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The 'I Borrows' Game

The 'I Borrows' Game

When I was just a little kid my two older sisters and I would sit on the floor in my grandmother’s living room around THE AMAZING SEARS CATALOG!

It opened up a wondrous world for us three sisters. We would play a game we called “I borrows.” It was an exciting game for us on rainy afternoons when the adults of the house couldn’t boot us outside to play, so we got inventive.

maddy catalog

The game went like this… we would open the huge book with such anticipation and awe, turn a page and we would all try to be the first one to put our finger on the item on the page that we wanted. We would shout “I borrows this!” and so on. It got quite noisy and contentious and often someone would end up without the item they wanted… but then, onto the next page!

Silly really, but I think it started our love of catalogs (and shopping). We were quite poor so we couldn’t actually buy anything we saw, hence the name of the game: “I borrows!”

When my husband and I moved to the States there were catalogs galore, everywhere! I felt dizzy with them! The mail brought new treasures daily. The world it opened up for me gave me a similar feeling that I had as a little girl, except I could actually buy anything I wanted… or nearly!

Nowadays we have the Internet and the whole world has opened to catalogs online. Websites, Facebook, and Instagram are everywhere. Such different times from those early days without even a TV!

With the pandemic devastating businesses and retail stores across the world, online shopping has become even more important. We are all nesting, whether we want to or not. We are also trying to support small retail businesses who work so hard finding or making treasures for us to enjoy.

I started my shop in the middle of the pandemic. We had already secured the space, bought a lot of products in January before the pandemic began. It was a blow. And because we started the business during the pandemic and had no history, we were one of the businesses that wasn't eligible for government assistance during the shutdown, but we persevered. Our town was shut down, but the virus didn’t hit us here in Nova Scotia as hard—perhaps because we followed the strict rules. We are open now and trade has been pretty good with locals and people from the city supporting us all they can. It’s really lovely!

We are in what is called the Atlantic bubble but that has gotten significantly smaller recently with two of the Atlantic provinces having bad flare-ups recently. We can travel and receive visitors from Prince Edward Island, but this week Newfoundland and New Brunswick joined the rest of the country and is banned from traveling to our province.

This has made the need for an online presence very important. We wanted to bring the world to our little town with our shop. We have wonderful mats from a kibbutz in Israel and pottery from Vermont, linens from Belgium, organic soaps, brushes, baskets, and all things design.

We have been open for seven months and are constantly looking for new things for our shop. We will be introducing our own line of linen made for us in Europe by the end of this month and are very excited about it.

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