When Emily Yewchuk was thinking about opening a shop in Comox, she had one clear goal in mind.
“What kept popping up in me was creating nostalgia.”
She wanted to form a unique, community focused space, with roots in an earlier time.
Stores have always been for shopping, but they weren’t always so commercial.
“It was a place that you came and mingled. You chatted and you kind of looked around and it was an experience.”
That’s what her team has worked to create in Wildflower Mercantile.
“You’re encouraged to come in and stay and chat—meet up with friends. That’s what I’m hoping to kind of create for the Valley, a nostalgic space for people to just be.”
The shop has a lot going on inside. Handmade home-sourced jewellery, decor, toys, and of course flowers can all be found in the cozy, century old heritage building.
But no matter what you’re after, the Wildflower Team have focused on local community in every aspect of their operation.
“Our flowers are 100% sourced from our local farms. So they ebb and flow with the season. In the fall, we had dried flowers, right now we have greens. It’s just a really nice way to kind of remind people also to just lean into the seasonality of things and that you know, maybe you don’t need roses in January.”
“It’s lovely to see how incredible our Island is and what it can produce throughout the year.”
They have a community focus everyday, but Sundays are rapidly becoming the best day to drop by.
To further prioritize connecting people and boosting local artists, they’ve been running a communal workshop every weekend.
“We get everyone sitting around one really long table. It’s just fun to see you know, strangers becoming kind of friends and like giggling and each other’s progress. It feels like a big family dinner almost.”
The get-together covers different topics every week. So far they’ve scheduled topics from photography, to floral design, to jewellery making and even cooking skills.
“We had a father and daughter come for the cookie workshop, and it’s so wholesome to see, watching them practicing together was really really special.”
Ninety percent of the proceeds from every workshop go directly to the local artists leading it.
The other 10 percent are for a cause that’s close to Yewchuk’s heart.
Back when she was living in Alberta, Yewchuk’s son was diagnosed with a speech delay. Getting him the diagnosis, and support he needed was all quick, and publicly funded.
“He got into a preschool that had a speech language pathologist and occupational therapists, social workers. They all helped develop his speech, and he just incredibly benefited from that.”
After moving to the Valley, she wanted to continue to provide him with this support before he entered kindergarten, but getting access here was a different story.
She found that any children over 5 with any atypical development are expected to be helped through school systems, and there quite simply isn’t enough resources to adequately support all the kids who need them.
Many parents are expected to privately fund any kind of therapy services.
Assessment is another issue.
“Autism assessment, ADHD assessment, the waitlist for those publicly are five years, which is wild—and then you can do it privately it’s very expensive. It’s thousands… So that’s really inaccessible for a lot of families.”
After meeting a lot of other moms and hearing their struggles with similar issues, she decided to establish the Wildflower Kids Scholarship Fund.
This will eventually help to provide funding for local kids who need access to these kinds of services.
It’s where all the extra money from workshops is being funnelled: back into our community’s future.
You’ll be able to find all upcoming topics and when they’re happening!
If you just want to shop before Christmas, Wildflower Mercantile is located at 441 Cliffe Ave.
It’s the place to go for all your holiday shopping, with a hit of nostalgic time travel on the side.