TORONTO — Abby LeMasters, owner of Tri B’s Coffee Shop, wanted to draw attention to the many new businesses started by local women, and she did just that by inviting all women, both inside and outside of her business, to gather in Clark. October Street 15.
The coffee shop opened on North Fourth Street in January around the same time as Meraki Made, a custom clothing store across the street, where the owner shares business cards with visitors.
LeMasters said the cross-promotion effort, while not extensive, reflects the willingness of many small business owners in Gem City to help each other.
“It is very important that we all support each other. This will benefit everyone,” She said, adding that she hopes to have similar events every season next year.
With the cooperation of city officials, a small section of Clark Street was sealed off and a stage set up for live music by a trio of two friends.
Also on the street is REC Fitness, a fitness center opened in 2020 by Korey Clegg at the Karaffa Recreation Center at 1307 Dennis Road, but was forced to close shortly after due to the pandemic.
Crystal Wickham, one of three trainers there, noted that the gym continues to serve the public with online instruction through social media.
“Once we could reopen, we did,” she says.
Open Monday through Saturday and offering workouts day and night, the center’s offerings include spinning classes that build muscle using stationary bikes; and footwork that utilizes light weights and low or high intensity.
Visitors to the center range in age from 21 to 71, and beginners can make modifications, Wickham said.
Alicia Troski, who co-owns Primary Print and Design with husband Jeremy; said the company opened in 2011 but moved to 1102 Franklin Street in recent years.
She noted that embroidered products including custom Christmas stockings, jackets and other garments have been added to her collection.
Also present was Leslie Robbins of Leslie’s Dog Grooming and Doggie Things at 906 Banfield Ave.
Robbins said she has owned dogs for 30 years, 20 of them in Toronto, before returning home to raise her children.
A 1974 Toronto high school graduate and Army National Guard veteran, she said her focus is on small to medium breeds, and she’s available for staff on weekdays, evenings and Saturdays.
Not all businesses shown have physical stores. Some work from home, some bring their services to their clients.
There are beautiful rads in the latter. It’s owned by sisters Mallory and Nicole Radvansky, who offer beauty treatments including Botox injections and dermal fillers to address crow’s feet, frown lines and other signs of aging.
The pair explained that they are board-certified nurse practitioners who provide services in partnership with local physicians as required by law. They set up a website and Facebook page to reach out to potential clients, adding more people than often thought are pursuing this treatment, which they are happy to offer locally.
Kayla Wedlake is also involved in promoting the photography business she runs under her name. She said she’s been working from her home in Toronto since 2019 and has her sights set on weddings and other special occasions as far away as Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
A 2010 Edison High School graduate, Wedlake provided photos of high school students and babies, among others, and provided free photos of pets known to be in their final days.
Kara Eltringham of Kara Makeup of Kara has played a role in weddings and other special occasions, including high school proms, helping women look their best through makeup. She helps students prepare their senior photos.
For more information on Eltrinham, visit MakeupbyKar_a on Instagram.
Alex Taylor of Pretty Poppin’ Party and Kathy Sabol of KJ’s Unique Party Setup both offer ways to make a birthday or other party special.
Taylor, who has designed balloon towers and walls for a variety of occasions, from weddings to graduations or retirement parties, has booked many for this year and next since opening in May.
A former female TV news reporter and Toronto resident, Taylor said she found time to focus on her family while building her company.
Sobol, who graduated from Toronto High School in 1975, says she can bring low tables, plush pillows and other accessories for an adult themed party, or elegant tablecloths, runners and other accents for a client’s own furniture.
For children, she offers small teepees with blankets and pillows to create a camping-like effect for parties, with themes ranging from superheroes and dinosaurs to mermaids and ladybugs.
Among the items they sell at home, through an online business or at local festivals are: Krista Beswick and Alicia Myslinsky of Zazazu Boutique, who sell women’s clothing and some children’s clothing to customers across the US; Mira Payne of Mira’s Miraculous Plants & More, which sells a variety of Indoor plants, scented brooms, handcrafted garlands and other items; and Jessica Winters of Stella Creek Candle Co., who makes a variety of scented candles in her Toronto home.
Winters said she considered starting her own business, which was named after her grandmother, and realized it was a good move after selling all the 2016 Toronto arts festivals brought in.
Troski said the event shows a new generation of entrepreneurs interested in starting a business in Toronto, which is a positive development for the city.
Alberta Chesney, one of the residents who was delighted to see the event and various businesses, said, “We need something like this in Toronto.”
(Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)