Welcome to our 2020 Holiday Edition.
Obviously this is going to be a very different Christmas and Holiday season than last year. I hope you make the best of it. If you’re looking for some neat tips on how to re-envision your Holiday, check out Amanda Kirkland’s list of ideas on page 10. Some thoughtful insight here that I hope you’ll be able to use to benefit your family this year.
As James Maloney, Member of Parliament for the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore points out in his article on page 6, November is a month of reflection and remembrance - a time to honour our war heroes for their sacrifices so we can live in a peaceful and free Canada today. When I think of what it would have been like for men like me to have to leave their wife and children, board a ship, and travel halfway across the world to live and fight in a cold, muddy trench for years, somehow this pandemic doesn’t seem so bad. At the best of times, Remembrance Day puts life into a proper perspective for me. This year, we observe the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Ironic, I suppose, that we’re fighting a new global enemy in the form of a virus. But, as Mr. Maloney says in his article, “We will get through this together, but we need to work together.”
In the spirit of staying safe and supporting local businesses this Holiday season, we’re featuring TheStockRoom.ca on this month’s cover. Read this inspiring story of entrepreneurial perseverance and dedication to community on page 16. Consider buying some of your Holiday gifts from the local husband-wife team behind this unique business.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Safe Holiday this year!
Publisher, Etobicoke Lakeshore Press
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I’ve been writing about the importance of shopping local for years now. In fact, since 2015 the entire focus of this publication has been to support local businesses in South Etobicoke (since before #SupportLocal was a thing). Now, as we wade through yet another season of pandemic life, it’s no longer enough to just shop local - we have to shop safe, too.
It’s no wonder, then, that local businesses like TheStockRoom.ca have enjoyed great success and are poised to thrive throughout the Holiday shopping season.
Owned and operated by lifelong Etobicoke residents, the husband-wife team of Stefan and Georgia Graci are the brains behind this hidden gem. With their warehouse located on Advance Rd, between Kipling and Islington, the Gracis are changing the pandemic retail landscape...and having fun doing it!
It wasn’t all fun, though. Recalling their early days, the Gracis burned the candle at both ends and lost a fair bit of sweat (and tears) to get to where they are today. Like true entrepreneurs, however, they kept their heads down and just worked until it worked.
“We had many sleepless nights at the shop,” the couple explain. “Brainstorming and trying to make ends meet - a lot of tears, a lot of fear, but it was all worth it. This is a labour of love and we are proud that we never gave up.”
This Millennial “Ma & Pa Shop” runs like an old-school auction - well, the online version thereof. TheStockRoom.ca has attracted a dedicated following of return customers. Why, you ask? Because their online auctions are fun, that’s why! Oh, and you can buy top name products at a fraction of the cost you’d pay at traditional big box retail shops.
“Our customers love the bidding process,” explain the Gracis. “It adds a little excitement to online shopping and people walk away with incredible deals! No extra fees aside from applicable tax. What you bid is what you pay!”
Sounds difficult, right? Nope! It’s super easy!!
Local, Safe, Fun, and...Easy! Yeah, you got it.
That’s how I’d sum up TheStockRoom.ca if I had four words with which to do it. If I had another four words, they’d be: Perfect For The Holidays!
Halloween has come and gone and without much fanfare, unfortunately, but rightfully so.
Let’s not let Christmas get away from us, too.
So, how do you get set up at TheStockRoom.ca?
Well, I mentioned it was Easy, right? Yes, I did.
So easy in fact, that the Gracis’ client base keeps on growing. With that said, signing up for their online auctions is as simple as hopping on their website and walking through the registration process. In fact, I just did it.
There’s a nice digital camera on there that I have my eyes on.
Say, for example, your bid is accepted and you’ve just purchased something super cool for yourself (‘cause you deserve it) or a friend or member of your family (or social bubble). Now what?
Here comes more of the Safe stuff...
Your items will be shipped to you or you can select curbside pick-up at TheStockRoom.ca warehouse. How much is shipping? Free, when you spend over $200. Not too shabby!
What types of items are typically available for auction? Quite a few from many different categories, actually.
“Whether it be electronics, clothing, baby items or home goods, we have you covered,” state the Gracis. “We always have seasonal items. We ran a Halloween costume auction and we have exciting plans for Christmas!"
Local, Safe, Fun & Easy.
Say it again: Local, Safe, Fun & Easy :)
TheStockRoom.ca is not just a great place to buy your Holiday gifts, it’s an experience perfect for pandemic Holiday shopping. Spread the word!
66 ADVANCE ROAD, UNIT A, ETOBICOKE
firstname.lastname@example.org / 416-910-8956
Alderwood resident and local Realtor, Marta Pozniakowski decided to open an espresso bar at a time when most people are not taking risks.
The Dream: Open a real estate brokerage with an espresso bar in front.
The Reality: See above.
Pozniakowski purchased the old laundromat in the same plaza as local landmark, Il Paesano Pizzeria, on the west side of Brown’s Line just south of Horner Ave. A wise choice, as B Line Condos are currently under development next door.
With hundreds of potential customers a few feet from her front door, Espresso Bar Namaste is set to reap the benefits of that old adage: Location, Location, Location.
The name ‘Espresso Bar Namaste’ was inspired by the Hindi word, Namasté, which is a way to see and honour the reality of others. One of the most common translations of namasté is: The divine light in me bows to the divine light within you.
