Although Don Cherry sports threads made by The Coop Ink, John Corallo says his dad Sal is their biggest promoter.
Both the menswear shop and his father’s barbershop Corallo Hair Care Centre have longstanding ties to the community that date back decades.
“My brother Mike, myself, our dad Sal, 53 years we’ve been in business in the neighbourhood,” says John. “That’s the family business, so it’s kind of neat to be in the same ’hood with him.”
The Coop Ink, which takes its name from the Harvard campus co-op store, was located at Yonge Street and Glenforest Road for 29 years, but now has a home up the street near Teddington Park Avenue. During the grand opening party at the new three-storey store, complete with exposed brick, high ceilings and a massive chandelier, they also raised money and sold teddy bears to benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada.
“We consider ourselves a community store,” John says. “There’s not a school or a charity or church group in this neighbourhood that we haven’t supported over all the years that we’ve been here.”
John says he came on board with the store in 1998 and took over ownership from founder Vev Kline in 2001 and previously worked at Harry Rosen for several years.
He says he hits the markets four times a year in New York and Toronto to find stock to suit his clients, which include brands like Hugo Boss, Ermenegildo Zegna, Ted Baker and John Varvatos. He also offers custom tailoring.
While the average customers are between 30 and 60 years old, he says they also have clothes aimed at youth since many kids come in with their dads and want to mirror their style.
“There are a lot of long-term customers and there’s also a lot of new customers too who just moved into the area,” he says. “The idea is they leave, somebody else on the street tells them how good they look, our job is done.”
John says The Coop clan, which includes his one and only sibling Michael, his wife Krista who handles the administrative side of the business, Jeff Cairns, the longest standing Coop employee and Joe Russo, who used to work with him back at Harry Rosen, have all become like family.
He says the atmosphere at The Coop Ink has become like a men’s club and they can all be found schmoozing and eating lunch with customers along the back bar.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t say we can’t be a reality show because there’s always something going on,” he says. “I mean I’m working with my brother so I know there’s going to be chaos.
“The customers that come in plus the mix of personalities that we have, we have old in here we have young in here we have different views so it’s fun to kind of see the camaraderie and the silliness that sometimes transpired. I mean every day puts a smile on your face.”
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