Niagara-on-the-Lake is known as a place to enjoy good food, a quiet picnic by the lake and great glass of wine.
Now, a new business in Old Town is bringing those three things together.
PicNic by Cheese Secrets, which opened its doors at 38 Queen St. in June, specializes in “everything picnic,” says general manager Lauren Callighen.
The store is affiliated with Cheese Secrets, a NOTL business owned by the Allard family, which specializes in artisan cheeses and charcuterie platters.
Callighen said PicNic was a natural extension of the business, which will use the cheese and meats from Cheese Secrets as part of its picnic platters.
“Because they supply and procure all the cheeses and meats at Cheese Secrets, and they often get people asking for sandwiches or boxes and that kind of thing, they thought, 'Well, hey there's obviously a market for this.' And so when the shop came up for lease they kind of jumped on that opportunity and here we are,” she said.
“We pack your picnic, we prepare your picnic from start to finish, we sell baskets, we sell picnic blankets, we have like everything that you need for a picnic.”
People can also rent picnic baskets and bring them back to the store.
They've got picnic baskets sourced from all around Niagara, Callighen said, and some date back to the 1900s.
“We have some really cool pieces of history in our shop,” she said.
Business has been good so far and is steadily increasing.
The store is also partnering with other local businesses, like bike tours, bed and breakfasts, and local farmers.
Much of the fruit and produce comes from Annie Allard's own farm, Callighen said, and the store is interested in developing further partnerships.
“The support and the positive feedback from the community has been phenomenal. We've been really lucky to have that foundation,” she said.
She said picnicking is on the rise, not just because of the pandemic, but also as a post-pandemic outing.
“It's a great thing to do in the region. We have so many great green spaces and public parks and coastal frontage, so people are always looking for somewhere where they can pick up a picnic.”