St Thomas Downtown VIBE - March 2024

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Yummy Menu, Charming Gifts


Human creativity can sometimes lead to unimaginable possibilities. For owner, Ellen Yin, what once started with a sticker has now grown into a full-time business.

“We started with a sticker sheet in 2020 since I love journaling. I shared illustrations of the character I designed, Jancat, on social media and he became quite popular. I started to sell products out of my home studio like stickers, accessories, and embroidered apparel. Now we have our very first Jancat Art café,” explains Ellen. “Today we’re excited to have 100k followers across different social media platforms and we’re hoping to bring more joy and positivity to the amazing community with our creations.”

Ellen hasn’t stopped there with scaling her business. After opening the shop in October 2023, Ellen and her husband, Kirill Erokhin, soon added a café to half of the space. “I have experience with start-up businesses, so I have helped Ellen along the way with administration,” Kirill remarks. “The café is something that we are both really excited about. We serve drinks like coffee, tea, and bubble tea. Our food menu includes Hungry Cat sandwich, mochi, cat pretzels, Japanese-style berry

Message from DDB

Spring is in the air everywhere I look around. Well, not exactly how the real song lyrics go but my version is certainly representative of the great weather we’ve experienced over the last few weeks. And with spring comes renewed life in Downtown St. Thomas.

shortcake, and more.”

“Jancat Art is an aesthetic art café and a mini-factory where you can find stickers, keychains, pouches, tote bags, t-shirts, embroidered sweatshirts, and other stationery and clothing items. We oversee every step of making our products. We focus on the design, usability, and convenience of each item. We also offer services to help other businesses grow and market themselves, such as custombranded clothing/uniforms, mugs, keychains, stickers, and more,” Ellen shares.

Ellen created all menu item recipes at the café, focusing on natural ingredients and minimizing additives and artificial

flavours. Ellen and Kirill test their creations repeatedly before offering them to their customers. “I’m a big foodie and very particular about food. Sharing unique Asian drinks and snacks is something I have always been passionate about,” shares Ellen.

You can contact Ellen for any questions on Instagram @jancat_art or visit Jancat Art Café at 584 Talbot Street.

A perfect reason to get out and take a look at the many new shops that have sprung up over the winter.

And with spring comes a fun Downtown activity. We have confirmed that the Easter Bunny will be visiting our Downtown on Saturday March 30th from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. to hand out chocolate treats and giving you a chance for a great photo op with the kids. Plus, there’s a chance to win 1 of 3 $100 Downtown Dollar prizes - visit to print your passport then drop by a few participating businesses between 10 a.m.–5 p.m. for a validation stamp.

Then, visit us at the St Thomas Home Show on April 12th–14th and enter a ballot for a chance to win $250. Downtown Dollars each day of the show.

Love Where You Shop - Downtown St Thomas #ShopLocal.


Liberating You From Your Financial Woes

Filing taxes. We all must do them every year and for some this can be a daunting task —especially for a business owner.

help ease your stress when it comes to tax season, but that’s not the only thing they can help with. “We are a one-stopshop for financial services. We also offer accounting, bookkeeping, payroll processing, insurance, investments, mortgages, real estate and more,” explains owner, Vishal Bezawada. “You no longer have to go to multiple places for multiple services. We do it all here.”

Bezawada has been in the industry for 15 years and took over Liberty Tax four

years ago. “We provide exceptional client service, so that you can have peace of mind. We have licensed advisors in the office all day and welcome you, whether you are looking for accounting service or to buy a house,” states Bezawada.

It’s important for Bezawada and his team to stay up to date on the latest information in the industry, so they participate in training regularly to go over the new standards of each service.

“I’ve saved businesses thousands of dollars on their tax return, and love seeing their reactions,” remarks Bezawada. “I look forward to continuing to build my presence in the local community.”

Experience a Delectable Taste of India!

Liberty Tax is open Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 7 pm during tax season. You can also call 226.271.3945 or email for further inquiries.

Centuries old, popular recipes with a coveted blend of spices result in a confluence of flavours and aromas at The Clay Oven, 648 Talbot Street, St. Thomas!

Open for several months, its delicious menu has earned many positive reviews in a short time. “We create a welcoming

atmosphere where you can enjoy your meal and have a great time,” assures owner, Syed Sadeque. “We take pride in our service and the quality of the food. Our food is also great for takeout!”

The Clay Oven has served many customers including adults, families, and seniors. “It’s important for us to

communicate well, stay consistent and efficient,” remarks Sadeque.

He operated in Acton, Ontario for seven years before moving his business to St. Thomas. “It has been a great opportunity meeting the locals and building trust with them as we continue to delight and grow,” expresses Sadeque.

