The Hive to close its doors in Honey Harbour

lauren patchett sits on a rock on Georgian bay looking out at the lake near her store The Hive Photo by Daniel Ehrenworth

It’s a sad day for Georgian Bay—after eight years in operation, The Hive in Honey Harbour, Ont., will close its flagship location after Thanksgiving weekend.

“It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” says owner Lauren Patchett, who opened the store in 2014 when she was just 22 years old. “The store is my baby.”

After initially leasing the building from the previous owner, Lauren was able to purchase the property in 2016. “My parents and I went in together as an investment,” says Lauren. But earlier this summer, her parents made the difficult decision to sell the building. “They need their share to rebuild a new home. And the difference between the market between last summer and this summer is so profound that when my parents did get a firm offer, they had to take it.” Shortly after they accepted the offer in May, the prices in the area dipped down.

The future of the building is yet to be determined, but the space will not be a retail store going forward. “Maybe I could have found another silent partner to help keep the place alive,” says Lauren. “But at the same time, I’m one of those people who needs to start a project. I like to bounce around.” Lauren opened a second location in Collingwood in late 2018 that she plans to expand. She’ll also focus her efforts on building out The Hive’s online store.

In the eight years that The Hive has been open, it’s grown to be much more than just a store. In addition to clothing and art inspired by the Bay, Lauren added an in-store café, a day spa in a nearby cabin, and yoga classes on the dock overlooking the lake. It’s become a hub for the community, a place that flourished in a small town where businesses struggle to survive more than one summer. “I love the Collingwood store, but from the bottom of my heart, it’ll never mean as much to me as the Honey Harbour store,” says Lauren.

But this may not be the end of the road for The Hive in Honey Harbour. “We’re looking at locations right now to potentially do a summer-long pop-up,” says Lauren. “That could be really exciting.”

As for Lauren herself, she might take on an entirely different project. “I was really inspired through COVID and my own personal struggles with mental health to get more involved in the mental health industry. I’d like to find a way to marry that with Georgian Bay,” she says. “I’m kind of starting over, and it’s a little nerve-racking, but it’s also exciting.”

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