Brooke's co-worker, guarding the entrance to Likely General — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson
Ironically, at Likely General store in Toronto, there is nothing you are "likely" to acquire. The beautiful and bright-eyed owner Brooke Manning is the type of person who can stay on the pulse of what's hot and wear bright orange lipstick without getting any on her teeth. Her Roncesvalles store is modern and trendy, with just a hint of retro. It's a store made for browsing.
The view as soon as you walk in the door - so much to see! — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson
Brooke focuses on selling items that are local and hand-made by up-and-coming designers and artists. Every single week, there is a new item on the shelves to discover. It's a shopaholics worst nightmare/best friend.
The one thing you can be certain about is that Likely General always stays fresh and relevant, with tidy displays that invite curious eyes to scan the length of the shelves. Themes stay seasonal, such as during the spring when flowered gardening tools provide the "after" picture for the final image that every gardener has in his or her mind.
You can see Brooke's sense of humor in her choice of other products, such as the conservation soap that suggests sharing with a friend in order to save water. That could be a very fun way to stay eco-conscious.
Gardening tools and soaps — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson
"We believe in actively participating in the inevitable cyclical action of consumerism responsibly, with the integrity of the Maker at the forefront," Brooke says, elaborating on the conscious theme of her store. "We believe in creating a more established and developed connection between the two, and we are very passionate about the work we love to support."
One of the corners of Likely General — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson
After you sift through the bright items at the front, you can walk alongside the cards and faux girl guide patches to get to the children's section. Onesies cheekily declare "I'm Being Raised by Wolves," and as if to prove the point, lavender calm kid spray is available for harried parents. The available kids products have a minimalist and hippy vibe, with vegetable-based paints and toys that will make you reminisce about the time when your stuffed animal was all that you needed.
Picnic baskets are propped up, and a trunk holds the sale items, such as a charming cut-out "I'm Sorry" sign.
Near the back of the store — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson
Manning attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, which is esteemed for its cutting-edge graduates. Going into her store feels like hanging out with the cool kids. You won't be pushed to buy anything, but you will certainly be tempted by the many one-of-a-kind (or five-of-a-kind) options.
Manning opens her store twice a month on Sunday for gatherings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to "meet new faces and learn a new skill."
During this two-hour period, Brooke says, "Artists and designers affiliated with the shop teach a comfortable class after shop hours, inviting the community to learn their skill."
These sessions can move the customer from an admirer of art to an artist.
Likely General feels filled with hope, passion and creativity. It gives you the things you can't buy as well as the things you can.
Just try not to browse . . . — Photo courtesy of Andrew Williamson