A toast to Leaside for new businesses

Entrepreneurs in Davisville celebrate the new year with the opening of local restaurants, home care services and more shops

New Year, new beginnings.

Easy as one, two, three – right?

What I love about small business writing is hearing the personal stories behind every new venture. While it may seem like a person becomes an entrepreneur overnight, in truth the opening of a new biz is often the culmination of a longer personal and professional journey.

Take Francisco Bogado, owner of the recently opened Malbec Restaurant, an Argentinean resto with a touch of Mediterranean thrown in.

Bogado worked for 10 years in a Buenos Aires Sheridan Hotel restaurant before immigrating to Canada. He started as a dishwasher at 17, he tells me, and then worked his way up to bus boy. It took a few years to be promoted to waiter as times were good then and people held onto their jobs.

By the time Bogado left the hotel, he had been promoted to maitre d’. Once in Canada, he had to start at the bottom again as a bus boy. After a few months he took the plunge and began waiting tables in fine dining establishments – and no, though he applied, he never worked at the Sheridan here.

Twenty-plus years after arriving in Canada, Bogado opened his own resto this fall, in partnership with his wife.

Malbec is the former location of Steve’s Place Steakhouse & Seafood, which I’m told had been in the ’hood for 50 years before the owners retired – in fact Bogado says he knows the owners and they’re friends.

The resto is a casual dining place, I’m told, even though the lovely white table linens I spy when I pop in suggest otherwise. With medium-priced menus for lunch and dinner, Bogado says the joint isn’t really fine dining as he wants the neighbourhood to come in and try it out.

234 Merton St., 416-489-1488 www.malbecrestaurant.com

Meanwhile midtown residents and husband-and-wife team Cahal and Monica Carmody worked in their respective careers for about a quarter century before buying a Premier Homecare Services franchise that services the midtown area.

Cahal, a former financial services expert, and Monica, who worked for the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, say they wanted to get out of the corporate world and do something more relationship-focused that serviced their community.

Opening the doors to the Eglinton Avenue East office in September, the Carmodys say they decided to go with the Premier homecare franchise as it’s Canadian-owned and based right here in Toronto.

Many of the other homecare franchisees they were looking at are based in the U.S., they say, and didn’t appear to know much about the Canadian market.

Premier offers non-medical in-home care services like Alzheimer and dementia care, personal care assistance, meal planning and prep, medical reminders and light housekeeping.

There’s a need for this type of service as the government isn’t providing it to an aging population, Cahal says.

The couple works with over 30 caregivers at the moment, and say they take the time to ensure there’s a good fit between client and caregiver.

164 Eglinton Ave. East, suite 102, 416-637-2155 www.premierhomecareservices.com

Across the city, Beach resident Sal Sloan is getting ready to open the Leaside division of her new business, Fetching.

Fetching offers boot camp-style workouts to people that their dogs can come to. Plus, there’s obedience and agility training for pooch.

A former advertising person, Sloan says her life changed when she adopted dog Chewy from the Toronto Humane Society almost three years ago.

After adjusting to life with a new dog, and then holding a focus group with some fellow dog owner pals, Sloan realized people don’t feel they’re spending enough time with their dogs.

Classes are led by a dog trainer as well as by Sloan, a CanFit Pro certified personal trainer. There are also different levels offered according to the person’s fitness level and the degree to which your canine friend has been trained.

Sloan tells me that since she’s started the biz, she’s a changed person, and that her old job didn’t feel as purposeful as the new.

Leaside was a natural place to expand to, she says, as there are lots of active people there with dogs, and she was getting a lot of requests from people in the area.

So far the sessions are held in the evening.

If there’s a good response Sloan says she’s hoping to start up a daytime session.

The New Year’s session starts in Leaside the second week of January at the Leaside United Church on Millwood Road. Classes will be held outdoors once the warmer weather comes.

416-885-0998, www.fetching.ca

About this article:

By: Kelly Gadzala
Posted: Jan 5 2011 1:07 pm
Filed in: Business