About Us


It all started in a basement in
St. Thomas, Ontario.

Hi! I'm Peter McDermid and that is my wife Stephanie in the picture above. Thank you for taking a look at our website and for checking out the About Us page!

A little about myself, I worked for a Not-For-Profit helping kids for 16 year in Elgin-County. In 2012, it was time to move on.

Stephanie has been in hospitality and retail her whole career.

Together, we founded Bear Friend Factory.  And we started in the basement of our house with one stuffing machine, a logo and a mission to help children and bring smiles to people's faces.


help from so much local talent

Family, friends and local support helped to get us to where we are today. After countless outdoor shows, festivals and questions about where our store was - we finally found a location for us. 

Sparta. It was everything we needed!

Armed with our new retail space and because we are strong advocates for supporting and giving back to the community around us, we had an idea.

And thus Whistle Stop Peddlers was born! Over 35 different local businesses have partnered with us and sell their ideas, products and inventions through us. We hope this number continues going up.



With 16 years in fundraising and working with a not-for-profit, I thought that there had to be more we could do to give back. This was where we established the ER Buddies program. I had experience with building fundraising programs and began to establish comedy shows, shopping buses and trips to see the Blue Jays. 

Along the lines we've donated over 900 ER Buddy stuffed companions to our local ER. How about that.


Thank you

Without people like you, we wouldn't be able to do what we do every day. So thank you for helping us to live our dream every day. Thank you for helping us donate nearly a thousand ER buddies to children in the hospital.  And thank you for helping over 35 different local artisans do what they love.


We'd love to hear from you.