Strathmore’s Lil Hoots Children’s Boutique has been awarded “Best in Alberta” from the Little List Preloved Directory, through nomination and votes by the local community.
According to Denise Geremia, who owns and operates Lil Hoots, her business was nominated for seven categories of awards through the Little List, including most notable, gives back to the community, best brick and mortar, community-minded, customer service, maternity, and best in province.
“Every single business and preloved shop is able to be part of it. I think there are 27 or 28 categories, and some of them are best website, best social media, there are all these things,” said Geremia. “It is huge for my store and I am extremely honoured and I got a message saying it was such a landslide. There are so many preloved stores in Alberta, especially because it is such a huge thing. I was going up against the big-name stores and I am pretty honoured to have won.
The Little List Preloved Directory looks at boutiques, thrift shops, and preloved item stores across Canada, with awards available in every province and territory.
Geremia posted that nominations were open, Aug. 31, on her social media pages, and was informed her store had been nominated for seven categories Sept. 15. She found out she had been awarded best in Alberta on Oct. 5.
Geremia attributes much of her win, as well as the favourability of her store within the local community to the activities and causes she supports outside of her business.
“The customers and I, we all have this similar opinion, this drive to make Strathmore better and if there are certain things you can do to offer your time and money and commitment to the town instead of complaining about things, I find that people are really (receptive) to that,” she said. “We all work together to make the town better and I will always do whatever we can. I think that is why I won, is because we are always doing things like our bike program and starting up a free soccer program and helping to organize downtown night markets, and donating all of the unsellable clothes to Siksika.”
Geremia took over Lil Hoots in Sept. 2019, just prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was able to keep the store alive.
She described it as a passion project, as well as to be the first place locals can turn to for preloved items rather than looking online or having to go to Calgary.
“My whole goal was to take a business that was one thing and turn it into everyone’s, Strathmore’s, the whole local community’s first stop before they go to Calgary or shop online and I feel like I have accomplished that,” she said.
Until Christmas, she added Lil Hoots is conducting a fundraiser in order to purchase new winter apparel to fill backpacks and give to local children at the women’s shelter, emergency shelter, and homeless shelter, as well as to organizations in Calgary.
By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Oct 26, 2023 at 01:13