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Frog’s Whiskers Ink is a delightful art rubber stamp and scrapbooking store located in Campbellford, a quiet little town in Ontario , Canada . It is situated north of Lake Ontario , two hours east of Toronto , right in the middle of Cottage Country. Frog’s Whiskers Ink, originally started through the efforts of Leslie Cronk, grew and expanded when Rose-Marie Kerr and husband Tom took over in 1997. Since then it has grown many times more to become Central Ontario’s largest art rubber stamp store. “’It’s OK to play’ has to be the motto for our rubber stamp and scrapbooking store.” says Tom, “and that means kindergarten for everybody. That’s what stamping and scrapbooking is all about. You get to create a picture, cut paper, glue stuff together, splash it with green, red and pink markers, chalks or paints, and you are old enough to stay within the lines but don’t always, because you don’t have to.” Rose-Marie demonstrates that very principal-what stamping and scrapbooking are all about-from the display boards that line the walls to the stamp designs she draws herself. From the moment you walk into the store, the warmth and friendly atmosphere are evident.

The Business Grows
Before Rose-Marie got involved in art rubber stamps, she was self-employed as a professional seamstress, ran a craft shop out of her home and was part-owner of a book store located in the downtown core of Campbellford. It was during this time that she was asked to teach craft classes at the local hospital. One of the classes involved the many ways to use a rubber stamp. That one class, using one stamp, resulted in requests for more classes and more stamps. Before long, stamping classes not only became the most-requested class each week-the students were now looking for supplies to purchase.

Frog’s Whiskers Ink’s owner was no stranger to retail, as she had been operating her own business for 25 years. With no store close by, she started researching how she could look after this growing interest market. It was during her search to secure supplies for her craft classes that she ended up finding and later purchasing an ongoing rubber stamp business located some distance away. Frog’s Whiskers Ink’s new home became Campbellford.

On weekends and during certain times of the year, the home-based store went “on the road,” appearing at many of the local mall craft shows, as well as the Toronto Craft & Hobby Show, each spring and fall. “We had a terrific system,” explains Tom. “We would wheel our display units into a show, pull out the top two drawers and set them up as the display. The remaining drawers were filled with stock.”

The customer base kept growing and so did the need for more stamps, paper and supplies, so a search for more space became necessary. When the opportunity arose to own all of the interest in the town bookstore, Frog’s Whiskers Ink moved out of its home and in with Kerr’s Corner Books. “Having two businesses together works well in a small town,” Rose-Marie explains, “because each business has a different peak period.”

Classes for All Seasons and Reasons
Frog’s Whiskers Ink is in a large cottage area with a small permanent population. Many times, when families are down for the holidays, the men go off fishing. Then the store hosts special “Cottage Classes,” “Make & Takes” and “Multi-Generation Classes” to take the boredom blues away. In addition to the regular ongoing classes, one of the most successful classes the store runs is “I loved it when I bought it, now what do I do with it?” The input from all members of the class has lead to the discovery of many unusual stamp and paper combinations.

“I have found,” says Rose-Marie, “that the class schedule is outdated as soon as it is issued. If a patron can’t attend a listed class, we will add an additional class if four or more people are also interested in attending. Because we are a destination store, we have requests for private classes for groups of friends travelling together from a distance. We will set up the class and make reservations at a local restaurant or bed and breakfast if requested. The extra work involved is negligible when you consider the additional sales made because the crafters are not feeling rushed. If the group is staying overnight, a second class is often set up for the following day.”

In addition to the regular ongoing classes, one of the most successful classes the store runs is ‘I loved it when I bought it, now what do I do with it?” The input from all members of the class has lead to the discovery of many unusual stamp and paper combinations.

The demo table in the store is always covered with ongoing projects. The staff will happily stop what they are doing to show a shopper a new technique or demonstrate how a card was assembled, using the stamps and supplies available for classes.  If a customer is interested in a particular sample card, a color photocopy is available.

More Store Programs

Rose-Marie and Tom wanted to find a way to service their clients who lived at a distance. In response to this need, they created a website for Frog’s Whiskers Ink. It was created as an extension of the store, to be basic and user-friendly; now it has expanded, with an online shopping cart introduced this year.  The store offers a rewards program, which applies to Frog’s Whiskers Ink, the bookstore and items purchased on the website.  Sales run through a central checkout. “We keep a database of names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses on the computer with a pre-set value for purchases,” Rose-Marie explains. “When the customer has spent $200 (not including sale items), the computer will apply a $10 credit to her next purchase or, if the customer wishes, save it for another day. We use the e-mail database to keep our customers up-to-date with special promos, sales, class lists and downloadable projects.”

More Expansion

2004 has been a special year, as Rose-Marie and Tom have expanded their business again. The building adjacent to the corner store location came up for sale and is now part of Frog’s Whiskers Ink. Not only has the expansion allowed them to expand product lines, but the store now boasts a much larger classroom, which serves as a teaching and meeting place for stampers, scrapbookers and wedding parties.  “The expansion fanfare included a huge party and lots of door prizes that we had picked up or were donated by our suppliers,” Rose-Marie recalls. “My daughter helped out that day and said she felt like Santa Claus, passing out so many gifts and presents.”

The party celebrations spilled out onto the street as customers left clutching make-it and take-its and balloons along with their purchases.

Frog’s Whiskers Ink has come a long way from its beginnings nine years ago. It has expanded and moved ahead while making sure the customers have fun and are looked after ‘ first. Tom and Rose-Marie also started their own line of stamps called Rosewood three years ago. There are specials and events every month on one side of the store or the other, and through it all, it is still a cute little store run by two very nice people.

A visit to Frog’s Whiskers Ink is well worth the trip. Easy access north from 401 on Highway 30 at Brighton or south from Highway #7 at Havelock locates Campbellford. Whichever way you travel, all directions to Campbellford will bring you to Frog’s Whiskers Ink. They are right on the corner of the East Side of the Campbellford Bridge , located with their sister business, Kerr’s Corner Books. Two great stores at one super downtown location! Come shopping and spend the rest of the day in Campbellford visiting the charming restaurants and gift stores.  Tom and Rose-Marie love their town and so will you.

Frog’s Whiskers Ink

Box 220 , 39 Bridge St. East

Campbellford , ON , KOL 1LO Canada

705 653-4335

FAX 705 653-1655

e-mail: [email protected]


Article from Rubber Stampin’ Retailer September/October 2004

Frog’s Whiskers Ink – Rubber Stamps
Box 220, 39 Bridge St. East, Campbellford, Ontario, Canada, K0L 1L0
Tel: 705-653-4335Fax: 705-653-1655 Email: [email protected]