Thriving in the shadow of Pusateri's: We talk to six of Avenue Road’s most innovative merchants

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We talk to six thriving Avenue Road retailers

Vitality MD
Dr. Shari Caplan, owner
1769 Avenue Road, 416.792.1100

Year established? Dr. Caplan has been doing Integrative Medicine since 2010.  

Why Avenue Road? I live in the neighborhood and have always lived and worked in my community since it is important to me.

What inspires you to keep working in your field? I love what I do. Clients are always coming back and telling me they feel better now than they did 3 months ago, 3 years ago, etc. 

How would you describe your team?  We have an awesome team of Medical and Holistic providers who are all motivated to bring you the best in services. We all work hard to deliver you care and compassion.

What does your business do best? Special items or services?  Integrative Functional Medicine, Bio-Identical Hormones, 
Personalized Weight Loss and IV Vitamin Therapy and Genetic testing.

What makes your business unique?  We are a “one stop shop” to optimize your health. We offer many different services related to healthcare, fitness and spa. We are an oasis in the city! 

Who is your inspiration or role model?   My mother is my inspiration. She was a stay-home mom who helped everyone. She was very giving and smart. She died of Breast Cancer at the age of 44, when I was 19. My passion is to find safe solutions to treat hormonal imbalances while modulating genes to reduce the risk of breast cancer and improve vitality.

Karbouzi Restaurant
Jim Kostantakos, owner
2048 Avenue Road, 416.483.3846

Year established?  1970

Why Avenue Rd?  My parents started the restaurant. It’s a nice neighbourhood. They wanted to raise our family here.

What’s your fave thing about Avenue Rd?  It’s a great community. I’ve lived here my whole life. I live around the corner. 

Coolest customer ever?  Geddy Lee & Peter Donovan. Frank Mahovlich and other NHL, TFC & Raptors players frequently visit as well- it’s a big sports community!

What inspires you to keep working in your field?  Seeing the same faces coming in all the time. It’s nice to know the customers by name and know what they like. 

What makes your business unique?  We’re the only Greek restaurant on Avenue Rd. We also have a bar on the second floor. It became kind of a local hangout. 

How would you describe your team?  We’ve had the same staff for years. Everybody gets along. It’s nice, like a little family. 

What does your business do best?  We try to make everything in house. All the old Greek recipes that I was taught from my mom. 

Top selling items?  The souvlaki dinners.

Who is your inspiration or role model?  My parents. I started working with them when I was younger. They showed me the ropes.

Avenue Interiors
Mindy & Rick Gelman, owners
1900 Avenue Road, 416.781.3005

Year established?  May 1, 1986.

Why Avenue Rd?  We had a vision that this would be the up-and-coming area of Toronto. 

How has the community changed since you opened?  As the neighbourhood has become revitalized and younger families are moving in we are now working with third generation clients.

What inspires you to keep working in your field?  We enjoy working with people and we derive satisfaction from a job well done.

How would you describe your team?  Our team is A1. Truly outstanding. We wouldn’t be able to do without the team behind us.

What makes your business unique?  We offer a wide range of products and great customer service.

Coolest customer ever?  The Ontario Minister of Finance, Michael Wilson; he invited us for dinner to say thank you! 

What does your business do best? We’re known for our timely and professional installations.

Top selling items?  It’s our hardwood flooring and we offer one of the biggest selection of wallpapers in The City of Toronto.

What’s your fave thing about Avenue Road?  Being in the heart of the community - we love seeing familiar faces.

Linea Intima
Liliana Mann, owner
1925 Avenue Road, 416.780.1726

What inspired you to specialize in your field?  Since I was a young girl I've had a love for lingerie. My mother always taught me that "a lady dresses from the inside out and your undergarments have to be immaculate!" 

What is your secret?  We specialize in bra fittings and mastectomy fittings, and in our 20 years of business, we have acquired a great reputation due to the selection we offer and our expertise. We have bras and panties from around the world, the best of brands and products also in sleepwear, lounge wear and swimwear (at our Bayview store).

Why Avenue Rd?  I love Avenue Rd! It is central but not as crazy as Yonge St. I love the architecture of the houses and the many trees and greenery in the area. It is convenient and easy, with fast access to all our other stores. 

What is unique about your business?  I have been in the lingerie business for more than 35 years and with my vast knowledge, I am able to pick the best among the best! I can recognize the value in both price, quality and fit and bring it to our customers. Our collection of products is unique and we do not make compromises: we will offer and sell only the right product for you! 

How would you describe your customers?  We have the best customers! There is no age or size limitation and they know that coming to our stores is like visiting a 
trusting friend: you will get an honest yet sensitive opinion! 

Kahnert Furs and Outerwear
John & Dan Kahnert, owners
2078 Avenue Road, 416 781 8472

Year established?  1957

Why Avenue Rd?  My father opened up here, so I didn’t have to make that decision!

What inspires you to keep working in your field?  My wife and kids! It’s a niche business, there aren’t many like it in Toronto now. 

What’s your fave thing about Avenue Rd?  It’s a very diverse mix of businesses. It’s community oriented and is situated in one the best residential areas in the GTA. It attracts the type of customer and demographic that we require. 

What makes your business unique?  It’s a four-generation family business. My brother and I have both been here for over 33 years, and my father before us, and then grandfathers and theirs before. 

What does your business do best?  We have three product categories: furs, shearlings (lambskin), and a Canadian wool coat collection with and without fur trim. These products can be hard to find in a selection like the one we offer. 

Top selling items?  Shearling jackets, often ¾ length. 

Coolest customer ever?  Donald Sutherland and his wife came in, looking for a knit-sheared beaver product by Canadian designer Paula Lishman. They knew we carried the product so they came and bought a few things. He was very friendly, normal. Not arrogant or anything like that.

Bistro on Avenue
Louis Nemes, owner
1988 Avenue Road, 416.783.1928

Year established?  1984

Why Avenue Road?  One of the best neighbourhoods in the city... diverse, good residential and business area.

What makes your business unique?  It was pretty much the original chicken wing restaurant before all the others came on board. We have stuck to our secret recipe for our wings and expanded our menu so that all can enjoy the experience. It is a large space with one half being more of a bar area and the other half a more family friendly dining area.

What inspires you to keep working in your field?   My inspiration to keep working both in my business field and charitable endeavours is because it keeps me at a young 79 years of age.. both physically and mentally.

How would you describe your team?  Our team has pretty much stuck with me for many years and therefore are very much 
like family.

Top selling items?  Chicken wings, ribs and chicken fingers.

Most memorable moment in the history of your business?   We were located originally for the first 30 years at 1678 Avenue Rd. and last year moved to 1988 Avenue Rd. Our closing party at the old location and our opening party at the new location meant so much to me as all our loyal customers, friends and family attended. The speeches given were quite emotional and I was thrilled we could keep the Bistro legacy going.

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