The Livery Shop’s Cheers to Inglewood cocktail is aptly named Barn Burner, and outdoorsy twist on a classic Cosmopolitan that’s a blend of mezcal, tequila, lime and cranberry juices, cherry syrup, juniper bitters and absinthe water.
Housed in the East End Livery Barn, The Livery Shop opened in November 2014 and embodies the contrast between outdoor spirit and urban style that exists within Calgarians—particularly the store’s anchor brands, Camp Brand Goods and CoutuKitsch. Co-owners Connor Gould of Camp Brand Goods and Kofi Oteng of CoutuKitsch also strive to support local, Canadian and start-up companies that share the spirit of The Livery Shop.
Connor: We knew we wanted to be down here, but initially our intention was not to open a store—it was to open a workshop for ourselves. But driving around, we saw the building and thought it awesome. With The Nash opening up as a neighbour it seemed like a no-brainer. We basically signed the lease quite quickly to make the switch from ok, we’re just trying to find an office to now we’ve got to try and open up a full store. But it was a really organic process and it was just Camp Brand Goods and CoutuKitsch to begin with. We opened at the best time of year, which was right before Christmas
Had we opened in January it probably would have been a totally different story, but we got the word out there and it was great. Within a couple months it blossomed into this little concept store, and it’s growing and changing almost on a monthly basis.
Kofi: There’s the renaissance in Inglewood too. The fact that, there was an article in 2015 that named Inglewood Canada’s Greatest Neighbourhood, according to the Canadian Institute of Planners. Stuff like that gives us good exposure, and people like the store mix here: there’s a lot of mom-and-pop shops here and that’s how you get that real culture.
Connor: It started out as my wife, Leslie, and I—we run Camp Brand Goods and Kofi and his wife, Dorian, run CoutuKitsch—basically our two brands are the anchors of the store. What we’ve done is over time picked brands that we like, products we would buy ourselves and products that complement both of our brands. We’re always shopping and finding new stuff to bring in the store.
Kofi: The product mix is changing, and the culture is changing because we’re growing as a team. That reflects what’s going on in Inglewood—all the buildings and all the new shops going up, it’s a reflection of the neighbourhood and the store together.
Connor: Because we opened at the end of 2014, we don’t really have a handle on what old Inglewood was like. We came in and things were really positive, everything was booming. The culture between business owners is super nice. There’s definitely that changing of the guard it seems, having a very new, hip, contemporary neighbourhood but keeping that feel of the historic roots. It’s nice to see that it’s not bigger chains moving in—it’s young entrepreneurs or people that really want to keep that vibe going.
Kofi: It also goes with the downturn in oil. I think when that happened to Alberta this time, more people woke up and started doing their own thing. We had an uprising in entrepreneurship that kind of hit. We do shows like Market Collective, and there’s always more and more new businesses popping up, which I think is a gift and a curse—the curse being our economy went down, but it opened up a new sector. I think Inglewood is the pinnacle of it in Calgary.
Connor: When we first came into Inglewood, what I realized was it’s a super supportive neighbourhood. All of the locals down here are shopping down here, they’re coming by to check the shop out, even if they’re not buying anything they’re coming in to say hello. The barn has quite a history with this neighbourhood. We were pretty much the first shop in it with open doors, so people could come in and check it out. Before us it was a studio set, so it wasn’t a shop-able store.
Connor: The Nash, obviously. I would say my favourite shop down here is Plant. It’s always got such a good vibe. If it’s a gloomy day or it’s the middle of winter, it’s just such a nice store to go into because it’s so fresh. Mike does such a good job of curating that place. And then Rosso Coffee Roasters and Cold Garden.
Kofi: I like Recordland. They’ve got a huge selection. I also like Plant; it’s an incredible store. Plant’s also special because it opened around the same time as us and the Nash. We also did trade shows with them, like Market Collective.
Connor: I think the eclectic mix of places down here is very similar to what our store is about, and it’s that small-town kind of feel. We love the overall community vibe, and for Camp it’s what we’ve built our brand on. The Livery Shop, in historical times, it started out as being where you would park your horses if you were staying at the hotel. When it turned into more of a barn and a staple for selling chickens and pigs, it was really a community meeting space, and that’s the feeling I get with Inglewood is it’s always a wave on the street or a hello
Kofi: Also the pop-up shops that we have. It’s all mom-and-pop shops, like Connor said, and I think we reflect that. I think we’re going to have two on average per week during the summer, so we can put Calgary’s finest on display, all the up and comers, the new entrepreneurs. It’s good to represent them and support them at the same time.
Connor: I think the main difference between our store and other stores that are around is that the two anchors really are the house brands. The fact that it’s the workshop and retail space for both Camp Brand Goods and CoutuKitsch—both brands are very different from one another, but it works. When we started, we were always side by side at Market Collective. You’d have somebody buy a sweatshirt at our booth and then go buy a pair of earrings from them, or vice versa. Camp Brand stuff is not so much dress up-dress down, but you see a lot of people doing that and it works well. It’s sort of that mix of outdoor-casual to more city, upbeat stuff.
Kofi: Which is collectively what Calgary is. We always display it. Camp Brand Goods represents the outdoors and CoutuKitsch is more urban in our essence, and it just works for the person going to the mountains or the person going downtown, which is five minutes away. We select brands based off our anchor brands.
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