Inside The Charming Stratford Shop Wills & Prior
For co-owner Sarah Smithers, Wills & Prior – Stratford, Ontario’s newest design destination — was a journey decades in the making. Sarah, a former Toronto PR pro, had always dreamed of having her own shop. “And when I pictured it, it always existed in my hometown of Stratford,” she says. But plans didn’t really get underway until she moved back to Stratford with her husband, David Gilhooly, in November 2016. The duo bought their first house, unpacked, and immediately got to work on a business plan. By April, the store was open.
Set in Stratford’s charming downtown area, Wills & Prior is classic and welcoming. David, a carpenter, fixed up the interior, replacing a stuccoed section of the ceiling with tongue-and-groove panelling and installing a chair rail. Locally made, turned maple candleholders and walnut wall hooks share space with linen bath and kitchen towels, as well as new and vintage mirrors and lighting. Moroccan leather poufs and Sabra silk, mudcloth and Beni Ouarain pillows have global appeal. “The magic is in the mix,” says Sarah. Though the store feels sophisticated, it’s still approachable. “To us, the most important thing is creating an inspiring and friendly experience.”
Located at 22 Wellington St., Stratford, Ontario