Janet Pickard has an interesting and varied resume but the Sweaburg resident has brought many of her talents to a new store featuring many products from local artists and artisans. She has lived in the small Oxford town since 1980, and her work history includes landscaping, retail, greenhouse merchandising and creating gift baskets, much of which has helped her open Just Because by Janet in Woodstock.
Janet’s inspiration for opening the store came from an incredibly special woman. “I had a friend who kept telling me I should be doing baskets for myself and the name comes from what she said to me.” Janet’s friend, unfortunately, died of cancer but 2 days before that made Janet promise to take her talents and create her own business. “I said to her I don’t know what I would call it, and she said Just Because. Every time you give somebody a gift for no reason, and they ask why you say Just Because.” She also wants to credit friends Bev Rajani and Gail Tabor for all the hard work they have done and continue to do daily to make this venture possible.
Janet has always had a keen interest in art and that has made stocking her store easy. “I was a co-chair for Art in the Park in Sweaburg and also helped coordinate artisan shows at the Elm Hurst Inn and Cowan Park so I have had the privilege of meeting all of these talented people who create beautiful pieces of art, natural skincare, the list is extensive.” If someone comes into the store and doesn’t quite have what the customer wants, she can order directly from the artist or artisan. Pickard did have a similar business in Sweaburg but closed it down after her husband retired so they could travel.
Janet isn’t 100 percent sure how long the store will be operating, mainly due to COVID-19. “We don’t know what is going to be in front of us for the next few months. I didn’t want to get into a long-term situation, so I am able to lease the space month to month.” The stock at Just Because was fall and Halloween themed until recently, but Christmas goods have now joined her regular stock. The store is selling decorations but also candles, stained glass, wall art, jewelry, baby items and much more, but the main part of her business is still creating gift baskets for individuals and companies. “We are trying to have a little bit of everything. It’s a lot in a little store,” she added.
The business has been very well received so far. “I think shopping local has been the key to our success so far. I think people are enjoying the fact they can go to an art and craft show almost every day here in town and there is no admission fee. You just have to sanitize your hands and wear a mask,” she said.
Just Because by Janet is located at the corner of Dundas and Wellington Streets in downtown Woodstock. They are open by appointment on Tuesday, 10 to 5 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays from 10 to 6 and Saturdays from 10 to 4.
Find Just Because by Janet on Facebook.