He and his team are constantly looking to enhance their offering. To that end, they ask their guests for feedback, network in the community and participate in further professional development.

“We are proud to be a part of this wonderful community and do our share to help those in need,” adds Sadeque.

To order takeout, reserve a table, or receive answers for further inquiries, call 519.637.8777. Takeout orders can also be made through DoorDash, Skip The Dishes, and UberEats.

Vim, Vigour and Vibe
Liberty Tax at 481 Talbot Street can

A Cozy Venue for Memorable Events

Life can be full of milestones, all of which are worth celebrating. Whether it be a birthday part, micro wedding, or retirement party, The Nook at 567 Talbot Street is a cozy and clean space where you can make great memories.

“The Nook is a modern, bright rental space unlike anything else in St. Thomas,” remarks co-owner, Lisa Peacock. “Not only is it perfect for special events, but the space can be used for pop-up markets, yoga classes, photoshoots and more,” adds Joanne Hart, co-owner.

Sisters Lisa and Joanne grew up in St. Thomas and created the venue together in 2018. “We pride ourselves in offering personalized service for every client. We are there for our customers from beginning to end of their booking to ensure their event goes perfectly. Building lasting relationships is important to us,” shares Lisa.

Every spring, Lisa and Joanne refresh the space to keep it looking up

to date. “We stay on top of trends by attending shows such as The London Bridal Expo. We switch out the décor often and are always introducing new add-ons for customers to rent,” states Joanne.

For anyone planning a small wedding, you may want to consider their Micro Wedding Package. “Having a small wedding takes out the hassle of planning a big event. You can plan your perfect day at an affordable price without sacrificing what you have always envisioned,” says Lisa.

“We love seeing the different events come together and witnessing the host transform the space into their own. It’s always so much fun,” exclaims Joanne.

For any inquiries, visit the contact page on their website,, or email

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St. Thomas


One pretzel tale claims in 1614 Switzerland, royal couples used pretzels in wedding ceremonies as a similar practice to wishbones. In fact, many believe this may have led to the phrase “tying the knot.”

Regardless of its origins, the pretzel quickly became a staple across Europe, beloved by peasants and nobility. It wasn’t just a tasty snack but a symbol of good luck and prosperity. In some regions, it was customary for children to wear pretzel necklaces on New Year’s Day for good fortune.

When you step into Opa’s Pretzels, you may even catch an image of Oma sporting the look, sharing that good fortune with granddaughters Karen and Kaitlin, who are twisting up their own tale with their Opa’s traditional German-style pretzels as the main character.

Pretzels have a long and storied history with legends dating back to the Middle Ages, but thanks to Opa’s Pretzels arrival in St. Thomas, we no longer have to experience the Dark Ages as the traditional German style soft pretzel is experiencing a bit of a Renaissance.

tradition of baking pretzels didn’t fade away; instead, it became a legacy carried on by his grandchildren, Karen and Kaitlin.

Karen and Kaitlin relocated to London and St. Thomas, where they felt the absence of authentic soft pretzels in their new surroundings. Armed with their Opa’s recipe and a craving for a taste of home, the sisters embarked on a baking spree one night; a humble act would spark a culinary revolution in their community.

The pretzels were an instant hit among family and friends, and demand soon outstripped their baking capacity. What started as a small venture to satisfy cravings quickly became a full-fledged business endeavour. Markets and local restaurants clamoured for Opa’s Pretzels, bringing a new chapter for the sisters.

It begins nestled in the charming town of Goulais River outside Sault Ste. Marie, a family with a deep love for soft pretzels, lived. Their story revolves around their beloved Opa, whose homemade pretzels were the stuff of legend at family gatherings and special occasions. When Opa passed away seven years ago, his

Karen and Kaitlin - one they plan to maintain as they grow.

Their journey wasn’t without its challenges. Like any small business, they face hurdles along the way. However, with determination and a sprinkle of entrepreneurial spirit, the pair navigates the ups and downs, fueled by their passion for creating something extraordinary to share with the community.

Setting up shop in St. Thomas was a natural choice for Karen and Kaitlin. Not only did they find a supportive community eager to embrace their venture, but it also offered the convenience of being close to home.

What truly sets Opa’s Pretzels apart is the experience they offer with every bite. Visitors can taste the essence of Germany, crafted with love and care, just like Opa used to make. From savoury classics to unexpected delights like cinnamon sugar dips, there’s something to tantalize every palate.

