The art-school past and creative passion of Freak Lunchbox co-owner Jeremy Smith shows up in the look of his store every day. He and his wife Erin (who also own Peepshow Girly Boutique next door) came up with the concept long before opening the business. They arrived from Toronto, where Jeremy spent five years at the Ontario College of Art and Design. "I started doing windows at a comic store on Queen Street West," called Silver Snail. They'd pay him with $300 of credit towards product in the store. What he found was his skills as a painter kept getting him freelance work, but the intensity of Toronto started to wear. "There was no way we were going to get ahead," he says, and after a brief stint in London, Ontario, the Smiths chose Halifax without knowing much about it. Working in food service, they took a chance at the candy store concepts, with Smith designing all the signage and the look of the place in the month before they opened. Now he works in the basement studio of Peepshow, always busy with a new project to help accentuate the colour and appeal in the businesses. "It actually is a homemade, family-run candy store," he says of Freak Lunchbox. He's seen the larger companies try to emulate what he and Erin have accomplished, but "with the corporate versions you can't feel the love."
Silver: Biscuit General Store
Bronze: Peepshow Girly Boutique