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Nature’s Millworks closing its doors

·3 min read

PAISLEY – Nature’s Millworks, located on the banks of the Teeswater River, has become a haven for tourists, local artists and crafters in the Paisley area, but come the end of the month, the doors on this special business will be closing.

When Helen and Paul Crysler moved to Paisley from Toronto in 2002, they knew they had their work cut out for them with the old mill they’d purchased two years earlier. And they knew they wanted to be part of the community.

The second part was easy. Paul said that within a week, he was on two committees. Both he and Helen have been very active in Paisley and area. They’ve been on the local chamber of commerce. Helen is past president of the community choir. Paul served as president of the Walkerton BIA and is proud to have been a founding board member of the Brockton and Area Family Health Team (five communities, all with new clinics, he noted).

Then there’s tourism – founding president of Regional Tourism Ontario District Seven, and chair of the Lake Huron Shoreline Tourism Marketing group. “And other stuff,” said Paul.

Community involvement came quite naturally. Said Paul, “All the people we met are completely dedicated to the community and it can’t help but rub off.”

The first part was more difficult. The former Paisley City Roller Mills, built in 1885, was huge, and basically derelict. “When we moved in, I thought it would be a 15-year project,” said Paul. “It took a bit longer to fix up the building. We’ve done a huge amount of work.”

They did all the refurbishing of the building themselves. That includes living quarters, as well as the retail space on the first floor and the gallery on the second floor where art shows and events are held.

In the retail space, everything is based on nature, said Helen. And it’s for sale at discounted prices, because in January, the Cryslers will be moving to British Columbia, to be closer to their family – two daughters and three grandchildren.

While they’re eager to get on with the next step in their lives, leaving Paisley won’t be easy. “We got to know the artists and artisans – they’re almost like family,” said the Cryslers.

Nature’s Millworks closes its doors Dec. 20, and the Cryslers will be able to get their possessions packed in preparation for the move. Until then – drop in, chat, browse and take in one of the loveliest retail outlets in the area.

As for the mill, the building sold last week. The Cryslers declined to comment on what will be going in once they leave, but said a lot of people have wanted assurance the integrity of the building will be maintained.

For more information about Nature’s Millworks, located at 4575 Bruce Road 1, Paisley (head west at the GoCo station), visit www.naturesmillworks.com.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times