The entrepreneur behind a new store in the RM of Piney wants to spare her fellow rural residents a long drive when they need a few small items.
The She Shed opened for business Monday at 73085 Road 3N in Wampum.
Owner Pauline Culleton said the idea behind the store is simple.
"It’s a little bit of everything, priced cheap enough that it helps out the community."
Part gift shop, part convenience store, and part antiques hut, Culleton has packed a lot of selection into the 500-sq-ft. building, situated on the rural property where she lives with her husband, Raymond, and two foster children.
You’ll find school supplies, kitchenware, toys, knitting supplies, makeup, hand tools, jewelry, fishing gear, games, stationery, bath products, candles, and more on the shop’s pine shelves.
"Even got tutus," Culleton said, pointing to a children’s clothing rack in the corner.
Fittingly for a store opening during a pandemic, Culleton also carries face masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies.
The store will also carry antique furniture restored by Culleton’s daughter, Rae, who runs an antiques store in Rivers, Man.
Culleton sources most of her stock from wholesalers in Winnipeg and Brandon. Low prices are an important part of her business plan.
"Out here there’s not much money floating around," she said.
Last Friday, as she prepared for her first customers, Culleton said the phone had been ringing all week.
"Everybody’s excited for when we’re going to open."
Starting up a shop of her own is a dream come true for Culleton, a retired registered nurse who used to commute back and forth to Roseau, Minn.
"I always wanted to have a little store," she said.
Two years ago, she purchased a building shell and moved it onto her yard. A friend from Middlebro finished it out with rustic pine boards. Large windows let in plenty of natural light.
When company would come over, Culleton would tell them, "Oh, that’s my she shed."
"I don’t know—the name just stuck," she said with a chuckle.
The prolonged, pandemic-induced border closure wasn’t the only thing that prompted Culleton to expedite the store’s opening.
She also saw firsthand how shortened hours of operation at local ports of entry made it more difficult for RM of Piney residents to zip across the border for groceries and other staples.
Culleton recalled many last-minute trips to Steinbach when one of her foster children received a birthday party invitation. How nice it would be, she thought, to find more items locally.
The She Shed opens at a time when the ‘buy local’ movement has never been stronger. But even before store opened, Culleton’s property was known as the place to go. Every year she held a huge yard sale that would bring shoppers from all over.
"There’d be nothing left," she said.
Her yard sales were so popular that people began phoning her throughout the year to inquire about everything from makeup to picture frames.
Now that her store has opened, Culleton said she wants to continue stocking what people want. There’s a book by the door where customers can jot down requests.
At present, only two shoppers are allowed in the store at a time due to code red occupancy restrictions.
Whoever opens the door, there’s a good chance Culleton, who has lived in the area her entire life, already knows their name. She likened customers to company.
"It’s kind of nice just to see somebody coming down the driveway."
Culleton has big plans for her little store. She wants to eventually transplant it to a patch of land she owns along Highway 12. She also wants to donate 10 percent of profits to the Piney food bank.
The She Shed is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekend appointments can be arranged by calling 204-437-2758.