This Entrepreneur is Curating Joy with ‘Happy Thoughts’

By Rosalyn Gambhir

Welcome to the heart of downtown Kingston, where joy and creativity come together at Happy Thoughts! In this vibrant and charming shop, you'll find an assortment of quirky greeting cards, unique stationery, delightful books, puzzles, lush plants, jewelry, a kid's section that sparks the imagination, and a variety of gifts that’ll simply make you smile and take you back to your childhood.

But what makes Happy Thoughts truly special?

It's the brainchild of the sweet and creative Tammy Maynard, a passionate entrepreneur with a penchant for all things happy and pretty.

The Journey to Kingston

Tammy originally hails from the west of Mississauga. However, her ties to Kingston run deep, with a family cottage just an hour away in Westport. From childhood visits to commuting with her husband, who teaches at Queen’s University, Kingston has always held a special place in her heart. When they were expecting their first child, the couple decided to make the move to Kingston permanently from Waterloo, bringing their six-day-old daughter along for the adventure.

Curated Collection of Happiness

Happy Thoughts isn't just a shop, it's an embodiment of Tammy's vision. It’s a curated collection of things that make people happy. The diverse array of products reflects Tammy's personal taste, and she hopes that customers find excitement not only in buying gifts for others but also in treating themselves. Happy Thoughts is a treasure trove of joy featuring products from artisans both locally such as Vincent Perez of EverLovin' and around the world.

The Start of Happy Thoughts

Tammy's journey to Happy Thoughts started with a unique blend of experiences. Having worked at a marketing advertising agency in Waterloo and managing a shop in Toronto while attending school, Tammy found herself on maternity leave with a desire to embark on a new venture. With a supportive nudge from her husband, she took the plunge, and Happy Thoughts came to life in September 2018. The shop is a reflection of Tammy's bubbly personality, with bursts of brightness and colour that fill every corner.

The Kingston Connection

The name "Happy Thoughts" has a serendipitous origin rooted in Kingston itself. During a family outing to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Tammy stumbled upon a small wood-cut piece featuring the words "happy thought." Fate intervened as she and her husband had seen a similar item at the antique market earlier that day with the same words, sealing the destiny of the shop - “it was kismet” as she said. The name perfectly encapsulates the positivity and cheerfulness that radiates from Happy Thoughts.

To New Beginnings

A place of joy, creativity, and heartwarming moments. Tammy’s vision transformed Happy Thoughts into more than just a retail store in downtown Kingston. In June 2023, Happy Thoughts relocated to a new space on Brock St just a few steps away from Springer Market Square in Downtown Kingston. While the original location was perfect for growing the business, the move was a natural progression as the shop continued to outgrow its old space. The new location is a testament to the success and evolution of Happy Thoughts, a hub of happiness in the heart of Kingston.

So, the next time you find yourself strolling through the streets of Kingston, make sure to visit Happy Thoughts and let the magic unfold!

Fun Special Moment

One of Tammy's most cherished memories at Happy Thoughts occurred during the downtown Kingston event, Art After Dark. A couple from Toronto, in town visiting friends, contacted the shop to arrange a surprise engagement for their other half. It's these heartwarming moments that showcase the genuine connection Happy Thoughts has with its customers! 

Favourite Local Spots

When Tammy isn't busy curating joy at Happy Thoughts, you can often find her exploring her favourite spots in downtown Kingston. Mornings and weekends call for gatherings with friends at Peter’s Place and Northside Espresso + Kitchen. For a laid-back vibe and a touch of coolness, Tammy swears by Musiikki Cafe's back patio. When the day calls for a nice bottle of wine, Tammy heads to The Everly Wine Shop and when dinner plans are on the horizon, Tango Nuevo is one of her go-to spots for a nice night out with local flavours.

What she loves most about Downtown Kingston is the beautiful community connection with other shop owners, but also the abundance of mom-and-pop shops that give the area its unique charm - a sentiment that perfectly aligns with the spirit of Happy Thoughts.

Where: 60 Brock Street, Kingston, Ontario 

Rosalyn Gambhir  

I’m a daydreamer, a foodie, an adventurer, and an explorer. But most of all, a tourist in my own backyard of the limestone city rediscovering old favourites and hidden gems. As a proud Kingstonian for over a decade and an alumna of Queen's University, I has thrived in this vibrant community, which has fueled her creativity and passion for building a strong online community and supporting local businesses through my blogging, social media and freelance writing.

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