Skip to content

Estevan downtown business offers many gift ideas, plans on adding coffee bar and more

Lemons Gifts and More opened at 1205 Fourth Street in Estevan in December of 2021, offering a variety of gifts and souvenirs, jewellery, clothes, collectibles and more.

ESTEVAN — Lemons Gifts and More, a family-run business that also views their customers as part of the family, is nearing its first anniversary in Estevan and has many development plans.

Lemons Gifts and More opened at 1205 Fourth Street in Estevan in December of 2021, offering a variety of gifts and souvenirs, jewellery, clothes, collectibles and more.

Brenda Bender, the store owner and operator, has been managing retail for many years, but she is also a master herbalist and plans to use her knowledge and expertise in the store.

"My goal with the store eventually is health and wellness. So there is lots of new to come," Bender said.

She's owned a health food store before, and managed Dolly Sue's Marketplace and Petals to the Metal Flower Shoppe and Boutique in the last few years. Opening her own store, Bender knew she wanted to grow it in a new direction, in which she personally had knowledge and experience.

Not that long ago, she got to spend a few months abroad, and that's where her ideas started growing and the name was born. 

"The name came from me spending time in Spain when my daughter was studying as a fashion designer. On her graduation, I went there and spent three months in Spain with her and her husband. And loved it, loved the culture, loved the lemon trees, just loved it," Bender recalled.

"My daughter had a small lemon plant and it had grown very quickly into a huge lemon tree and it's now one of our friend's orchards. And just seeing the growth of that lemon tree and then thinking about the coffee bar and thinking fresh, fresh food, vegetarian, vegan is where I'm going with it. Because I want more freshness and more wholesome."

When opening Lemons Gifts and More, Bender had to take over the high-end Dolly Sue's inventory, and she is currently working on thinning it down to open up space for new ideas. In the near future, she plans to bring in a flower store and open a coffee bar, offering fresh, high-quality coffee, vegan and vegetarian soups and salads and baked treats to go, with her unique recipes.

"I am going to be catering a couple of specialties that nobody else has that are recipes that are passed down generations … I also will be working with fruits and stuff that are in season with the farmers market, the local farmers.

"It's what I want to give to the community from me, what I have left in me," Bender said, adding that her daughter, who currently helps at the store, would run the coffee bar, and she would take care of flowers and the rest of the store. 

Later on, Bender also plans to grow her health and wellness offering and bring in some healthy foods, while keeping the other elements as well as gift variety, including jewellery, collectable angels, décor and most popular lines of clothing.

In the meantime, Bender is working on new signage and lights and renovating the area in the front of the store for the coffee bar, while also building a kitchen in the back and preparing the space for the flower boutique. 

While the first months in the business were trying economically and personally, as Bender had to say goodbye to her brother over the summer months, she is optimistic about the future of the business and her soon-to-come offerings. She is hopeful that the community shares the value of shopping local, and despite a slower economy, local businesses will be able to continue serving people and meeting their needs.

"It's slow in the sense of retail, it's a slow economy right now. And I don't think I'm alone in that," Bender said. "Shop local is really important to keep emphasizing and getting people to support the local businesses to keep us here."

On top of Dolly Sue's collection and many gift ideas, Lemons Gifts and More has a wide collection of Christmas décor of all kinds, which is 25 per cent off all the way until the end of the year.

The store also features a community piano for people to come and play at any time.

"My community piano is really important to me to have the locals come in and when they have coffee, they can sit down and play. We have lots of people that come and play this piano. It is very beautiful."

Bender said the store is her happy place, and she wants it to be such for her customers as well.

"Customer service is a big thing for me," Bender said. "And I want people when they come through the door for it to be their happy place. They don't have to stress and worry. And that's why my motto is no pressure shopping. Just come in and look, and if you want to buy something I can help you find that. But there's no pressure.”