The Friendly Fox ‘happy to be open’ in Huntsville after COVID-19 hurdles
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HUNTSVILLE — It wasn’t exactly how The Friendly Fox expected to open its doors on Huntsville’s main street.

Jewel Keeter, a representative for the shop, said the storefront at 58 Main St. E. had been a plan several years in the making for her mom, Cheryl Wilson, president of Huntsville-based Muskoka Millwrighting and Machining.

“The Friendly Fox is, primarily, to showcase the artistic metalwork of Muskoka Millwrighting and Machining,” said Keeter. “They do so much industrial work in town, and they have done a lot of custom work for cottages, but very few people know about their capabilities in terms of artistic, residential and design.”

The shop, she said, also featured other Canadian-made art, homeware and gifts, including items from Muskoka makers, curated to capture the feel of Muskoka with an interest in sustainability.

The business had started renovating its main street location in February, with the aim of opening to the public on March 13.

And then provincial restrictions on business to slow the spread of COVID-19 struck.

“Not getting to open the store was a bit disheartening,” she said.

But she said the restrictions gave the business a unique opportunity to engage with customers and build a following by showcasing products through its social media accounts.

And the shop opened for online orders and curbside pickup on March 31.

“To be able to start building a community in a time like that was really something special,” said Keeter. “We’re very appreciative that people have been so supportive.”

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