“The first time I stepped foot in Ormstown was in October 2020,” states Chloe Chamandy. “I love the people!”
Although Chamandy was born in Montreal, she lived in New York City and Long Island for most of her adult life, where she held many different jobs. She went to trade school to become a jeweler and returned years later to become a welder. “I love making things with my hands. The more tools, the better!” she says.
After a series of unexpected events in 2020, Chamandy returned to Hudson, Quebec to take care of her parents who had health issues. When she moved to Ormstown months later (July 2021) she realized that over the years she had become used to “living in an area where I had access to everything 24/7.” Here, there were few or no places to purchase vinyl records, books, or the unique items that she loves. She is also vegan, and choices for takeout were limited; Chamandy describes herself as “self-taught out of a need to survive.” She says, “I’ve been a vegetarian all my life.”
Out of all this, Kitschin Café and Boutique was born. Located in the Walsh Building (also known as the “gingerbread house”) on Lambton Street in Ormstown, Kitschin will open on December 1. The name “Kitschin” is a play on words, explains Chamandy: “‘Kitsch’ is in – not out!” she says. The term “kitsch”, which originally had a negative connotation, began being “cool” after the emergence of Pop Art in the 1950s. To Chamandy, the term fits her taste for retro, quirky, and unique items.
Kitschin will also have a kitchen. There will be some counter space for takeout or eat-in, and the café area will offer “a plant-based cuisine with a limited, simple daily menu,” states Chamandy. There will also be a small grocery section which will offer snacks.
Kitschin will feature products carefully curated by Chamandy who is very environmentally conscious. New clothing, baby and kids’ clothing and accessories, men’s grooming products, novelties, new and used records and books – all are being chosen with care. Chamandy selects products from Quebec and Canadian artisans. “I’m offering something different. Make your own style, but here is what I have to offer,” she states. She is also developing her own merchandise; she makes sewn items and multimedia art.
She is also on the lookout for like-minded vendors. “I’m all about ‘small batch,’ people who reuse and make reclaimed material goods,” she explains. She describes Kitschin as “upcycling, recycling, and repurposing. It’s an upbeat general store with obscure and goofy finds.”
This new Ormstown resident has big dreams for the future of her business. She hopes to eventually offer workshops on sewing and jewelry making, and perhaps even vegan cheesemaking.