Women-led businesses showcase in Toronto | News, Sports, Jobs

Warren Scott BUSINESS SHOWCASE – Abby LeMasters, owner of Tri B’s Coffee Shop, invited several women-owned Toronto-area businesses to showcase their goods and information about their services inside her store and off Clark Street. There was music by the Two Friends Trio.

TORONTO — Abby LeMasters, the owner of Tri B’s Coffee Shop, wanted to draw attention to the many new local businesses being started by women, and she did it in a big way by inviting everyone to come and see inside and outside of her shop Clark Street on October 15th.

The café’s North Fourth Street opening in January coincided with that of Meraki Made, a tailored clothing store just down the street, and its owners shared business cards with visitors.

The cross-promotion effort, while not extensive, reflects the willingness of many small business owners in the Gem City to help one another, LeMasters said.

“It’s super important that we all support each other. It will benefit everyone.” she said, adding that she hopes to hold similar events for each season next year.

With the cooperation of city officials, a small section of Clark Street was closed and a stage set up for live music by the Two Friends Trio.

Among many with booths on the street was REC Fitness, a fitness center opened in 2020 by Korey Clegg at the Karaffa Recreation Center at 1307 Dennis Way but forced to close soon after due to the pandemic.

Crystal Wickham, one of three instructors there, noted the gym continued to serve the public through online classes via social media.

“As soon as we could open again, we did it” She said.

Open Monday through Saturday, with workouts available during the day and evening. The center’s offerings include spinning classes, which use stationary bikes to build muscle; and step routines with light weights and tempo for low or high intensity.

Visitors to the center range in age from 21 to 71, and modifications are available for beginners, Wickham said.

Alicia Troski, who co-owns Primary Print and Design with her husband Jeremy; said the store opened in 2011, but in recent years has moved to 1102 Franklin St.

She noted that embroidered items, including custom Christmas stockings, jackets and other apparel, were added to the product line.

Also in attendance was Leslie Robbins of Leslie’s Dog Grooming and Doggie Things at 906 Banfield Ave.

Robbins said she has been grooming dogs for 30 years, 20 of them in Toronto, after returning to her hometown to raise her child.

A 1974 Toronto High School graduate and Army National Guard Veteran, she said her focus is on small to medium breed dogs and is available weekdays, evenings and Saturdays to house working people.

Not all of the companies presented have stationary locations. Some work from home and others bring their services to their clients.

Among the latter was Pretty Rad. It is owned by sisters Mallory and Nicole Radvansky, who offer cosmetic care including botox injections and dermal fillers to treat crow’s feet, frown lines and other signs of aging.

The two explained that they are board-certified registered nurses who, as required by law, work with a local doctor to deliver their services. They have set up a website and Facebook page to reach out to potential customers and more people are following such treatments than is widely believed and they are happy to make them available locally.

Kayla Wedlake also attended to spread the word about the photography business she runs under her name. She said she has been working from her home in Toronto since 2019, bringing her eye for a good picture to weddings and other special occasions as far away as Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

A 2010 graduate of Edison High School, Wedlake has provided photo portraits of high school seniors and babies, among other things, and offers free photos of pets known to be in their final days of life.

Makeup of Kara’s Kara Eltringham has played a role at weddings and other special occasions, including high school dances, by helping women look their best through cosmetics. She has helped students prepare for their graduation photos.

For more information on Eltringham, follow MakeupbyKar_a on Instagram.

Alex Taylor from Pretty Poppin’ Parties and Kathy Sabol from KJ’s Unique Party Setup both provided ways to make a birthday or any other party special.

Taylor has created balloon towers and walls for occasions such as weddings, graduations or retirement parties and has booked many for this year and next since opening in May.

Taylor, a former TV journalist and Toronto resident, said she started the company while taking time off to focus on her family for a while.

Sobol, who graduated from Toronto High School in 1975, said she can bring low tables, plush cushions, and other accessories for adult-themed parties, or provide elegant tablecloths, runners, and other decorations for customers’ own furniture.

For children, she offers small tipis with blankets and pillows that create a camping effect for themed parties ranging from superheroes and dinosaurs to mermaids and ladybugs.

Promoting merchandise they sell from their homes, online stores, or at local festivals: Krista Beswick and Alicia Myslinsky of Zazazu Boutique, who have sold women’s and children’s clothing to customers across the US; Mira Payne of Mira’s Miraculous Plants & More, which sells a selection of houseplants, scented brooms, handmade wreaths and other items; and Jessica Winters of Stella Creek Candle Co., which makes a range of scented candles from her Toronto home.

Winters said she thought about starting her own business, named after her grandmother, and after selling all of the products that were brought to the 2016 Toronto Art Festival, she realized it was a good move.

Troski said the event was a sign that a new generation of entrepreneurs was interested in doing business in Toronto, a positive development for the city.

Alberta Chesney was among the residents who were excited about the event and the range of businesses, saying: “We need things like that in Toronto.”

(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])

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