Doing business in the Glebe

McGregor, Kate March 2016 Final Musings Kate and Lenny

Kate McGregor (with Lenny) muses on what she learned about business as the Business Buzz writer for the Glebe Report.
Photo: Batia Winer

Musings: my time 
as the Business Buzz writer

by Kate McGregor

Now that I have officially hung up my Business Buzz hat I did not want to sign off without writing a final column on what I learned about the entrepreneurs behind the businesses I covered.

I have interviewed and photographed the management behind five eateries, one dance studio, two learning institutions, three personal grooming salons, one pet store, one men’s clothing store and two jewellery shops since my first article on Pomeroy House appeared in the Glebe Report in October 2015. All of the businesses I wrote about continue to thrive and draw more customers through their doors from the Glebe and beyond with the exception of one café that closed its doors the same month my column about it was published.

I took up the challenge as Business Buzz writer for the Glebe Report at a time when people were still discussing the pros and cons of Lansdowne Park and what impact the introduction of new restaurants and a cinema complex and an influx of sports fans during games would have on the community. I learned a lot about what it takes to run a new business as I trekked up and down Bank Street and surrounding streets with my camera, notebook and tape recorder.

A whole new generation of young entrepreneurs has taken the plunge and joined the ranks of more established business owners in the Glebe. And that’s reason to celebrate in the current economic environment where a few commercial spaces still remain vacant along Bank Street.

While I recognize that no one business is the same or ascribes to the same business model, there were a number of recurring themes that kept popping up during my time as roving reporter. Here are 10 things I learned:

  1. New entrepreneurs have a vision for what they want to achieve, whether it be through the development of a formal business plan or simply a dream they have shaped;
  2. They have a passion for what they offer and love to share their passion with others;
  3. They do not shy away from hard work and understand that they will be spending long hours away from family and friends to get their new business up and running;
  4. They see the advantages that diversification into new markets such as online shopping can bring to a brick and mortar presence;
  5. They embrace healthy competition and recognize that a diversity of services can attract more customers to the Glebe;
  6. They seek new opportunities for cross-promotion with other businesses in the community;
  7. They recognize the benefits of promoting their services to home owners and tenants who have moved into the new condominiums and townhouses at Lansdowne Park and they explore how they might be able to benefit from the influx of fans to the Glebe during sporting and other events;
  8. They understand the importance of good customer service;
  9. They know their target audience and how best to communicate with them, whether through social media, formal advertising (newspaper ads and flyers) or good old word of mouth;
  10. They love the Glebe and appreciate the unique qualities of a community that embraces new businesses with open arms.

Finally, I would like to end on a personal note. I came to understand the important role the Glebe Report plays to support and promote the local business community during my time as Business Buzz writer. It was a delight to work with editor Liz McKeen who was always open to new ideas and who gave me free reign to write about any new business I had heard about or to choose from a growing list she had.

Kate McGregor is a certified Integral Master Coach™. To inquire about her services: 613-884-1864;kate@kmcommunications.ca, www.kmcoaching.ca.

Divider

What businesses do you think would complement the Glebe?

by Trevor Greenway

ah_open_all_hoursYou don’t have to chat long with established Glebe businesses to understand what works in the neighbourhood.

Just ask Rebecca McKeen whose family has been operating a grocery store here since 1919. Flash forward almost a century and McKeen Metro Glebe has become a staple in the area – a steadfast grocery stop that values its loyal, long-standing customers.

“[The Glebe] is like a little town within the city. Everyone says hi, everyone knows you, everyone comes to ask how you are doing,” says McKeen. “You have regular customers that are here multiple times a week and you get to know them, and it does have that significant community feel to it. It makes a difference for sure.”

It’s no secret that the Glebe has taken on a major transformation over the last couple of years. Lansdowne is fully bumping, with over 100 days of programming every year from major sporting events to top concerts and community gatherings. The Glebe has become a destination – for sports and music fans, foodies and shopaholics alike.

New businesses have been sprouting up in the Glebe almost monthly – everything from bakeries, hair salons and delicious and diverse restaurants, to stunning new clothing shops and elegant jewellers.

But the Glebe still has room to welcome additional new businesses to our community and we are calling on you to let us know what you would like to see pop up in your ’hood.

“Everyone here is proud of what the Glebe is about and what it offers. New businesses can add even more flavour to an already dynamic destination,” says Glebe BIA executive director Andrew Peck.

“But we know there’s always room to strengthen and improve and we’re looking to identify what’s missing, what’s needed or what would be a great complement to the area. Last year, Imagine Glebe was a Glebe Community Association initiative that did a great job sparking this conversation.”

New businesses that have opened their doors in the last few months include Asian-fusion restaurant Makita Kitchen Bar, local jewellery studio Goldart, Hair on Second Avenue, Ichiban Bakery and Quesada Burritos and Tacos. If you ask them why they chose the Glebe as their new home, they’ll tell you the same thing: it’s the people.

“That’s what I am really looking forward to here, the community involvement. You can see it. It’s very apparent here in this neighbourhood,” says Joanna Rozanski, whose father Mark started Goldart Jewellery Studio more than 40 years ago.

“I’ve never had people just, out of the kindness of their hearts, come in and welcome us. It’s been so nice. Just out of the blue, people are either curious or just want to come say hi. It’s great.”

It’s this type of spirit the Glebe’s business community is built on. Fellow businesses help promote each other, and merchants in the Glebe seem to truly know their customers on a deeply personal level – they know their kids, their families, and take advantage of every opportunity to make a lasting impression.

“It’s really important to connect with all your clients,” says Judy Richards, former owner and on-call jeweller at Davidson’s Jewellers. The Bank Street jewellery store has been serving patrons in the Glebe since 1939. “It’s the crux of having a successful business.” She agrees it’s easy to connect with Glebe residents because they are already so friendly but she’s still amazed at how deep the connection goes. That says a lot for someone who has spent a large part of her life in the neighbourhood.

It’s much the same at many of the Glebe’s other long-standing establishments. Step inside the Glebe Meat Market and owner Stephane Sauve will be chuckling with a customer over last week’s delicious steak dinner. Pop in for a ’do at Silver Scissors Salon or Ernesto’s, and if you’ve been there before, you won’t even have to tell them how short to go. Stop in for a pint at Irene’s Pub and Lauren will ask you if you want “the usual?”

It’s these types of businesses – those who fully embrace the community – that have long lifespans in the Glebe.

We all want to enrich the Glebe even more. We want to see more businesses that understand the importance of connecting with our rich community and complement our already diverse lineup of shops and services. If there’s a unique, off-the-wall concept you’ve seen elsewhere, we want to hear of it.

If you have any additional thoughts, we’d love to hear from you. Send your ideas to info@inthglebe.ca and help us make the Glebe an even better place to shop, eat, play and do business.

Trevor Greenway is the communications officer at the Glebe Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

Comments are closed.