Unusual new gift shop
Cape Breton woman opens unusual gift shop in Sydney
Tonya Blackie turns a dream into reality.
Tonya Blackie always wanted to own a business and now her vision is a reality.
The North Sydney woman opened her first business, called Get Nauti, a seasonal gift shop specializing in unusual and nautical gift items. The shop, located next to Governors Pub and Eatery on the Esplanade in Sydney, opened for business on April 28.
“It’s always been a dream of mine,” said Blackie when asked why she opened a gift shop. “I always had it in my mind as a little gift store, something small, which is exactly what it is.”
Blackie made the decision to open the business following what she calls “a crazy year” which saw her lose her job as well as go through a divorce, the death of two dogs and a cancer scare.
“Life is too short, I knew I had to do it,” said Blackie. “I thought a gift shop was perfect because I love home décor, I loved natural things like the beach, beach glass and driftwood, so that’s why I went with the nautical theme.”
Aside from the unique gift items, including prints, décor items and jewelry, the shop is also producing its own line of clothing, something that has been popular with many customers. Blackie has already received lots of support from the local community. Since the opening, the shop has already started running low of product, forcing Blackie to order more items. “I didn’t do any advertising, just Facebook, and so it was a very pleasant surprise to have had the success I’ve already had,” said Blackie. “On our Facebook site we have to start setting up shipping for the clothing because there are people from across Canada that want them, from New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta — it’s going fantastic.”
The cruise ship season on the island officially started on April 30, with the first vessel, Veendam, docking at the port of Sydney. Despite the prime location for Blackie’s business, she said she wasn’t really busy for the first ship. “It wasn’t great because it was so cold out, so there wasn’t many people walking around,” said Blackie. “It’s not necessarily the reason why I put the business in its location, but I would like to see cruise ship passengers stop in.”
Once Blackie settles into the business, she plans on having local artisans put their product in the store as well.
“I have had a few people contact me already,” said Blackie.
Get Nauti gift shop is open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Blackie encourages people to visit her business, which she says is the only nautical gift shop in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
“I have fantastic stuff,” said Blackie. “Nautical seems to be the big thing that everyone seems to want, and unique items I have for sure. Everybody who comes in my shop says I have reasonable prices. I have had that comment dozens of times already.”
Blackie said she is planning to have a grand opening for the shop sometime in the summer, which will include entertainment in the parking lot and a barbecue. She will also be inviting local artisans to set up a table at the event to sell their own products.
Tonya Blackie owner of Get Nauti gift shop in Sydney stands for a picture in front of her new business on Saturday. The gift shop, which specializes in unique and nautical items, officially opened for business on April 28.