By: Janice Burdon
My husband and I moved to Hudson 15 years ago because we wanted to live in the country. I wanted clean air, nature and space to breathe. Hudson’s small- town quaintness can’t be beat. The minute you drive down Cameron street, it’s almost as if you’re in a different world. When people ask me where I live and I tell them Hudson, the reply is always, “Oh, you’re so lucky! I hear it’s such a nice town.” There is a homegrown feeling to Hudson where everyone knows everyone. You can’t walk down the street without bumping into someone you know. Oftentimes, people asking for directions to either Finnegan’s Market or the Willow Inn will stop me along Main road. I’m proud of our landmarks, so with a big smile, I give them directions and wish them a good time.
When we first moved here, we only had one car so I shopped locally. I remember, in early December, how I would cruise the little shops along Main Street and Cameron for Christmas presents. To my surprise, I picked up many interesting and unique gifts that I knew I wouldn’t find anywhere else. Vendors were friendly and helpful and it felt good to just putter around town instead of fighting over merchandise in larger stores. Then the Walmart in Vaudreuil was built and Smart Centers began drawing customers away from Hudson. Businesses in Hudson felt the pinch and many came and went. Some even closed for good because they just couldn’t compete with bigger stores or pay the high business taxes and rent.
Many small towns in Quebec and even Ontario are also feeling the effects of bigger shopping malls and Smart Centers that seem to loom up almost overnight. “Small towns are suffering and are trying to save themselves,” says Patrick O’Grady, president of ‘société développement commercial’. This is why he encourages events such as the Merchants Christmas Market taking place on November 22 at the Stephen Shaar Community Center in Hudson. The event will feature many local businesses such as: Boutique Judith, Pure Art, Trinkets, Façade, Penny Pets, La Cache, Les Artisans de Hudson, Salon Veronique, Hudson Ice cream, Le Nichoir, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, décor Serenity and many others. It amazes me just how many businesses there are in our little town. The evening will also host the Festival of Lights, which is our famous lighting of the Christmas tree in front of Town Hall, where the whole town of Hudson comes alive with lights galore. The town’s people come out and sing carols with candles in hand and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate provided by Hudson’s Parks and Recreation Department. It’s a magical time that shows off Hudson’s unique personality and charm. The following two days, at the Community Center in Hudson, artisans will be selling their many treasures. I know for a fact, my neighbour David Legault will be selling his handcrafted wooden, acrylic and soapstone pens. He’s been crafting beautiful pens for 10 years now and has many different ones to choose from. I buy from him every year and give his pens as unique gifts! Patrick O’Grady explains that events such as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Santa Claus Parade, Hudson Street Fair, Easter Egg Hunt and other events give Hudson the opportunity to show off the different businesses that we have in our little town. “We want to bring to life the sense of community and attract people to shop in our local little businesses.”
I love the small-town feel. Instead of going to bigger grocery stores, I love to shop at Hudson’s IGA because of the amazing service I receive. When I want something special, they order it. The butcher always caters to me when I need a special cut of meat. I needed last-minute cupcakes one day with special icing for my son’s school party and the bakers helped me out. There’s something to be said about small towns and small businesses, which offer great service that we tend to overlook. “It’s about the quality of service clients receive here. It’s not easy running a business in this day and age, period. You have to offer something special and unique with integrity that keeps customers coming back time and time again,” says Louis Thifault. The small town of Hudson offers an invitation for people from outside our little town to come and check out what we have to offer. You will not only leave Hudson with some treasures but also with a smile and I promise, you will be treated very well.
The Merchants Christmas Market is being held on Friday, November 22 from 3- 9 p.m. at the Stephen Shaar Community Center in Hudson and don’t forget the Festival of Lights that kicks off at 6 pm. in front of Town Hall.
The Craft Show will take place on Saturday, November 23 and Sunday, November 24, from 10 a.m.-3 pm. at the Stephen Shaar Community Center.
****Don’t forget our Santa Claus Parade on Dec. 1 at 1p.m.
Janice Burdon is a proud Hudsonite and owner of Ultimate Motion Fitness. www.ultimatemotionfitness.ca
Picture on top: Louis Thifault with his great gang of workers at the Hudson IGA