Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Avant-Garden Shop is more than just a garden shop

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Avant-Garden Shop is more than just a garden shop

Located at 165 Sherbrooke Street in downtown Peterborough, Avant-Garden Shop specializes in home and garden decor and accessories, backyard birding supplies, and art pieces from more than 75 Canadian and some from overseas artisans.  (Photo: Avant Garden Store)
Located at 165 Sherbrooke Street in downtown Peterborough, Avant-Garden Shop specializes in home and garden decor and accessories, backyard birding supplies, and art pieces from more than 75 Canadian and some from overseas artisans. (Photo: Avant Garden Store)

Expect the unexpected at Avant-Garden.

What started as a retailer selling high-end outdoor garden decor 15 years ago is now a gift paradise filled with a variety of eclectic items. The Avant-Garden Shop is the perfect destination to find a special gift for a friend, gardener or bird lover or to find something unconventional to breathe new life into a dreary room.

“Despite the name, we are more than just a garden store,” says owner Brenda Eby, who opened the store in 2002 with business partners Dave and Elaine McLeod. Brenda eventually took over running the business full time in 2008.

Owner Brenda Eby is an advocate for the local boutique movement, and is proud to say that she personally knows some of the people and stories behind many of the collections her store carries.  This year it celebrates 15 years in business and recently won the Client First Award at the Peterborough Business Excellence Awards.  (Photo: Peterborough DBIA)
Owner Brenda Eby is an advocate for the local boutique movement, and is proud to say that she personally knows some of the people and stories behind many of the collections her store carries. This year it celebrates 15 years in business and recently won the Client First Award at the Peterborough Business Excellence Awards. (Photo: Peterborough DBIA)

Located at 165 Sherbrooke Street in downtown Peterborough, the store offers a wide selection of home and garden decor, gardening accessories and backyard bird supplies, including the Squirrel Buster Plus, a best-selling squirrel-proof bird feeder, as well as The Garden Bandit. , the number one weeding tool.

You’ll also find cards for all occasions created by independent artists, as well as perfumes, wind chimes, bath products and even jewelry. Other popular store items are the multi-patterned and colorful Happy Socks, Tilley hats and unique metal wall art.

The gift shop also has one-of-a-kind items including perfumes, wind chimes, bath products, jewelry, happy socks, Tilly hats, and unique metal wall art.  (Photo: Paula Kehoe)
The gift shop also has one-of-a-kind items including perfumes, wind chimes, bath products, jewelry, happy socks, Tilly hats, and unique metal wall art. (Photo: Paula Kehoe)
The store's interior and exterior wall artwork is a bestseller. "No one else in the area has such outdoor murals made in Canada." Brenda says of her extensive collection sourced from artists in British Columbia and Ontario.  (Photo: Paula Kehoe
The store’s interior and exterior wall artwork is a bestseller. “No one else in the region has as much outdoor wall art made in Canada,” Brenda says of her extensive collection sourced from artists in British Columbia and Ontario. (Photo: Paula Kehoe

“No one else in the region has as much outdoor wall art made in Canada,” Brenda says of her extensive collection drawn from artists in British Columbia and Ontario.

If you’re a hardcore gardener looking for a plant nursery, Brenda says you’ll be surprised.

“You won’t find plants or soil here,” she laughs. However, if you need the perfect accessory to suit your green thumb, Avant-Garden Shop has it all.

Another hit with customers is the Wall of Happy Socks, which are made from recycled cotton and come in a variety of vibrant colors and patterns.  Socks are a unique gift for men and women that are sure to show off the fun, vibrant side of the wearer.  (Photo: Paula Kehoe)
Another hit with customers is the Wall of Happy Socks, which are knit from recycled cotton and come in a variety of vibrant colors and patterns. Socks are a unique gift for men and women that are sure to show off the fun, vibrant side of the wearer. (Photo: Paula Kehoe)

With authenticity and quality in mind, they carry the finest handcrafted products from over 75 Canadian and a number of American artisans, along with some fair trade items.

