Featurepreneur: (Re)Freshen Up!

By Genevieve Allen Hearn

We have certainly seen a trend in the retail scene lately—a number of home design shops are springing up around the Valley. We think it’s great timing, as folks are spending more time staying close to home! With so many options, buying ethically-made items for the home from locally-owned stores has never been easier. ReFresh Home and Design is the newest addition, located in Wolfville. Owned by Melisa Yale, the store focuses on clean, minimalist design and functionality. With holiday shopping around the corner, this shop may be exactly what we need right now!

The Grapevine (GV): What got you interested in home design?
Melisa Yale (MY): I have always had passion for art, fabrics, colour, and design. I took a few courses in design over the years and finally decided, at 52 years of age, to “do what makes you the happiest,” so here I am! Over the years my husband and I have successfully renovated four homes ourselves, and that has expanded my design experience immensely.

GV: What is the philosophy of your store? What should customers expect to find?
MY: The philosophy of the store is to Rethink, Remodel and Repurpose. I wanted to bring to Wolfville a store that was full of natural elements such as sea grasses, woods, linens, cottons, ceramics, felt, and metal, and to also provide a venue for local artisans to show their wares. COVID has made us all stop, step back, and realize the importance of our lives, family, and buying power.

I hope this store helps people rethink their own buying power, to shop local and support local artists and businesses, and not so much the large chain stores. We need to know where the product is made, how is it made, and what is it made of. These questions can help us choose wisely for the environment, sustainability, and supporting fair trade. You will not find brands of any specific kind at our store, that is not what we are about.

We all need to remodel our homes to be healthy, clean, cozy, and practical for us and our families. ReFresh Home and Design has brought in home goods that are locally handmade, Canadian and European.

Repurpose is also a huge part of our philosophy. Why make more waste? I have carefully chosen companies and artisans that are repurposing items such as locally-made metal art by Heather Lawrie-Morse, repurposed textiles into kimonos by Ellemairco from Toronto, refurbished and repainted furniture by Re.Defined from Kentville, and locally repurposed old jeans and material into aprons by Meeb. We hope to bring in more locally-made items over time. When you come to visit, we are giving out wildflower seeds to plant next year in the spring to give back to the bees and insects.

GV: What is your advice for folks who are interested in starting a business in the Annapolis Valley?

MY: Starting a business anywhere, whether Annapolis Valley or not, takes hutzpah. It is a lot of time, energy, sweat and tears. But if you are truly passionate, I then say listen to your heart and consider the three C’s of Life: Choices, Chances and Changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never hange.

GV: Do you have any shopping etiquette tips during COVID times you’d like to share?
MY: Shopping etiquette for COVID should always be patience and kindness.

ReFresh Home and Design is located at 360 #21 Main Street, Wolfville. For more information visit refreshhomeanddesign.com.