After almost 29 years of business, Modern Primitive located on a Princess Street in Kingston’s downtown core will be closing its doors for good.
The business, which features products from all around the globe, has a rich and long history within the Kingston community. According to co-owner David Parkinson, it was his love for both travel and interesting things that brought the business to life.
“When we started we only had a few street-side jewelry carts, and from there we moved to a space in the old Stacey Building,” Parkinson explained, referring to the businesses first bricks and mortar location. “We have been here since then.”
Parkinson spent four years selling jewelry on the streets of Spain. When he and his wife and co-owner, Bonnie, began traveling, they would acquire products that they would then bring back to Canada.
When they settled in Kingston, those travels and journeys didn’t cease, and the family continued to travel and acquire interesting things, sometimes even bringing their young daughter along for the trips.
Parkinson said that their travels have been amazing – And that because the family travelled more in colder months, right now is actually the first time he’s experienced winter.
“I’ve been here for thirty or so years and this is my first winter in Canada,” he said.
The selection of items in the shop is eye catching. Even on a glum, cloudy day, the lights bounce off the shiny and sparkling jewelry, and the wide variety of colours that fill the small store demonstrate the thought put into every purchased item.
“We brought in different stuff all the time and I think that’s what made us different from other places. Online shopping and large retail stores tend to carry similar, if not exactly the same products, whereas we only purchase things that are unique and hold meaning,” said Parkinson. “If I don’t like something, I don’t purchase it.”
There are so many things that make the shop unique and special to its customers, from the trap door in the floor that leads to the out-of-the-way treasure cave that stores the stock, to the wide variety of products from multiple countries and villages – and, of course, the outdoor room of clothing and textiles that opens into Rochleau Court in the summertime.
Parkinson said that he believes their shop will be remembered not only for its uniqueness but for its variety.
“There have been many stores like ours in the area, but they tended to focus on a range of products from a specific area, whereas we like to have a variety of things from many different places and backgrounds,” he said.
“The trap door that leads to our basement was constructed by us, many shops in England use the hidden doors, and in India they are actually called Go-Downs. Those are the things that make this place so special and memorable. ”
David and Bonnie are set to retire sometime in the near future, however due to the amount of stock they still have, the store won’t officially close for a few months.
“Our customers both new and long-time, loyal are absolutely amazing, and right now the goal is to clear out the stock we have,” Parkinson said. “That’s why everything is marked at 50 per cent off, if a necklace is $14.00 the customer pays $7.00.”