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City finds treasure in Serendipity Boutique

Alycia Douglass

Published on April 19, 2017

Maison Baldwin House Executive Director, Debbie Fortier stands proudly beside the newly opened, Serendipity sign. (Alycia Douglass/TC Media)

CORNWALL, Ontario - After months of anticipation, Serendipity Boutique officially opened its doors to the public this Wednesday, Apr. 19.

The latest brainchild of Maison Baldwin House, the boutique features a wide variety of quality clothing items, all priced at affordable set rates. Donated by people within the community, the main idea behind Serendipity is finding treasures by happenstance.

Executive Director, Debbie Fortier says that in a way, Maison Baldwin House found their boutique’s location by serendipitous circumstances.

“We are amazingly blessed to have found this building – it had been closed up, and sat idle in the community for a number of years” said Fortier. “It’s kind of a rose amongst the thorns – when I found this building, I could not let go. I knew it was the right spot.”

Located in the heart of the city, the boutique is just steps away from bus stops, making it an accessible stop for everyone.

Fortier, who has been Executive Director with Maison Baldwin House for 33 years, says that the decision to open a boutique came as a creative solution to an ongoing issue.

“Every year we struggle to meet operating costs. What the ministry funds us and what it costs to run a 24/7 organization leads to a deficit of about $70,000 a year that we have to raise,” said Fortier. “We tried to be very creative in finding ways to use all the wonderful things the community was bringing to us – and yet, every cent that is raised here will go back to the shelter.”

Women staying at Maison Baldwin House will be able to shop at Serendipity for free, and Fortier says she is currently reaching out to other community organizations the boutique could benefit.

“I truly believe that Serendipity is a gift to the community, but the community is a gift to Maison Baldwin House as well,” said Fortier.

Check out their Facebook page for more information about Serendipity, or to see what’s currently on the shelves.