WESTMOUNT – When Gail and Gerard Fellerath moved to Montreal from the United States, they always dreamed of running a small shop together.
“I was standing in a shop in Mexcio City,” said a nostalgic Gail Fellerath.
“We had always thought it would be kind of neat to have a store. I was standing with folk art and I thought, ‘why not this?’”
So, 42 years ago the store Folklore I was created.
It was a mom and pop store born from the passion that the couple had for travel and for scouting out unique handmade treasures.
They started off in a tiny store not far from where the shop stands now and eventually moved into a bigger location.
Gail ran the store full time, while Gerard kept money coming into the household.
What they created, though, was much more than a store, it was a place where everyone knows your name.
It was a neighbourhood drop-in centre of sorts where Westmounters loved to come by, catch up and then continue on with their day.
Abigail Anderson shopped there for more than 30 years, and Folklore I holds a very special place in her heart.
“This is my favourite place on the entire street,” she said. “It’s like a community here.”
“It’s a community of people and we just love Gail and Gerard and we love the store. It’s going to be very, very sad when it goes.”
That’s the kind of story you hear over and over again about Folklore I.
Jeweler Cynthia Hawkes worked at Folklore I for 28 years.
She created her own line of jewellery for display in the shop, but this week, she’s been spending a lot of her time consoling customers.
“They’re shocked a bit. They need our support, so we’ve been doing a lot of counselling,” she said, laughing.
On a street where more and more expensive brand name stores are moving in, Folklore I, has always stood out as a shop with a unique soul.
Despite its success however, the Felleraths decided it was time to retire and move on to the next stage of their lives.
“It’s really allowed us to travel and to work together,” said Gerard. “And all in all, its been great life.”