Talking Shop: 6 beloved businesses north of Bloor


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IMAGE: Ted Chai

We all have a favourite local business that we've been frequenting since the day we moved into our nabe — whether it's a one-of-kind clothing store, an independent grocer's or a spa that makes us feel a million bucks.

But did you ever wonder what goes into the making of these friendly neighbourhood spots that make us want to shop local?

For these St Clair, Bathurst and Dupont business owners, it's a combination of tailored services, loyal customers — and a lot of hard work.

We chatted to six of the area's favourite businesses to find out what makes them so unique.

Urban Fare Food Shop
Paul and Eva Jannetta, Owners
1415 Bathurst Street (just south of St Clair), 416-532-1010

What’s going to be hot this spring? Vacuum-packed marinated meats and fish ready for the BBQ, healthy gluten free salads, and a new gift line from Italy!

Do you have any celebrity customers? We consider all our customers to be celebrities!! Many news anchors, also, NHL and OHL players frequent our shop in the summer for healthy meals, as well as many popular Toronto designers that come to find great unique gifts.

What has been your proudest moment in business? My family has been in business in this neighbourhood for 90 years. I’m very proud to continue our family legacy as a successful entreprenuer in the Hillcrest Area.

Greatest advice you ever received? Keep doing what you love, and don’t cut corners.

What makes your business unique? Our food shop is filled daily with freshly prepared and frozen foods, a remarkable selection of unique house wears, gifts, with a sit-in cafe, take out counter... and full service catering for home and office. 

Ayurveda Rituals
Andrea Olivera, Owner
1081 Bathurst Street, 416-504-6049

What's going to be hot for spring? Ayurveda Abhyanga bodywork with Indian Head massage and Shirodhara, known as the drip of peace. Warmed herbal oils continuously pouring over your third eye for the ultimate meditative state. I personally offer these treatments and am known as the Ayurveda Red Carpet Facial experience of Toronto by my celebrity clients.

Do you have any celebrity clients? Lately I have been servicing the cast from Designated Survivor & Taken. Maggie Q & Jennifer Beals have experienced my Goddess Ayurveda Rejuvenation Spa Day. In the past: John Taylor of Duran Duran, Tom Selleck, Dylan McDermott, Marcia Gay Harden, Joseph Fiennes and many others.

What makes your business unique? Creating rituals that address each persons needs. From Love attracting to forgiveness healing ceremonies for the Soul.

Describe your team: Each person has their special healing gift. Our Ayurveda doctors bring ancient wisdom to a modern world.

Graduates from my Ayurveda Spa Specialist program offer relaxing nurturing experiences that leave you feeling like you spent a day on a beach! Counseling and guidance from our homeopath brings emotional support and care. My team are caring individuals who love what they do! 

Forest Hill Ordothontics
Dr. B. Vendittelli and Dr. T. Hendler 
72 St Clair Avenue West, 416-921-6772

What’s going to be hot this spring? Straight teeth are always in style! Nothing says summer selfie like a beautiful smile :)

Do you have any celebrity customers? We can't say for confidentiality reasons... but there are some sports players in the city whose teeth are getting straighter as they score points for our teams!

Greatest advice you ever received? Be true to yourself.

What makes your business unique? Our practice has been a part of the community for over 60 years! We have two board certified orthodontic specialists who use all orthodontic appliances — outside braces, inside braces and clear aligners — for children and adults.

Who is your inspiration/role model? Bill and Melinda Gates — they use their position of influence to help so many people with their Foundation.

Describe your team: We have the best team! Our team is energetic, friendly and hard working. They put our patients at ease. We are so thankful for them every day, and couldn't do what we do without them. 

Catherine Curtis & Studio
Catherine Curtis, Owner
940 Bathurst Street, 416-979-9244

What's going to be hot this spring? Our ready to wear statement style for spring is chic tailored dresses in limited edition linen prints from Italy. Crisp collars, ruffled cuffs and penciled to the knee. Vintage inspired with modern clean proportions. We are still showing our signature jersey print day dresses and our special occasion dresses.

What has been your proudest moment in business? We are most proud when our styles are coveted from teens to seniors. When you love your dress you keep them for a long time and with great quality fabrics your able to. We have resized some of our garments that are up to 10 years old. It’s really nice to see that they still love them, wear them and they still look great.

Greatest advice you ever received? The best advice I was given was to be yourself, do your best and never give up. 

What makes your business unique? Not only are our styles unique, but our shop is unique in that you can have one of our styles made up special for you. We also do our own alterations and fittings. There are not many stores who produce in Toronto and offer these services in this fast fashion and mass produced world we live in now. I love having a dress that no one else has and that fits perfectly. 

Tosho Knife Arts
Olivia Go, Owner
934 Bathurst Street, 647-722-6329

What's going to be hot this spring? We have a collection of rare lines coming from Konosuke Sakai that haven't yet released. These include knives that my business partner Ivan has created with famous blacksmiths and sharpeners from Japan. It's been about three years in development for a couple of these new lines.

Do you have any celebrity customers? Anthony Bourdain has brought us many of our customers. He featured us on The Layover in Toronto a few years ago. Susur Lee's son Levi bought a knife from us, and Susur had us rehandle one of his knives. Matty Matheson is a personal friend. We have a lot of chef friends who are celebri- ties on their own.

Greatest advice you ever received? "Enjoy every moment." That’s what I was told when my son was born. And it wasn't easy at first, but enjoying every moment has become a well-earned life lesson. The other great advice I received was to treat a business partnership like a marriage. It's never going to be 50/50 amongst business partners, the way you hoped it would be at the beginning. We've managed to pull through a lot of different challenges together and have grown together and, like a good marriage, we're now able to communicate and express what we need in the business. 

Smilesolvers
‚ÄčDr. Gary Klein
1268 St Clair Avenue West, # 200, 416-658-8885

What sets your practice apart? My team and I have made it our mission to eliminate fears of going to the dentist.

How can you achieve this? Trust. Where there is trust, fear can’t sustain itself. Which is why we pride ourselves on building strong relationships with all of our patients. Every consultation begins with a lengthy discussion so the patient can share his or her concerns. We believe the first step to alleviating these fears is ensuring the patient feels heard. With this information, we then customize a treatment plan and provide them with multiple options best suited to their needs. It is pivotal that the patient knows they’re in full control of how we move forward. Also, our chairs have back massages... our patients love that.

What’s been an important development in your career? We realized that when people felt comfortable at our practice, they wanted to maintain their relationship with us beyond General, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry. That’s when we knew it was time to expand our offerings; so we brought on a Orthodontist and Gum Specialist. As the needs of our patients change, we choose to grow with them. 

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