What sets them apart is their unwavering commitment to authenticity. Each pretzel is a testament to their Opa’s heritage, baked fresh daily using traditional techniques passed down through generations. Each bite offers a warm sense of home, whether you claim German heritage or not! A sense of family emanates from the first interaction with

Despite the challenges of the past year, the warmth and support of the St. Thomas community have been a hopeful motivator for Karen and Kaitlin. Every visit to their bakery is more than just a transaction; it’s a chance to share the love and passion that goes into every pretzel.

And don’t forget the mustard butter... it offers the perfect balance of sharp Dijon for the flaky salt and butter, a simple yet magical complement to their traditional pretzel, but be sure to explore the sweet options or add pretzel buns to your BBQ. Enjoy authenticity, passion, and a taste of home in every twist!

Crafted With Love

Technology in Healthcare

You know, I recently attended the Office Efficiency Day at the CASO station organized by the Elgin Ontario Health Team and Elgin Primary Care alliance.

The focus was on utilizing technology to make healthcare more efficient. I learned a couple of important things:

1. we are blessed to have such an involved and dedicated group of doctors, nurse practitioners, and support;

2. there is a tremendous amount of technology out there to embrace. Historically, you would see a doctor who would handwrite your prescription, which you would take to your pharmacist who decipher and fill it. (And depending on the doctor’s writing, that could be a monumental challenge). If there was an issue, the pharmacist would call or fax your doctor to clarify or change the medication. Many offices and most pharmacies now can send and receive prescriptions electronically. Via a secure channel, your prescriber can be sent directly from one computer to another. Messages can also be sent back and forth which allows the pharmacist and prescriber to find the best

option for the patient. For example, your doctor diagnoses you with bronchitis, she sends a prescription to the pharmacy instantly. The pharmacist identifies an interaction with your cholesterol medication and suggests changing the antibiotic. The doctor reviews the suggestion, agrees and sends a new prescription.

At the pharmacy, this digital prescription does not need to be deciphered; there is no issue with penmanship and it is quickly entered and adjudicated to your insurance. A robot fills the prescription and labels it — using barcode technology to check for things like expiry. Or perhaps the assistant counts the medicine again, scanning the bottle to make sure it is the correct drug and in date. The pharmacist reviews the medication and utilizes technology to check for interactions. She looks up your latest lab results to see if the dose needs to be adjusted for the kidney or liver.

replace the human factor; it enhances it. I was given a demonstration by one of our local family doctors on how she uses technology. When you go to your appointment, your physician assesses you

All of the activities are supplemented by the use of technology. Technology does not

As spring arrives, I am filled with immense optimism and excitement for the prosperity that lies ahead. Spring, with its vibrant colors and rejuvenating energy, symbolizes not only the renewal of nature but also the promise of growth and abundance within our community. Just as the flowers bloom and the trees regain their lush foliage, so too shall the City of St. Thomas experience a blossoming of opportunities and prosperity.

and together you come up with a plan to make you feel and live better. After your appointment, your doctor will document the encounter in her clinical notes. This is extremely time-consuming; many physicians and nurse practitioners spend a large amount of time after hours to do so. This local doctor uses artificial intelligence to assist her. With her patient’s consent, she records the appointment and the program is able to provide her with exceptional clinical notes that capture the important aspects of the appointment. Now, it takes some skill and work on the part of the doctor to train the program, but the results are astounding.

Kudos again to the organizers of this event and to all the participants. It was an amazing afternoon, right in our community. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Let’s seize this season as a catalyst for progress, working together to cultivate a city that thrives in every aspect – economically, socially, and culturally. With determination and unity, we can harness the momentum of spring to propel our city towards a future of unparalleled success and prosperity.

Healthy Vibe
St. Thomas Mayor

Welcome to Downtown St. Thomas Infuzed Tz & Apothecary!

Infuzed Tz started as a joke between Trish Masters and her sister-in-law. “We both loved tea and quipped about opening our own tea shop after realizing how much we spent at chain stores like David’s Tea,” reminisces Trish. “We were in the process of making it happen, but unfortunately, my sister-in-law passed away from cancer. Still determined to keep my promise,

I launched the business out of my home in 2017. Soon after, I rented space in the Elgin Centre.”

“At our new location, 548 Talbot Street, we have a wide variety of products that are of natural and of good quality. We have loose leaf tea and atypical herbs, bath and body items, and supplies to make your own natural products. We also have items from local vendors such as pottery, gemstones, and candles,” shares owner, Trish.

“I am very knowledgeable about the products but listen when my customers ask for something. If I don’t know something, I will find an answer for you,” promises Trish. “There’s something for everyone in my shop.”

If you’re interested in viewing the products or staying up to date, visit or @ infuzedtz on Facebook and Instagram.

Driven to Succeed Produced by St. Thomas Downtown Development Board — We look forward to working with you! 519.631.3862 |
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