Midtown strong with entrepreneurial spirit

Setting up a business is not an easy task but business owner Bev Ardith shares her insight on what you should research before your store hits the streets

Big-box companies undoubtedly take a heavy toll on many smaller businesses — local, entrepreneurial ones, especially.

But take a stroll through Midtown and you’ll see the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and well.

From boutique to galleries to cafes, from Mount Pleasant to St. Clair to Summerhill, savvy and strong-willed business owners put their hearts and souls into their ventures.

Bev Ardith has been in the Yonge-Lawrence Village area for over three decades.

Her shop, Ardith One, Canadian Pottery & Crafts, represents over 60 potters from across Canada. It was launched in 1971 by Ardith and Bill Don (photo above).

But before they opened their doors and established themselves as longtime business owners and entrepreneurs — for 34 years, that is — the Ardith One co-owners did their homework.

[quote]It’s all about location, location, location.[/quote]

“If you’re starting from scratch, you have to allow a certain amount of time to build your business,” Ardith said. “Unless you’re some kind of overnight sensation, and done a great deal of publicizing yourself, I think you have to really think it through”.

Part of the research involves choosing the right locality.

“It’s all about location, location, location,” Ardith said. “You have to rely immediately on the people who are in the area.

“This is not an industrialized area. This is not a strip plaza. We have residents all around us.”

But even in an area booming with people, there are challenges. Business may still not be guaranteed all-year round.

Judy Kusoglo, owner of CashmereNess, a clothing shop in Mount Pleasant, said the summers in this area are really challenging.

“A lot of people seem to go away,” Kusoglu said. “Some of the restaurants even close down for August.

“Then autumn comes around and it picks up again.”

Though business fluctuates and challenges abound, there still seems to be a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

“I believe this is a really strong area,” Kusoglu said. “I could build up a really good clientele here.”

The entrepreneurial feeling may stem from the advantages of starting your own business.

“You get to be your own boss,” Bev said.

Being your own superior, however, means you have to advertise yourself.

“It’s very much get out there and promote yourself, and not sit back quietly and expect people to come to you,” Kusoglu said. “It’s your own decisions. You can make or break it, and it takes a hell of a lot of energy.”

About this article:

By: Sharon Ko
Posted: Nov 23 2010 4:08 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto