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Mid-Week Mugging: Treat yourself at Hilltribe

The locally-owned and operated store has quality clothing and exotic goods from around the world
20171018-Mid-Week Mugging Hilltribe-DT
Janice Martineau, co-owner and operator of Hilltribe, the recipient of this week’s SooToday Mid-Week Mugging, with a warm coat of New Zealand wool, Oct. 18, 2017. Darren Taylor/SooToday

Whether buying for yourself or purchasing a gift for a friend or family member, Hilltribe, a locally owned and operated Station Mall store, has ladies clothing and unique, exotic objects for sale which are sure to please and fascinate many people. 

The store, owned and operated by Janice Martineau and her daughter Lana, has been in business for 19 years, starting off on Queen Street before relocating to Station Mall in 2001.

“What we wanted to do was bring some different things to the Sault that I certainly wasn’t able to find when we first opened up, different culturally-oriented things that weren’t available anywhere here,” Janice said as we dropped by to chat and bestow a pair of SooToday mugs.

“I found a store in Halifax I fell in love with and we worked with them for the first 10 years. They would travel to Indonesia and do all the buying and ship us containers and then they retired, but there are other people who import.”

Hilltribe carries a variety of items for sale, many of which highlight cultures from faraway, exotic places, such as Chinese religious objects, handmade leather-bound journals from India, wooden bamboo chimes, tambourines, pan flutes, drums and carved, teak didgeridoos, woodwind instruments which Janice said are as unique as Scottish bagpipes.

“They’re amazing,” Janice said.

How about purchasing a Himalayan salt crystal?

The crystals, coated with salt, have been hollowed out to serve as lamps which give off a cheerful glow, and have been used in Europe for centuries, Janice said, becoming more familiar to North America in the past 30 years or so.

It is believed by some the lit crystals are therapeutic for those suffering from depression, especially during our long, dark northern Ontario winter nights.

Hilltribe has a wide variety of stones and jewellery for sale, each stone sold with an accompanying piece of literature which describes its positive waves some believe them to possess.

“My favourite is probably the good old clear quartz,” Janice said.

The stone with the coolest name is, arguably, the leopard skin jasper stone, which “makes it easier for one to take responsibility properly.”

“Give those to every teenager in town right?” Janice chuckled. 

Indigenous items, supplied by Garden River First Nation and other 

First Nations communities in southern Ontario, are available for sale, such as dream catchers and sage (burnt ceremonially, as Indigenous people believe the smoke from burning sage purifies one’s self and surroundings of negative forces).

There are good old patriotic Canadian goods for sale at Hilltribe as well, such as warm coats with the familiar red and black, checkered lumberjack theme.

There are cottage items available, including wooden signs with slogans such as ‘Peace, Love, Sandy Feet,’ ‘Memories are made at the lake,’ ‘Life’s a river, grab a paddle,’ and ‘Old fishermen never die. They just smell that way.’

Last, but certainly not least, is Hilltribe’s ladies clothing.

Hilltribe offers summer wear, but, with October upon us and Christmas shopping season starting soon, the shop has warm, attractive ladies winter gear for sale, such as heavy shirts, sweaters, coats and jackets, fleeces and warm nightgowns.

Coats of New Zealand wool, handmade in Nepal, catch your eye as you walk in the store.

Janice said Hilltribe is the only shop of its kind in the Sault, which offers something for every age.

“The children love the musical instruments and the stones, then we have the young adults who are really into the incense and the oils, and women for the clothing. Men love us at Christmas (to buy something special for their wives or sweethearts).”

“I really like people, and I like helping them find something which will make them happy and enjoy the whole shopping experience,” Janice said.