11 Davisville Village & Leaside business owners share their secrets to success and love for the neighbourhood.
Post City X Davisville Village & Leaside
Davisville village and Leaside are vital lifelines of our community. Their shops are some of Toronto's finest, and their business owners are some of Toronto's most exciting entrepreneurs.
Every year we run a special section dedicated to these local shop owners who are as proud of the service they provide as they are of the community in which they work and live.
Here are their stories...
Avadra Laser Studio
Radha Sehgal, Owner
327 Eglinton Ave. E., 416.505.4592
What is going to be hot this spring? This spring, the trends continue to focus on treatments and skincare that are non-invasive and give a fresh, natural look. We are also seeing younger clientele who seek out preventative skin care regimes, so they can avoid potential issues as they age. Skin protection is always essential and products that are chemical free are always sought after. We have brought in a new sunscreen line that is chemical-free called Alumiere. This line is proving to be a popular one amongst our clients.
Greatest advice you ever received? Do your research! There are hundreds of products and procedures on the market today that claim they are the best. At our studio we only offer ones which we have researched ourselves and have been scientifically proven. This allows us to stand behind all of the procedures and products that we offer to the public.
Who is your inspiration/role model? My mother. She taught me to be honest and hardworking in order to achieve your goals. To always have a passion for what you choose to do, no matter what that may be.
Describe your team: Our team consists of medical professionals who specialize in skin care and a physician that provides injectables.
Alex & Bev Simmons, Owners
1699 Bayview Ave., 416.247.5436
What has been your proudest moment in business? We are very proud when new customers come into the store based on referrals from their friends and family. This tells us we are doing our job well.
Greatest advice ever received? From Dad, “Always be honest and fair with your customers.”
Describe your team: Our team is simple, ”Mom” Bev, “Pop” Alex, our son Chasen, and of course our two resident pooches, Jessie and Lola.
What’s your favourite thing/place in the area? It’s the community of Leaside. We have met so many wonderful people who have become not only clients, but friends. We are truly humbled by the trust they put in us.
What’s your secret to success? Our success is based on honesty, expert product knowledge, good advice, fair pricing, and in providing exceptional customer service. We strive to provide a great experience.
How long have you been in business? We first opened in May of 1946; exactly 72 years ago. We have been the proud owners of our family business since our parents’ retirement in 1992.
Michelle Fullerton, OCT
What’s going to be hot this spring? Studying! With final exams just around the corner, now's the time to make sure your students know how to prepare.
What has been your proudest moment in business? Any time students graduate it's a proud moment for us. They are like our family, so finding out that they got into a post-secondary
program of their choice is so incredibly special.
Greatest advice you ever received? "Feel the fear and do it anyways." It's my mantra for business and for my students: if we don't push ourselves we will never truly know what we are capable of achieving.
What makes your business unique? We understand the needs of students and their families, and work hard to not only ensure that students are learning in a meaningful way, but to fit the needs of their busy lives as well.
Describe your team: We have the best teachers in the business: they're creative, passionate and knowledgeable about how students learn. They love teaching so much that they choose to teach after school too!
Lee Grunberg, President & CEO
396 Moore Ave., 416.421.4243
What has been your proudest moment in business? The proudest moment that I have had as the President & CEO of Integracare was the day that my grandmother was able to return home at age 95 from Bridgepoint Rehab Hospital. Integracare provided my grandmother personal support services, nursing care and physiotherapy after a fall that she had experienced. With Integracare’s services she was able to recover to full health, return home and celebrate her 96th Birthday with all of her grandchildren.
Greatest advice you ever received? Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” I try to bring passion and enthusiasm to every single thing I do at work or in my personal life. At Integracare, our caregivers share an enthusiasm to provide the highest quality home healthcare possible.
Who is your inspiration/role model? I have two books on my desk. The first book is my grandmother’s life story which I transcribed. It includes her escape from Germany prior to WWII. Her perseverance, integrity, strength and loyalty are all characteristics that I try to emulate. The second book is “Four Seasons, The Story of a Business Philosophy” by Isadore Sharp. The culture at Integracare is based heavily on the principles set out in his book. Despite having never met Mr. Sharp; we owe a great deal of our success to him.
Mabel's Fables Bookstore
Eleanor LeFave & Mabel III, Owner
662 Mount Pleasant Rd., 416.322.0438
Why is there a cat in the owner’s photograph? Eleanor LeFave, has owned the bookstore for the last 30 years, but the real boss is Mabel, the cat. Cat owners are a long tradition in real bookstores.
What is your favourite book? All of them. Even though we have two floors of children’s books and a dynamic adult fiction department, we don’t have room for anything that isn’t excellent.
What is your secret to success? We offer a pleasant reading experience for our loyal customers. Our unique signature baby baskets are a wonderful gift and start to create a great reader for life. And with our bookstore arranged by age, all children can grow up discovering all the best from our age departments. Also, customers can always choose that perfect present and we have fancy (and free) gift wrap.
Describe your team: All the Mabel’s booksellers are equally crazy about reading, books, people and their children, and of course, cats. With such a deep knowledge of the books, they are wonderful to listen to and customers thank them a lot.
Do you have a name? Of course I do, I’m Mabel the III. We are approaching our 30th anniversary and planning a big celebration in September. Everyone will be invited.
Mathnasium of Leaside
856 Millwood Rd., 647.924.MATH (6284)
What’s hot this spring? Math is always hot! But in the springtime, we definitely see a rush of students coming in hoping to finish the school year strong and ace their exams. As our families look forward to summer, they’re also making sure they carve out some time at Mathnasium to avoid the summer slide!
