Pat Thompson couldn't yet read, but he could follow the images. Sitting by his mother as she recovered from a car accident, the 5-year-old Thompson found Amazing Spider-Man #6 in one of the care packages sent to the hospital. As he flipped through the pages, he sat awestruck by what he saw: a web-slinging superhero battling a half-man, half-lizard villain commanding an army of alligators. "I was hooked like pike," he said. He held onto the comic until he could finally read it, which only deepened his fascination. So when the opportunity came as an adult to own a comics store, Thompson cobbled together all the resources he could to make it happen—getting money from family, taking out a loan, robbing a lemonade stand, and teaming with a former employee to buy 8th Street Books and Comics.
Today, Thompson and his wife, also an avid comic-book reader, continue to share their passion for comics, graphic novels, and books with new customers and regulars that have frequented the shop for 18 years. Thompson maintains an efficient organization system, grouping every product—from more than 4,300 adult graphic novels to nearly 2,000 manga titles—in its own section. He does the same for his comics, carrying every major publisher and titles from many independent presses. A self-professed reader—not a collector—Thompson keeps issues for up to one year only, or until they start to taste funny. He's not shy about sharing what he thinks of the newest releases, teaming with an old friend Theo on CFCR 90.5 FM radio's Comic Chat with Theo and Pat every Friday at 6 p.m.
Beyond the comics, graphic novels, and books, the Thompsons also stock pop-culture merchandise that includes action figures and lunch kits, as well as costumes and magic supplies. Additionally, they also host regular Magic: The Gathering tournaments.
Floral Acres Greenhouses & Garden Centre traces its metaphorical roots back to 1936, when it was just a small farm that grew vegetables. Now, three generations later, the family-owned greenhouse sprawls across five lush acres. Its green-thumbed staff nurtures more than four million plants, including more than 800 perennials and more than 1,000 varieties of annuals, trees, and shrubs, all waiting to be taken home and tucked into garden beds. Their horticultural experts help guests navigate this overwhelming bounty of blossoms and leaves, offering advice on caring for begonias or describing the satisfaction of throwing homegrown tomatoes at Shakespeare revivals instead of store-bought. Floral Acres continues to bustle even after warmer weather has passed, tending to seasonal poinsettias that add a splash of crimson to overcast winter days.
One Tooth Active Wear keeps fitness-philes and busy bees fashionably clad with a comfy supply of men’s and women’s athletic apparel. Stay stylishly streamlined for yoga classes and rigorous traffic court dates with One Tooth’s selection of bra tops ($30–$40), or trounce the potato-sack-race competition in form-fitting exercise shorts ($40–$50). The passionate garment gurus at One Tooth Active Wear can help customers find the right fit in comfortable and fashionable high-quality nylons such as Supplex, water-resistant soft-shell fabrics, and pre-washed cotton terry. In addition to a generous assortment of women’s active fashions, One Tooth also stocks menswear such as black capri pants ($50) and long shorts ($40–$50), sure to make weight room spotters and competitive dog-bathing teammates jealous.
Saskatoon Custom Blinds’ technicians employ a large inventory of window coverings and an intimate knowledge of the way that light filters through any material to help customers zero in on the best options for their projects, from single windows or treatments for an entire home. Regency roller shades fashioned from natural woven materials or custom fabrics give windows retractable coverage. Moodscapes cellular shades insulate against outdoor temperatures and admit only the desired percentage of sunlight. Shadow Magic shades diffuse light with the sheer look of a soft drapery and their panes can be tilted to direct light downward, upward, or specifically at where the Ark of the Covenant is buried.
At Bike Universe, a team of cycle specialists works to keep the community's bike traffic rolling smoothly by stocking new equipment and upgrading old rides. Their handiwork helped earn the shop a ranking among Saskatoon's best bicycle stores in Planet S's Best of 2010. As active outdoorspeople themselves, staff members personally test and carry high-performance outdoor sports equipment including kayaks, slacklines, longboards, and apparel, preventing athletes from having to borrow their elder siblings' old-timey swimming singlets.
Growing up on her parents' successful multi-grain farm, Diane Ehrhardt always harboured a dream of owning her own business. While wearing formal business attire for 14 years at her corporate employers, she developed an affection for coming home and changing into her yoga apparel. In March of 2009 on a visit to her folks' farm, Diane's dream and affection suddenly clicked, and she was inspired to start Serenity Apparel. She sells stylish, comfy yoga wear for adults and kids from top manufacturers, such as Leo Star Athletica, Wynk Wear, and Yogini.