25 years later, the Preferred Perch is still blazing trails in Manitoba
November holds some important dates for The Preferred Perch. First, November 1st marks the 25th anniversary of the store’s opening! Second, later in the month, I celebrate my 50th birthday! I often question where the time has gone but seriously! To think I have dedicated half of my life to my store really is unbelievable. It has been a wonderful ride with many experiences, meeting many people and making many friendships along the way. There is no question there were also many hardships but it was all part of this amazing journey that continues today.
The Preferred Perch began as being a first for Manitoba birders, a place for quality wild bird products. Being the avid nature nut I am, I used to see all these amazing wild bird products in magazines that were only sold in the U.S. It felt quite special to be the first store to bring these types of products to Manitoba. The next step we took was to hire a carpenter to build our own line of feeders, custom designed for the species seen here. We also brought in a wide variety of premium food choices from local farmers and abroad that were incomparable to qualities or selections found in hardware and department stores.
About five years later, it was time to expand the business a bit so we moved into nature-themed gifts and garden décor. The goal was to find unique, quality items for all nature lovers. The internet was really not as extensive as it is today so trade shows were the main avenue to seek out suitable products. This side of the store has always been a fun and enjoyable area to look through with an ever-changing selection. To this day, many customers say it is their secret gift shop because they can always find that special item and enjoy the amount of choices and price-ranges.
The next venture The Preferred Perch diversified into was the world of rocks and crystals. This kept in line with the nature theme of the store but brought a new clientele. People that are interested in this line are those with geological interests in the specimens. They often seek out unusual formations, look for rare pieces, or even the region they are from. There is also a metaphysical aspect to rocks and crystals. Many ancient cultures such as the Mayans used them for many reasons: carrying certain stones when going to battle was said to protect those who fought. Ancient Egypt had strong beliefs in stones and many of the mummies that have been unearthed are often found with stones in their tombs. They believed these stones would help those who passed to have a safe journey into the next life among other beliefs. Many of these uses have carried on into today’s world but most people just enjoy the rocks and crystals for their beauty. Home décor has taken a real shine to adding beautiful, natural rock formations as table settings, feature pieces in entrance ways, or even something as simple as glass jars filled with colourful tumbled stones placed in just the right spot.
What makes The Preferred Perch so unique is that we have our three main lines along with many great things in between. Organic teas and triple certified coffee, wind chimes, bone china, puzzles, organic essential oils, sterling silver gemstone jewelry, beeswax candles, and so much more.
It has been an honour to bring all these wonderful items to Manitoba over the years. I am very grateful to all the long-time customers and their amazing support. Many of you have been with us from the start and have been great promoters of the store. I share in this 25 years of success with you! To all of the new customers, we are so pleased you have found your way to this Manitoba-made treasure and look forward to introducing you to all we offer. It has been a wonderful 25 years and I look forward to many more!
The COVID-19 situation certainly has been a challenge for everyone and every business. The one thing I would like to remind you all of is that nature is our greatest medicine. Being at home more has made many of us slow down a bit and take a look at what is around us. Many of you got into feeding the birds and found the joy and delight they can bring. They really can lift your spirits and take your mind off the stresses in the world. It is important to keep healthy both mentally and physically so enhancing your home, yard, or even your balcony with a touch of nature is very healing. I wish you all the best in health and wellness and encourage you all to support all the great little shops we have in and around Manitoba so that they too can celebrate a 25 year milestone and beyond!
Sherrie Versluis owns the Preferred Perch on St. Mary’s Road. Happy Birthday, Sherrie!