When moving to rural Nova Scotia became a thought for Melanie Strong, she realized that she'd have to make her own job to make it work. Small towns in Nova Scotia are beautiful and vital in their own way but finding a job in your field is not always the easiest. 

With over 10 years of managerial experience and a few retail positions under her belt, Melanie had the idea to fulfill a dream and start a brick & mortar shop. With a very tiny savings and a lot of research, she opened the doors in Lunenburg in August 2011. 

 We chose the beautiful town of Lunenburg for its friendliness, its position as a major tourist destination and its proximity to both Halifax and a cozy country home we hoped to buy eventually. The storefront we found just sealed the deal. 

 The building we’re located in (the former Knickles Photography Studio) was built in 1906. The building was used as a studio by Lewis Hirtle, a well-known local photographer. Except for a brief period during WWII (when it was a Norwegian restaurant) it served as a photography studio up until recently. The storefront has not been substantially altered since it was built and the interior boasts high, beautifully reconditioned tin ceiling and crown moulding as well as original schoolhouse lights from the 1930s.

Originally envisioned as a handmade-only boutique, over the years we’ve expanded to offer much, much more. While we still love & value the principles and aesthetic of handmade work, we realized that there were so many other amazing goods to sell that just couldn’t be or weren’t being handmade. 

 When buying for the shop we have a few criteria in mind and all products must meet one of our 3 tenets: beautiful, functional and/or fun. We love the juxtaposition in shop of a beautiful ceramic piece next to a snarky sock. 

 While we are located in a tourist destination and do seek to provide visitors with some really unique souvenirs and treats, we are also truly a locals shop. We stay open all year, 7 days a week, and provide our regular customers with gifts for all occasions and goodies for the home.



Dots & Loops is owned, operated & fussed over by Melanie Strong. She likes ice cream, good sci-fi and loud music. She lives in the woods with her partner Stephen and their old cats, old dog, disabled bunny & horde of chickens. 

 Melanie grew up in Nova Scotia (Truro, to be exact) and teeters between being a fierce advocate of both the province (and ability to live rurally) and wanting to live somewhere without winter. Having spent nearly a decade living in the provincial capital city of Halifax, she and her partner were lured by the promise of a slower pace of life. Now with a thriving business in town, they have the dream of a small fixer-upper on acreage in the countryside, a short commute and a home full of animals and art. 

 You won’t often find Melanie working the shop floor due to her introvert nature but she spends her days working on the business behind the scenes. From answering your questions to sourcing new products to updating our online shop, she knows from experience that as an entrepreneur your business will take as much work as you’re willing to put into it.


Melanie Strong


Melanie finds it weird to write about herself in the third person but did manage to type out a spiel further up the page. She's always improving her ability to not kill plants.

Ashley Cooper


Ashley is the go-to gal around the shop. When you visit, you're most likely to see her friendly face behind the counter. Ashley bakes a mean cookie and her cat Newt has his own Instagram.

Kaleigh MacIsaac


Kaleigh has been with us the longest of any of our employees. Her vibrant smile will greet you during the summer days and nights, as she's currently in university and joins us seasonally.

Autum Mason


Autum's chill, laid back demeanour is perfect for the summer night shifts you'll find her working. Autum is currently enrolled in university and is BFF with Kaleigh - we're going to go ahead and say they owe it to the shop for that one.