In a little over a week I will mark my ninth anniversary of living in Canada. My husband and I rolled into Ottawa in a rented minivan packed full of my stuff on Friday, November 24th, 2000. The last leg of our trip coming up from Harrisburg, PA was scenic and gorgeous. We passed by the incomparable sight of lake effect snow on mountainsides and through forests for most of our hours traveling through upstate New York. By the time we got to Ottawa, the sun had set for the day and we were driving through rush hour to get to Matt's – now our – apartment through one of the first snowfalls of the year. It was one of those really nice snowstorms where the snow is just heavy enough that it falls gracefully from the sky and gives you a warm happy feeling, even if you’re trudging through it to move all of your most treasured possessions into your new home. It was a nice welcome to Ottawa for me.
As I was preparing for my move to Canada, I remember walking into one of my favorite stores in the fall of 2000 to buy some things for myself, as well as a few goodbye gifts for various friends and family. While there, I mentioned to the associate that I was going to be moving to Canada and asked if they had a Web site – or even better, stores in Canada. (Do you remember the days when you had to ask if a business had a Web site? Can you believe there was actually a time it wasn’t just a given?) If I remember correctly, they did have a site, though it wasn’t set up for e-commerce, so did me no good for ordering. She handed me a catalogue and said I could order from it, but they didn’t deliver in Canada. No stores, no e-commerce, no delivery - triple fail.
That store was Bath and Body Works. I’ve used their stuff since they opened in my hometown, Tallahassee, FL, going on about 20 years now. Victoria’s Secret offers similar products and is even owned by the same company, but their bath products never appealed to me the way Bath and Body’s does. I was aware of The Body Shop’s presence, but I pretty much never went there until I discovered their lip balm. Even after moving to Canada, I couldn’t get into the products on offer at The Body Shop. So, I did what anyone in my situation would do. I spent copious amounts every trip to Florida to stock up until the next trip – or I ordered off of Ebay. I was able to keep a steady supply of Bath and Body Works products in my bathroom cupboard for the past nearly nine years – without having a store within Canada’s borders for most of that time.
Then things started changing. A couple of years ago, I heard about a store opening in Toronto. And then a year ago, an even juicier rumor that a store was opening in Ottawa started circulating. I was ecstatic. I could see the light at the end of my Bath and Body Works starved tunnel! Without any substantiation, I took the rumor for fact and tucked it away in my memory banks to keep my eyes and ears open for any hint that my favorite store was indeed going to make a home for itself in Ottawa.
Two weeks ago, Bath and Body Works opened its first Ottawa store. As fate would have it, they chose to open in the mall that is CLOSEST TO ME!!! I was fortunate to hear about the opening from one of my local Ottawa Twitter friends who tweeted that she’d been to the grand opening. I wanted to run right out and see this momentous occasion for myself. However, I held back. I still had product in my cupboard and I’ve been using Bath and Body’s stuff for 20 years – I was happy to wait and let others experience the joy of my favorite bath shop. Besides, I figured that if I waited until the crowds died down, then I could more easily savor the experience of browsing through the store.
The first weekend, I waited because of the crowds. The second weekend, I was just too sick to bother. This past weekend, I was just well enough that I couldn’t wait anymore – and I needed to go pick something else up for Brandon anyway, so why not stop at my favorite bath store? It was the sensible thing to do.
Sometimes, when you build up the anticipation to a significant event, you end up feeling that it's anticlimactic. Other times, it is everything you hoped for. That’s how it was for me. I don’t know why I love my bath stuff, but I do. It’s a vice of mine. I love relaxing in a bubble bath that smells pretty while I read a book. I love putting lotion on after a shower and knowing that it’s going to hydrate my dry skin AND make me smell clean and nice. No doubt that there are scents that overdo it and I try to avoid those, but I always feel I’m pampering myself when I use my bath stuff – and I can pamper myself really easily and quickly everyday this way. I’ve never been a mani/pedi girl. If I go to get my hair cut four times a year it’s a lot. But I absolutely love some good bath stuff. It’s quick, easy and a whole lot cheaper than going to the spa!
I waited nearly 9 years to have the convenience of buying Bath and Body Works locally in Ottawa. It was worth the wait, but I’m SO happy the wait is over! I hope everyone else in Ottawa will love them as much as I do – though that’s probably a bit much to expect. :)