Skip to content

Mosquito Emporium is a stroll down memory lane

New vintage shop in downtown Barrie is featured in the week's Mid-Week Mugging
2017-11-06 Mid Week Mugging Mosquito Emporium
Andy Thompson and his his wife Jenni recently opened Mosquito Emporium on Clapperton Street. Sue Sgambati/BarrieToday

If you enjoy memory lane, Mosquito Emporium should be a destination.

The new vintage shop in downtown Barrie is tucked in an adorable space on Clapperton Street just north of Dunlop. 

Andy and Jenni Thompson own and operate the business which was born out of a love of the past. 

"There really aren’t many stores in Barrie like ours, and we’re hoping to grow the local vintage scene with other places like Mantiques, Le Petit Chapeau, and Lillifrog, and really help Barrie become an antiques destination," said Jenni.  

Even the store name has a unique and cherished history.

"It started as the name for my furniture refinishing business Mosquito Woodworks," explained Andy. "My grandfather got me interested in woodworking when I was a child. So I wanted a tie to him. Before joining the Canadian Air Force, he helped build the WWII airplane, the de Havilland Mosquito, which was made mostly of wood. I also served in the military. So "Mosquito" seemed to encompass many important things."

Andy was born in Toronto and grew up in Barrie after moving here when he was about five.

After attending Barrie Central Collegiate, he went to Carlton University in Ottawa., joined the army and he and Jenni married.

Thompson was away from Barrie for about 12 years but decided to return when he left the military after administrative postings in Ottawa, London and Toronto and then went back to college for cabinet making.

"I was doing furniture refinishing and selling the pieces online and it was going well enough we thought we could do a store," said Thompson.

"When we lived in Toronto we'd go to stores like this, vintage stores, every weekend so it was something we miss from Toronto that Barrie didn't really have. It all came together and the timing was right."

Jenni is on maternity leave with their son, five-month-old Felix.

The store opened on Oct. 14.

"We try to focus on things from about the 50s through to the 70s. Houseware stuff, things you can use. Kitchenware. Lamps. Furniture.  People come in all the time and say 'Oh my mom had this. I had this. My grandma had this in the cottage.' People see things that really take them back, refresh memories."

A lot of items are purchased through auctions and online shopping. 

Naturally, Thompson has some of his own treasured pieces such as a pair of side tables by the couple's couches at home.

"I remember them from when I was as little. I think my parents probably got them as a wedding gift and now I have them and it's been with me my whole life," he said. 

"I think the quality and the creativity of some of the older stuff is a lot better than what you see today. It's not the same. A lot of stuff we have and a lot of stuff that was made back then was made in Canada. It's nice to see that on the bottom of something. It's been around. It could be 40 to 60 years it's been around and still working just fine."

In addition to better quality, Thompson says prices are comparable, maybe better than modern furniture.

He points to a solid wood table in the shop with a $400 price tag. 

"This guy's been around since probably the 60s," he said fondly. "Makes you feel at home. Makes you feel comfortable. It's a lot about memories. When I was redoing the furniture one of my tag lines was 'refinishing your memories. These things are still good. They need a little polish. Bring back some good memories."

Mosquito Emporium is located at 9 Clapperton St.

The grand opening is Nov. 25.

"It's an adventure," said Thompson.


Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
Read more