelry and a build-your-own-bouquet flower bar where people can create their own dried bouquets. The Flowered Cow also holds painting workshops on location.
The Flowered Cow owner Michele Duivenvoorden sells her farmhouse furniture along with other works from five local artisans, and uses the proceeds of some items to give to a local charity.
The timing of opening The Flowered Cow during a pandemic was unusual, she explains, but the response from the Oro-Medonte community has been great.
“People are surprised that we opened during all of this but they say how pleased they are to get out in the community," said Duivenvoorden. "People say that they feel comfortable in our shop and enjoy shopping local.”
The Shabby Chic Tea Room located in the rear of The Flowered Cow space serves up a premium range of hot artisanal teas in fine bone china.
Tea room guests can savour a cup or pot of tea on its own, or order up a fuller high tea-like experience with fresh baked scones, delightful finger sandwiches or delicate desserts. The tea room experience is ideal for bridal showers, girls' get-togethers or special events. Private tea parties are also available.
Currently, the tea room is open Wednesday through Sunday and reservations are suggested. To maintain the utmost in safety, tea room tables are spaced apart and the tea room has a smaller capacity right now to observe social distancing.
The Shabby Chic Tea Room was first inspired by the fond memories that Duivenvoorden shared with her mother and sister. Drawing on her Irish heritage, Duivenvoorden sipped tea with her mother who she says “believed that a good cup of tea could fix everything.”
As a tribute to her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s, Duivenvoorden sells special teacup candles and donates proceeds to the Simcoe Alzheimer's Society. In her opening month, she was able to donate $200.
The Flowered Cow offers a series of in-person workshops on Wednesday evenings where participants can learn the art of furniture painting, canvas painting, front porch sign creation and more.
The workshops, which are held from 6 to 8 p.m., cost $60 which includes supplies and tea. Furniture paint, including a special milk paint, is also sold in the shop.
Duivenvoorden explains that the goal behind her multi-faceted business is to ultimately create community and honour others.
“My focus is to bring people together and create memories in the tea room and refresh memories with antique pieces that need a touch of freshness," she said.
“As a resident of Oro-Medonte for over 18 years, I’m so proud to have my business here in our community.”
For more information, visit The Flowered Cow website at www.thefloweredcow.ca.