Support local businesses this holiday season


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This article was published 07/12/2021 (545 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Holiday shopping is in full swing for many Winnipeggers. Instead of signing on to one of the popular online retailers, consider checking out locally owned businesses and keeping your dollars circulating within our community.

The Preferred Perch, owned by St, Vital resident Sherry Versluis, has operated at 1604 St. Mary’s Rd. for 26 years.

“It’s in the heart of St. Vital,” Versluis said, adding that it is one of many small independent businesses in the area.

Supplied photo 
Sherry Versluis, owner of The Preferred Perch, is one of many area business-owners aiming to please the local community this holiday season.
Supplied photo Sherry Versluis, owner of The Preferred Perch, is one of many area business-owners aiming to please the local community this holiday season.

The store name reflects Versluis’ initial concept — to cater to bird watchers by selling bird houses, feeders and feed — but as the years passed, she has diversified her inventory. Now her store is also filled with many unique gift items such as home and garden decorations, art puzzles, and stones, crystals and carvings from Brazil, Peru, India and Africa, among other countries.

Versluis said she’s made connections around the world and works to offer customers items they can’t find elsewhere. One of her latest additions is the MetalBirds Canada line featuring realistic bird silhouettes cut from steel.

However, she still stocks supplies for birders. She said bird watching and feeding is the second-most popular hobby in North America. For many people isolated in their homes during the pandemic, watching the variety of birds coming to their yards brought joy.

“Birds and bees play a huge role in our lives,” Versluis said, noting that declining numbers of songbirds and bees are causes for concern.

She follows a nature theme when selecting items for her store. “My business motto is ‘in care of nature’.”

A love of nature’s beauty also inspires artist Wendy Lee who creates silk paintings of polar bears, wolves, bison, humming birds, dragonflies and other creatures. Lee, a St. Vital resident, primarily sells her work through her website and on Facebook and Instagram at wendyleesilkwinds. Her work is also available at the C2 Centre for Craft’s gift shop, Winnipeg Art Gallery gift shop, and Teekca’s Aboriginal Boutique at The Forks.

Lee’s delicate work reflects her love of nature and inspiration gained from her surroundings. She lived in Yellowknife for 11 years before moving to Winnipeg 15 years ago.

Lee was one of about 80 artists and crafters who had booths at this year’s Dakota Community Centre’s holiday craft sale held in early November.

“It was fabulous. Everyone was so happy to be there,” Lee said.

She added that she was excited to greet long-time customers in-person again. This craft sale, like all others, was cancelled last year due to COVID restrictions.

While pleased to be able to sell directly, Lee said the majority of her sales come through her website. “You have to find different markets. You have to be more creative.”

She’s made a point of providing customers with a variety of gift items such as bookmarks, fridge magnets, art cards and prints, and scarves. A new item is polar bear prints stitched onto bamboo frames. She also takes on commissioned work.

Lee’s business was negatively impacted by pandemic restrictions but she’s determined to continue her work. “You just have to keep going.”

She has her fingers crossed that in 2022 she’ll once again be able to hold in-person classes. These will be advertised on her website.

Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at

Andrea Geary

Andrea Geary
St. Vital community correspondent

Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital and was once the community journalist for The Headliner.

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