“We feel it’s very important to support the local community as much as we can,” says Brenda. She’s an advocate for the local store movement, and is proud to say that she personally knows some of the people and stories behind many of the collections they carry.

The Squirrel Buster Plus (pictured here) is Avant-Garden Shop's best-selling squirrel-proof bird feeder.  The store began as a retailer of high-end outdoor garden decor and quickly grew to include backyard birding supplies for outdoor enthusiasts.  (Photo: Paula Kehoe)
The Squirrel Buster Plus (pictured here) is Avant-Garden Shop’s best-selling squirrel-proof bird feeder. The store began as a retailer of high-end outdoor garden decor and quickly grew to include backyard birding supplies for outdoor enthusiasts. (Photo: Paula Kehoe)

Before owning Avant-Garden Shop, Brenda learned the value of “Canadian Made” while working for 13 years at GreenUp, a Peterborough environmental non-profit whose mission is to promote environmental health in the region.

“I have become well aware of the importance of local economic development and supporting our community,” she says. “Not just by being green and doing things like recycling or composting, but by buying local and buying Canadian.”

The Avant-Garden Shop features a large group of Canadian artists: Jean-Pierre Schuss and Brenda Tucker of Uxbridge, who create animal motifs and landscape images from recycled propane, water and oil tanks; Ron Stevens of Abbotsford, who uses sheet metal to produce wildlife and domestic critters; and Wendy Stanwyck of Mattachewan, a jeweler who uses locally sourced diamond drill samples to create her stunning jewelry line. And many more, from coast to coast.

A trip to Brenda’s store often involves meeting someone she knows from the neighborhood, exchanging gardening tips, or how to attract more birds to her yard.

If you're looking for comic art, the Avant-Garden Shop carries unique sets like this one by Uxbridge artists Jean-Pierre Schuss and Brenda Tucker.  They create animal figures and nature images from recycled propane, water and oil tanks.  (Photo: Paula Kehoe)
If you’re looking for comic art, the Avant-Garden Shop carries unique sets like this one by Uxbridge artists Jean-Pierre Schuss and Brenda Tucker. They create animal figures and nature images from recycled propane, water and oil tanks. (Photo: Paula Kehoe)

Over the years, Brenda has set high standards for her store and her efforts have been recognized by the business community. Last month, it received the Customer First Award at the Peterborough Business Excellence Awards. It’s located behind the storefront – next to the Retailer of the Year award it won in 2012.

“This award shows recognition for our business and the work we do,” says Brenda. “We strive to put the customer first and, most importantly, keep them happy.”

They are true to their word. Brenda and her husband, Clayton, make house calls to customers’ homes to help with bird feeder and pole system installations – at no additional charge.

And while a trip to the Avant-Garden Shop is always worth the trip, all of this is also available at your fingertips once you visit their online store at www.avantgardenshop.com.

Not only will customers find it as easy to shop as in a physical store, but they will also find the opportunity to interact with the Avant-Garden Shop through the newsletter and social media platforms, as well as a blog with gardening tips.

Video: Avant Garden store

You can also watch Brenda weekly on Peterborough’s CHEX TV in informative three-minute segments about bird feeding, gardening and recreational products available in the store.

On Thursday, November 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Avant-Garden Shop invites the community to come to the store to celebrate Customer Appreciation Day — and to celebrate 15 years in business — with door prizes, refreshments and giveaways. Tax on all store items.

The Avant-Garden store is located at 165 Sherbrooke Street in Peterborough. Business hours are 9:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, and 9:30am to 5pm on Saturday.

Take a virtual tour of the Avant-Garden Shop

For more information, call 705-743-0068 or email info@avantgardenshop.com. To browse and shop online, visit www.avantgardenshop.com.

You can also contact them on Facebook, TwitterYouTube and Instagram.

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