In light of the havoc Covid-19 is wrecking on many businesses, I am recommending 5 local small businesses in Windsor-Essex that you should support in no particular order. Each one is owned by hardworking people who care about their products and what they are selling. Many of these were featured in The Best of Windsor Cookbook by Jonathan Pinto but deserve to be mentioned again, and again, and again.
The Cheese Bar
The Cheese Bar is owned and operated by Sara at her new space in Tecumseh. She sources gourmet cheeses and spreads from across Ontario, Quebec, and PEI, then sells them at local shops and the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market. She has grown from pop-ups to a space where she hosts classes from how to make a cheese board to special events with local chefs. You must order ahead of time and try the cheese curds when they are in stock!
You’ve got to try: Tipsy, Brigid’s Brie, Five Brothers, Cheese Curds.
Where to find The Cheese Bar: 25 Amy Croft Drive Unit 29-30B St Clair Beach, ON
Blak’s Bakery has been owned and operated by the Blak family since 1918. Their bread starter has been growing since that time. I have been buying their bread and baked goods for the restaurant I manage and my own household for the past five years. Every week a line of people waits to get loaves of marble rye, light rye, donuts, and other baked goods. It’s a small storefront with two main display cases featuring a selection of pastries and donuts.
You’ve got to try: A variety of Rye Bread, Donuts, Paczki, Cronuts.
Where to find Blak’s Bakery: 1022 Langlois Ave, Windsor Ontario N9A 2H5
Robbie’s Gourmet Sausages
I first tried Robbie’s Gourmet Sausages after hearing about him at The Best of Windsor Cookbook launch. I was so inspired by his story, I decided to stop in. His hobby was sausage making for 10 years before he decided to open up the store. Rob opened up Robbie’s Gourmet Sausages in 2015 to showcase this love for making sausage, but he doesn’t just make any sausage. His stock constantly rotates from over 100 inventive varieties. He makes the best chorizo sausage outside of Mexico that I have tried. JBStrong’s No Big Dill is so popular, people wait in line hoping to buy a few packages before he sells out.
You’ve got to try: Chorizo, Buffalo Hot Wing, JBStrong No Big Dill.
Where to find Robbie’s Gourmet Sausages: 1506-1512 Wyandotte Street East Windsor, Ontario N9A 3L2
Bouchard Gardens is a garden center and farm in Harrow run by the Bouchard family since 1973. They provide locally-grown vegetables and flowers at a variety of markets in the area including the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market and the Amherstburg Farmers Market. Steve Bouchard is an incredibly nice man who grows excellent produce. I tend to stock up on asparagus, zucchini, and butternut squash when he has it. You can now order online as well!
You’ve got to try: Their produce.
Where to find Bouchard Gardens: 6812 Essex County Road #50
Chance Coffee was first opened by Ryan in 2017. Chance Coffee is a local micro-roaster that focuses on selling delicious roasted coffee to cafes, restaurants, and coffee fans. Along with selling online, he is also at the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. It’s become my habit to buy a coffee from him while walking around and looking at other stalls. I wouldn’t consider myself a coffee connoisseur, by any means, but I like that he is so willing to share where he sources his coffee beans from and a bit about the producers themselves. Right now, he is offering free delivery within Windsor-Essex.
You’ve got to try: Going to the market and meeting him. He’ll suggest a good coffee for you!
Where to find Chance Coffee: Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market on Pelissier and Maiden Lane West, at The Cheese Bar, on his website.
Did you enjoy this post? Have you tried any of these 5 local small businesses in Windsor-Essex? Let me know in the comments or write me on IG! If you purchase from any of these businesses, please share your finds on social media, tag them, and @finnyfromscratch. Every social media share helps new customers find them.