ST. PETER’S: After 24 years at the home of its originator, Marion MacLeod-Stone, the Glad Tidings Christmas Shop has headed up the road to share space with one of the village’s newest businesses.
Diddle’s Café and Bakery, which opened in 2015 on Grenville Street, is now home to the remaining inventory of the holiday-themed shop that officially wrapped up its operations this past Christmas. Diddle’s chef and general manager Dillon Carter is also supplementing these decorations, ornaments and other Yuletide items with new orders from MacLeod-Stone’s traditional product lines to ensure the Glad Tidings legacy continues.
While Carter’s culinary creations had earned a loyal following at Diddle’s over its two years of operation, he didn’t connect the St. Peter’s snack stop with the village’s long-running Christmas supply store until a visit to MacLeod-Stone’s home “to buy a set of carolers” during Glad Tidings’ final weeks in business this past fall.
“I said, to myself, ‘I’d love to have the place,’ and then she said, ‘Oh, you’d be so good at it – you’d do great, you could do it,’” Carter told The Reporter Thursday morning.
“And I got to thinking, ‘I can’t see it closed – I just can’t.’ So… at the end of January, I went to see Marion, and we had a nice long conversation, and I said, ‘Would you be interested in selling it?’ And she said, ‘You know, I never thought of it, really.’ And that’s how it started.”
With the Glad Tidings name now side-by-side with that of Diddle’s on the business’ exterior, and the café’s Web site and Facebook page altered to reflect the difference, Carter has noticed enthusiasm from locals and visitors alike since officially re-launching the Christmas shop at its new location in mid-May.
“We had a bunch of ladies from Glace Bay who stopped in and said, ‘We come in all the time, and we were so happy to hear that you had re-opened,’” Carter beamed.
“There have been a lot of people that have been coming in and saying, ‘Thank you for reopening it’… It was a big tradition for them to come here all the time and they would bring their friends and family from away, because it’s different – there’s nothing in the area like it, a Christmas shop that’s open in the middle of the summer.”
Already attracting a steady stream of customers with Diddle’s homemade baked goods, soups, sandwiches, and specialty coffees such as lattes and cappuccinos, Carter and his five additional employees are anticipating a busy summer with the addition of the Christmas shop.
“In July, August and September [last year]… from the time I walked in here at 8 o’clock in the morning to the time I closed at 8 o’clock at night, it was just a madhouse,” Carter recalled with a smile.
“And now I’m meeting new people – we meet a lot of Marion’s customers that come into the gift shop, and we have a lot of our customers at the café that have been popping in and buying stuff and just loving it.”