What has been your proudest moment in business? A student leaned over to me and whispered, “Kate…I think it’s happening…I think I’m becoming crazy about math!”
What makes your business unique? We are math specialists – that’s what we do! We use math as a tool to help build confidence, inspire learning and develop great study skills that can be applied in all areas of life. We make math make sense!
Describe your team: Our team is, quite simply, awesome! A group of awesome people who love math and love helping kids become crazy about math. They are passionate, inspired, funny, creative, warm and, of course, incredibly smart.
What’s your favourite thing/place in the area? I’m quite partial to my neighbours – Today’s Menu helps me feed my family on busy weeknights, and Avoca helps feed my sweet tooth!
Nurse Next Door
Laura Harris and Kris Aiken,Owners
1213 Bayview Ave., Unit 3, 416.836.0563
Describe your team: Our team of caregivers ensures happiness & happier aging are integrated into each of our client's lives. Our doors never close – our centralized booking centre is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure there is always a real person whenever needed. We have a nursing coordinator available 24/7. Our team consists of Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses, Personal Support Workers and Physiotherapists.
What’s your secret to success? One of our core values is a passion for making lives better. We work closely with families to guarantee a perfect caregiver match. We allow daughters to be daughters and sons to be sons. There was a time in my life where running my business, caring for my family as well as my aging parents led to a very hectic life full of struggling to find a work-life balance. My parents needed me full-time and I was overwhelmed with guilt when I couldn’t be with them 24/7, juggling between them and my own family’s needs. Nurse Next Door gave me relief as their experienced caregivers were able to care for all of my parents' needs, allowing me to focus on being their daughter and not their care provider too. Nurse Next Door’s caregivers assisted with hygiene, dressing, meal preparation, housekeeping, and more so I could enjoy quality visits with my parents. My own personal experience allows me to truly understand the needs of our clients.
Ruthe Schipper, Jerry Rotstein and boss Sophie the Yorkie, Owners
95 Laird Ave., Unit 3, 416.425.7387
What makes your business unique? Our Leaside store boasts over 7,000 products including holistic and premium brand products. We provide pet owners with the best selection of pet care items at competitive prices together with friendly and knowledgeable customer service.
Describe your team: Our wonderful staff understands that your pet is a part of your family because we are pet parents too. In addition, all of our staff are trained in pet care and nutrition and use their knowledge and experience to help all of our customers find the right solutions for their pets.
How long have you been in business? In total, 20 years. After 17 years on the Danforth we decided to spread our wings and we opened our second store in North Toronto back in 2012. Since then, with the help of Sophie, our Yorkie and Harley, our Morkie, we have seen our business successfully grow in the heart of this wonderful community called Leaside.
What has been your proudest moment in business? Both Jerry and I have always tried to give back to the community, in the past we’ve partnered with rescues and charities for in-store pet adoptions and pet food bank products. It’s a chance for us to help out and give back to this great community.
The Ritz Men's Haircut
1693A Bayview Ave., 416.551.2129
What has been your proudest moment in business? It happens all the time, but I still always feel proud when I hear the wives of my clients say their husbands have received the “best haircut ever” after coming to see me! I know I’ve done a good job if the wife approves!
What makes your business unique? I think it’s the personalized service I provide. I make sure to take my time with each customer, listen to them, and build a relationship. I want to make sure that everyone who leaves my barber’s chair is happy!
Describe your team: I’m a one man show! I do everything from hot towels, shaves and haircuts.
What’s your favourite thing/place in the area? Do I have to pick just one? The area has so much to offer like Cumbrae's, Olive Oil Emporium and Dolly Jewellers. And Flowers Plus has the most beautiful flowers!
What’s your secret to success? My secret to success is a very simple philosophy: Always be happy, keep healthy, and be nice to people.
How long have you been in business? Over 40 years.
Real Estate Sales
What’s going to be hot this spring? Davisville is a vibrant neighbourhood with everything you need and more. The house prices remain resilient this spring and condo sales will continue to be "hot." New developments continue to create great opportunities for first time home buyers and empty nesters/downsizers.
Do you have any celebrity customers? My clients' privacy is very important in maintaining trust. I am not only their realtor, I am their confidante. I treat all my clients as if they were "celebrities". Regardless of status, everyone I work with is of equal importance.
What has been your proudest moment in business? I left a company I was with for 24 years to pursue a career in real estate, and one of my first clients wrote me a letter after the sale to tell me how happy they were with the service I provided them, and how I had surpassed their expectations. It was great reassurance!
Greatest advice you ever received? "You must be passionate, you must dedicate yourself, and you must be relentless in the pursuit of your goals. If you do, you will be successful."
Who is your inspiration/role model? My inspiration is my family. They encourage me to be my best self and each one inspires me with their own unique traits.
Alan Chow, Owner
1541 Bayview Ave., 416.481.7927
What’s going to be hot this spring? The Lower Don Trail reopened after several years of inprovements. The multi-use path connects to downtown, the beach and Lake Ontario.
Do you have any celebrity customers? Over the years we’ve had a few Provincial Premiers shop with us.
What has been your proudest moment in business? A while ago we had a customer drop off her bike for a tune up. She had just been declared cancer free after two years of treatment and the first thing she wanted to do was to go on a bike ride.
Greatest advice you ever received? When dealing with customers you’re building a relationship, not just making a sale.
What makes your business unique? We put the local in local bike shop. We live in the neighbourhood and share the same paths, trails, and roads that our customers and neighbours use.
Who is your inspiration/role model? I have a pretty awesome wife.
Describe your team: We have a great mix of experience and youth. We’re always curious and always willing to learn from our customers’ experiences and needs.