If you’ve found yourself at the corner of Princess and King street in the past 20 years or so, you’ve likely stopped in to clothing stores Fancy That or Roundstone. These shops are a staple of Kingston’s downtown and where you’ll find great deals on June 16 as downtown Kingston celebrates DKShopfest. DKShopfest is a day dedicated to celebrating and supporting our locally owned shops while scoring great deals. I wanted to learn a little more about Fancy That owner, Maria Cronk. She was kind enough to answer a few questions via email. Read below to learn how Fancy That started and what Maria loves most about being a Kingston shop owner.
Keep up with Kingston: Please share how Fancy That started? How many years have you been open?
Maria Cronk: Fancy That Group started in 1974 by Inger Sparring (my mother) in Brockville, ON. We started as one small store in Brockville, ON and grew over the years. At one point we had nine stores across Eastern Ontario! Now, we have two stores in downtown Kingston (Fancy That & the Roundstone) and one store in Brockville (Limestone & Ivy). IN 1979, my brother, Dan, joined in the business, he runs our store in Brockville, and I joined in 1985 to run the Kingston stores.
We came to downtown Kingston in May 1985 with Fancy That.
KUWK: What has changed the most about owning a business downtown Kingston in the past 20 years?
MC: Downtown Kingston has grown so much over the past 20 years. With the K-Rock Centre, Market Square, the Grand Theatre and having the largest number of restaurants per capita in Canada, Downtown Kingston is so much busier and people are travelling from all over to visit us! There is lots of buzz downtown and we feel so lucky to be right at the centre of it!
KUWK: What do you love about owning a business in Kingston? What are the benefits?
MC: Kingston is full is entrepreneurs and I love the community it has created. Our vibrant BIA has brought many of the downtown business owners together so we can support each other and work together to make downtown Kingston a place for everyone!
What advice do you have to any budding entrepreneurs in Kingston? Any lessons you’ve learned that you’d like to share?
MC: You need to be patient because sometimes things are great and sometimes it is challenging. So you need to ride the roller coaster. You also can’t take things personally, you need to focus on what you do best and not worry about what others are doing or saying.