The Hive is a self-described cottage supply store, food shop and spa nestled between the trees in Honey Harbour, Georgian Bay. The owner, Lauren Patchett, fondly remembers weekends and summers spent at the family cottage on the Bay. During that time, she had worked at the Hive as a seasonal employee before deciding to purchase the store in 2014. Wanting to breathe new life into the Hive, she pulled inspiration from her childhood memories of Muskoka and Georgian Bay’s natural charm. “When people come to our store it’s the same feeling they get when they arrive at their cottage — it’s relaxed, personable, comfortable and familiar”.
The Hive shares a similar vision with the Township of Georgian Bay, emphasizing care for the environment and customers in all that they do. Lauren states that to be successful in Muskoka, “You really have to pay attention to sustainable goals in your business. Thinking about the long haul and being responsible to the area in which you’re opening up in is important”. To help preserve and showcase Georgian Bay’s historic beauty, the Hive works with Georgian Bay Land Trust and Georgian Bay Forever. Both not-for-profit organizations are committed to protecting the land and aquatic ecosystems of Georgian Bay. The Hive donated every cent from one summer of yoga classes hosted on their dock towards Georgian Bay Land Trust. To help educate the public about Georgian Bay’s ecosystems, the Hive assists Georgian Bay Forever by distributing publications and newsletters.
The shop proclaims its love for Georgian Bay with pride, funnelling inspiration from the beautiful waters and windswept pines into procurement of unique and local products. Although Lauren buys items that she feels are useful at the cottage and on Georgian Bay as a whole, she recognizes the importance of keeping up with trends elsewhere. “We look at what and how products can translate up here [Georgian Bay] because a large part of our audience is city people”. Despite this large urban audience, Lauren planted roots in Muskoka because of its future growth potential:
“The city [Toronto] has its fair share of stores, the area is saturated… We realized that everybody and their brother are deciding to move up North. The real estate market just keeps coming in waves. For me, there was no other option. This is where I live and this is where I’m going to open a store. It’s definitely a growing market.”
If all the yoga and shopping work up an appetite, indulge in tasty treats from their food shop, Ciboulette et Cie. Ciboulette et Cie is an eatery that creates partnerships between local producers, farmers and chefs. If you prefer experimenting in your own kitchen, the Hive is introducing an extended grocery selection this summer of Canadian-made rubs, condiments, preserves and salts. To help bring local produce to your table, the Hive serves as a pickup location for ClearWater Farms fresh food baskets. The Hive strives to satisfy every craving while ensuring that the local economy and environment benefits just as much as you do.
End your trip to the Hive with one of their spa treatments, successfully pairing urban comfort with the relaxing pace often associated with Muskoka.
The desire for life on the Bay is influencing many entrepreneurs to establish businesses further north. For the Hive, this lifestyle inspires their overall business philosophy of keeping it simple, being kind to customers and protecting what they love the most - Georgian Bay.
Check out the Hive at 18 Franks Lane or online at thehivehoneyharbour.ca. You can also keep updated through their Instagram or Facebook.