Let’s support local businesses!

Let’s support local businesses!

2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but it's been especially hard on small businesses. Independently-owned restaurants, shops and services have had to adapt and pivot an awful lot over the past nine months, and now with the latest shutdowns, they’re having to do it again. November 28 is Small Business Saturday, and it’s a timely reminder that we need to support local restaurants, shops and services to make sure they’re still around once the pandemic is over.

We asked our agents and staff to share the businesses they love most and want to support right now.

Here's a list (in no particular order) of their favourites:

Vegan Danish Bakery

Vegan Danish Bakery

Vegan Danish Bakery

7718 Yonge St., Thornhill and 1312 Queen St.
The tagline on their website says it all: “We are vegan, we are Danish, and we bake!” Delicious items to satisfy your sweet tooth, all without eggs, dairy or any other animal products.

“Don't let the name fool you, you wouldn't know by the taste that nothing contains any animal products. Exceptional bakery items, including some of the best cupcakes in the city. There's a wide variety of other goods, too, including pizza swirls and large, flavourful lasagnas to take home.”

Adam Hoffman, Sales Representative

Wonderpens

Wonderpens

52 Clinton St.
This sweet shop really is a wonder for folks who get a little giddy over a beautiful pen or notebook. Their store is closed due to the most recent lockdown, but you can order almost everything they stock online.

“This family-owned place is a pen lover’s dream. They've been pretty candid on social about the struggles of being a store owner during COVID, and I make an effort to buy things from them rather than going to a big box store or huge online retailer. Their kids make regular appearances on their Instagram feed (along with an adorable orange cat named Chicken), which drives home the fact that there are real people counting on my businesses.”

Tamara George, Senior Writer

Related info: BlogTO on 10 ways to support a local business in Toronto (some great ideas here!)

James Town Steak and Chops

516 Parliament St.
This shop has been serving Cabbagetown carnivores since 1971. They carry naturally-raised meats, offering high-quality cuts for reasonable prices. Pickup and delivery services are available.

“Their butcher shop is the best I've found in Toronto. I'm South African and we love our meats and braais (barbeque), and this place has great choice and quality. The burgers and marinated Korean-style ribs are amazing!”

Jonathan York, Sales Representative

Little Bee Farmer's Market

Little Bee Farmer’s Market

1077 Britannia Rd. E., Mississauga
This little market is a great source for local produce and delicious prepared foods. You can shop in-store or online, and they also offer super-convenient food box delivery featuring fresh local produce (North York, Mississauga, Etobicoke, Milton, Oakville, Burlington and Brampton only).

“Little Bee is terrific: local and family-owned, they deliver right to your door. Farm-grown fruits and vegetables, amazing quality meats and ready to eat dinners. Highly recommended!”

Anna Kuzmenko, Sales Representative

Maselli's Supermarket

906 Danforth Ave.
This neighbourhood stalwart has been serving Toronto east enders for over half a century. They carry a wonderful selection of quality local and imported Italian fare, including meats, cheeses, oils, pastas, and produce.

“Maselli's is an amazing family-run Italian market on the Danforth, with quality meats and cheeses at some of the best prices in the city.”

Adam Avenus, Sales Representative

The Framemaker

1171 Queen St East
This small framing store in Leslieville (one of its two locations) is a great destination for quality custom framing. Online ordering is available.

“Established over 30 years ago and still strong through the pandemic, they've been servicing local artists and families for decades.”

Chris Craddock, Sales Representative

Stock in Trade

1324A Gerrard St.
This neighbourhood favourite has a full-service butcher counter with ethically-sourced meats, local and organic produce, house-made prepared foods and more.

“This butcher shop at Gerrard and Coxwell is fabulous. They’ve also branched out into a little mini-market with produce and pantry staples, and they do meal kits and all sorts of other things. There's free delivery in the area and you can order online.”

Bonnie Ackerley, Product Manager

Dufflet Pastries

787 Queen St West
If you've got a sweet tooth, you're probably already familiar with the deliciousness that is Dufflet. Founded by “Cake Queen” Dufflet Rosenberg in 1975, this purveyor of the city's favourite pastries has become an institution for dessert lovers. Pop into the original Queen Street shop next time you need a sugary indulgence.

“Dufflet’s for my sweet tooth!”

David Francisco, Sales Representative

Meron To Go

11 Disera Dr., Thornhill
From shawarma to schnitzel, this Thornhill spot is a local go-to for fresh and tasty Middle Eastern fare. Order online for some seriously satisfying takeout.

“Best falafel in the city!”

Josh Benoliel, Sales Representative

Vegan Imperative

The Vegan Imperative

1332 Queen St West
This trendy retailer carries everything you need if you're a vegan, or if you just want to shop a little more sustainably. Marketing themselves as “All vegan everything,” they carry clothes, shoes, accessories and more, all made without any animal products.

“It's locally owned and they have an amazing selection of trendy and cruelty-free goods including winter apparel, bags, books, purses, toiletries, clothing and more!”

Gillian Gook, Sales Representative

10 ways you can support a local biz today

“Beloved [insert name here] store/restaurant closes permanently” is all too common a headline these days. Making a conscious effort to spend our money at local businesses like the ones listed here can make a difference between them surviving COVID or closing their doors for good.

Here are some easy ways to help keep them going:

  1. Order pick up or get it delivered. You may not be able to eat in right now, but you can help ensure they’ll still be around for dining in when the lockdown is lifted. (If the restaurant delivers directly, consider going through them instead of a delivery service, which takes a big cut.)

  2. Seek out local shops that are selling online...and be patient if they don't offer same-day or even same week delivery. It’s worth the wait.

  3. Don’t discount stores that aren’t online: shop at that little boutique that's offering curbside pickup.

  4. Buy gift certificates to local businesses as holiday gifts.

  5. Share your support on social: shout out your favourite retailer with hashtags like #shoplocaltoronto or #supporttorontodesigners so people find them when they’re searching those hashtags.

  6. Leave thoughtful reviews on sites like Yelp to tell others why a business is really great.

  7. Follow businesses on Instagram and Facebook: when you like, share or comment on their posts, it spreads the word and makes them feel seen and supported...something they all need right now.

  8. Pay for an online class or a virtual experience. Whether it’s yoga, baking, crafting or wine tasting, it will support a service business that can’t be open IRL right now.

  9. Don’t just shop at the big chain grocery stores: get as much as you can at small neighbourhood fruit markets, cheese shops and bakeries.

  10. Check out Etsy for GTA-based makers: the site can help you find products you might not land on with a Google search.

These businesses are what make our neighbourhoods unique and livable – let's do what we can to support them together!

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