Tuesday, September 29, 2009

By Dayanti Karunaratne, The Ottawa Citizen September 26, 2009

248 Preston St.,
613-230-7166, www.prestonhardware.com

Why it's great: Offers items in bulk you'd usually have to pay for in packaged quantities, such as nails, rope, wine corks and window screening. "We still have that old-fashioned hardware store, says owner Fred Gianeti, "but with the modern stuff." For big projects,
you can even buy nails by the pound.
Tip: To prepare floors for the rain and snow, pick up some rubberized mat ($2.99 per foot) in whatever length your hallway requires.

375 Bank St.,

Why it's great: The product list is really the selling point here. In the dry bins, there's candy like black licorice and fruit gummies, as well as all sorts of pasta, flour, and other grain products. Don't miss the honey and nut closet, where you can refill containers with local honey and various nut butters. In short, it's the perfect place to experiment with spelt flour or try out a dollop of almond butter.
Tip: If you bring your own containers, remember to ask cash register staff to weigh them before you fill up.

800 Bank St.
613-567-3168 www.arbourshop.com

Why it's great: A Glebe institution since the early 1990s, all products are biodegradable and made in Toronto. Products include dish soap and laundry detergent (liquid and powder), tile cleaner, fabric softener and glass cleaner, all with savings of about 10 per cent off pre-packaged units.
Tip: In addition to the usual detergents, Arbour also sells oven cleaner. Throw out the mask and long rubber gloves: none of their products contain ammonia or chlorine.

4. Bloomex Flowers wholesale department
9 Capella Crt.
613-216-0970 www.flowerswholesale.ca

Why it's great: They take out the middle man to bring event planners and DIY brides big savings on flowers, all from a small office in west Ottawa. Request a free quote online, then consult with industry experts on vase styles and arrangement tips. While the minimum order is $100, there are no stipulations on stems, so if you want a room full of roses and one single calla lily, Phil Cragg of Bloomex Flowers is your man.

Tip: Check out their blog, www.bunchesdirect.com/wholesale-flowers-guide/ for video guides on tying Gerber daisies, the meaning behind white roses, and more.

317 Wilbrod St.,
613-321-0150, www.sandyhillpetfood.ca

Why it's great: Shopping at this natural food store supports a worker's co-operative, which in turn makes a point of buying local and fair-trade products. This hidden gem is also a hub of activity within the community, with area artists displaying wares at the rear and a table set up for education. Plus, the bulk department includes gravity dispensers that beat out awkward scoop bins every time.
Tip: While buying into this co-op is not mandatory, a membership (three months for five bucks) will shave 10-15 per cent off your bill.

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