Celebrating 23 Years of Coriander

June 23, 2022

Coriander Guelph opening day in 2000

Celebrating 23 Years of Coriander!

Spice a dish with love and it pleases every palate.- Plautus

Coriander celebrates its 23rd birthday on June 23, 2022.

With a story that begins in Guelph, Ontario—and is now writing new chapters in Collingwood, Ontario—it is the perfect time to reflect on the ingredients that have gone into Coriander’s recipe for success.

What is in the "secret sauce"? If you ask Coriander’s founder and owner, Sarah Harrison, it’s the talented team she has worked with along the way. To her, they have been the heart and soul of Coriander’s success, evolution, and its' continued growth.

Over the past 23 years, there have been some wonderful staff members who have poured their energy and passion into making Coriander more than just a retail business. It has been the collective talents of many who make it the special place that it is. And Sarah has been lucky (and savvy) enough to have been at the head of such an adept team.

From its beginnings, there have been elements in place that have created a strong base on which to build: Sarah grew up with retail as a major part of her life. Having immigrated to Canada from England, her parents had established several successful businesses. Her mother, Barbara, owned and operated 10 stores in Toronto throughout her career and provided a wonderful role model as a hard-working woman entrepreneur who found professional success while also was raising her family. With locations like 70s Yorkville, the Don Mills Shopping Centre, and the Sheraton Hotel, her lingerie and clothing stores were at the forefront of an exciting time in Toronto’s retail industry. 

Like her mum, Sarah was always interested in retail. When Sarah and her own family moved to Guelph in 1999, it did not take long for her to begin making plans for what would become Coriander’s first location. Partnering with her father, Derek, the adventure in fashion with a global flair began.

When the first Guelph store was opened in 2000, Coriander was making its own clothing under its own label in South America and Southeast Asia, selling the deliciously named fashion brands "Cinnamon", "Sugar & Spice" and "Coriander" to other stores across North America. With a passion for sourcing beautiful, unique things, Sarah’s trips overseas to suppliers gave her the chance to fill shipping containers with exotically styled treasures including furniture, rugs, jewellery, clothing, and baskets - all destined for her store.

Located in Guelph’s downtown, Coriander soon became something of a hub, a thriving location for people to find distinctive and beautiful merchandise, and to feel a part of a community.

A Dash of Chance

In 2014, Sarah was training for an epic walk on the Spanish Camino. A few weeks before she was to leave, she accepted a last-minute invitation to visit Collingwood with Fiona, a former member of the Coriander team. And, like a lot of first time visitors, Sarah fell in love with Collingwood at first sight. She could instantly envision Coriander as part of the emerging downtown arts and culture scene and Fiona was happy to help.

As luck would have it, the perfect space was waiting for the right new tenant...and before she knew it, Coriander became that tenant. A lease was signed and the first Collingwood location at 83 Hurontario Street was opened a mere six weeks later. Whew! The second Coriander location took off almost immediately (...and Sarah's Camino walk has still yet to happen). 

Collingwood’s vibrant, receptive community enabled the business to take another leap just five years later, when Coriander Style, a third location, opened across the street at 78 Hurontario. Currently, Coriander Life and Coriander Style are sister stores, operating directly across the street from each other on the downtown’s attractive and visitor-friendly main street. 

Coriander Life is filled with fun and fresh gift ideas while Coriander Style offers chic easy modern dressing designed to keep you comfortable and contemporary.

Both stores are located in historic buildings brimming with warm character, lovingly serving both locals and the many travelers who seek out Collingwood as an exciting place to visit.

Coriander is a winning retail blend of merchandise that is both distinctive and delightful, and of the people who are part of its story. Together, Sarah, her team, and Coriander customers have created something truly beautiful and lasting.

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