Canada has no shortage of cozy towns each with its own unique charm and atmosphere, and the lake town of Athabasca, Alberta is no different. Located on the Athabasca River, it’s home to a lively, tight-knit community of businesses that truly represent the Canadian entrepreneurial spirit.
Nestled in the heart of Athabasca is Elle’s Boutique, a popular clothing store that is also a thriving community of fashion and lifestyle enthusiasts, both online and off. Elle’s Boutique founder, Michelle Bishop, started the business in 2014 out of her home.
“I would sell leggings out of my house and had a store in my basement, and it just blew up!” she says, “As we added more products to the lineup, we decided to take the plunge and opt for a storefront.”
Their first office also doubled as their warehouse where guests could shop. In 2016, they launched their website and social media, and watched their online community grow. Eventually, they moved to their current storefront location in Athabasca, and the business continues to expand to this day.
What makes Athabasca so special is how business-focused and innovative it is. It’s a cozy university lake town, packed with guests who visit their lakefront cabins in the summer, and students from Athabasca University who call the townhome.
“Most of the town is built on a hill, and it’s very small business-minded,” says Michelle, “The Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club are very supportive of the local shops here and host a business gala every year.” The best time to visit? Hands down, in the summertime.
If you’re in town, drop by Neighbours Pub and enjoy a drink on their patio. For coffee, tasty treats and some shopping, visit the locally-owned Paddymelon Gifts, Espresso and Eatery for the complete Athabasca experience.
Afterwards, head to the river front to see the Farmer’s Market and enjoy local eats from the numerous food trucks that set up shop on weekends, or hit the town’s famous golf course. For some family fun, drop by their new recreation centre, The Multiplex, for fitness activities everyone will love.
Like many small towns in the country, Athabasca is packed with history. Elle’s Boutique’s current location is one of the town’s oldest buildings and was formerly a jewellery store.
“There is a rumor that all the old buildings on Athabasca’s Main Street had tunnels running through them that used to be gambling rooms where people would drink and socialize. The Grand Union Hotel, built over 100 years ago, had a basement that used to host parties and had tunnels leading out of it.”
Today, Elle’s Boutique has become a community of like-minded people sharing their love of fashion, beauty and lifestyle content, lovingly coined Elle’s Base.
“People in the community know our family, and we know their’s,” says Michelle, “Our customers are so much more than just people who buy from us, they’re part of our Elle’s Boutique family and have been with us since our store’s humble beginnings.”
It’s this community spirit that makes us love having Northbound Supply Co. be a part of this vibrant town.
“Northbound Supply Co. has a truly “Canadiana” vibe that fits perfectly with Athabasca as a whole,” says Michelle, “It’s fun, cute, down-to-earth, and makes you feel proud to be Canadian!”