“I usually coordinate the dates of incorporating my businesses and names with numerology, explains Pozniakowski. “It is important to me that everything aligns energetically with the purpose and its mission. The name was the most compatible from all of them and it resonates with my passion for yoga, spirituality and just leaving my life grounded and by being conscious about every step and breath I take. Plus, in a time of social distancing, Namaste is just a great way to greet people!” Laughs Pozniakowski.
Espresso Bar Namaste has enjoyed great feedback from the Alderwood neighbourhood thus far, with flowers and gifts given to Pozniakowski from other local business owners.
“We’ve enjoyed terrific support from the community!” Exclaims Pozniakowski.
If you’re thinking: “Hey, I recognize her!” Maybe it’s because Marta Pozniakowski started a not-for-profit organization called Ekran Toronto Polish Film Festival in 2008.
“The future of the festival is bright even against all odds,” states Pozniakowski.
The organization became a registered charity which means the festival can seek support from corporations and businesses and offer tax receipts.
“This year we are planning virtual screenings,” she explains. “Like many other festivals, Ekran is exploring opportunities to connect with their audience via online platforms.”
In times like this, running a business is a challenge to say the least. You have to be on top of local news and government regulations.
“These are not normal times,” says Pozniakowski. “In one day the whole world, my schedule, kids’ schedules, business plans went to garbage. The first two weeks I thought: ok I got it, I can do it,” she continues. “I homeschooled the kids, even though they had online schooling it was a full-time job attending to them.”
Like so many other parents, finding balance during this pandemic has been a battle that not everyone is winning. But Pozniakowski seems to have a handle on it now.
“After the past few months juggling my business, new venture, film festival, busy household with very active children, and still keeping myself healthy and fit and sane,” she explains. “I really feel like a super woman!”
Since we’re all spending more time at home this year, and quite possibly next, why not take this opportunity to beautify your abode with a touch of country charm?
Pictured above is a custom-made, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind piece manufactured by Freiburger Welding.
Based in Walkerton, Freiburger Welding was started in 1946 and is family-run to this day. With a focus on craftsmanship and customer service, Freiburger’s business (and products) have stood the test of time.
We caught up with Krissy Freiburger, granddaughter of the company’s founder and daughter of its current owner, Ken, to talk about why her family’s business should become part of your family this Holiday season.
“Our pieces are made to order and we can customize just about anything you’d like,” she explains. “From welcome signs and home decor items, to custom fire pit rings...if you can think it, we can make it.”
Customers have the opportunity to see a digital proof before their designs are made and Freiburger Welding will ship your order right to your door upon completion or you’re welcome to pick it up at their shop if you need an excuse for a beautiful country drive.
In an era where just about everything is made in China, why not support a small, family-run business and go with made in Ontario this Christmas?
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Even as I write this, I’m giving very little thought to the lighting in my home office. Well, maybe a bit more thought since I’m writing about a local lighting shop. What’s the lighting like right now as you read this article?
As one who’s not thought much about lighting, I was amazed and intrigued by my conversations with Lara and Marko Borys, Owners of Living Lighting Etobicoke-Kingsway, leading up to the publication of this edition. We spoke about the importance of light in a home or office space and the different lighting requirements one could have based on the intended use for a space.
And here I am thinking you just plug in a lamp or screw in an incandescent lightbulb and away you go. Maybe that’s why I squint a lot when I work and often wear two different coloured socks.
After a recent conversation with Lara, I learned that people need different light for different reasons - be it task lighting, ambient lighting, or layered lighting. She works directly with customers, specializing in home consults. From whole home projects to small makeovers, Lara gives personal attention to find the right lighting for a space. She offers one-hour appointments in the showroom during showroom hours or by private appointment. Lara also provides advice to customers based on their electrical plans to make sure they’re getting the right lighting from appropriate sources to ensure the end results they desire.
Marko, a certified lighting specialist, has been running the business out of the same location for the past twenty years. He’s also the head buyer and ensures they stock exciting pieces that are different and stylish; keeping up with trends in home decor while balancing the classic look of the old Etobicoke homes that surround the shop.
So, what can one expect upon a visit to the showroom?
“Our showroom carries everything from recessed LED lighting, to fans, lighting fixtures for indoor and outdoor to landscape lighting,” explains Lara. “We are up to date on LED technology, but we carry both LED & socket based fixtures as well as LED bulbs that we can assist customers with.”
Now I don’t know about you, but pandemic life has me working from every little nook and cranny in my house as I try my best to avoid my two boys who are home all the time now. I try not to avoid my wife, but sometimes I think she prefers it.
Having said that, more and more people are using spaces in their homes for work or school that were traditionally not designed for such tasks. Lara and Marko find themselves busy these days consulting with families to recommend the right lighting solution for their new “office” at the kitchen island, the new “virtual learning hub” in the TV room, or the new “home gym” that was once a storage space.
“We can help make sure the fixtures lend themselves to the various tasks that are happening in a space,” Lara states. “It’s so important to have the right light for the job.”
Living Lighting Etobicoke-Kingsway
4242 Dundas St. W.
Covid-19 showroom hours:
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday & Monday CLOSED
Shop On-Line, In-Store & By Appointment.
Curbside Pick-Up available.
Photo Courtesy of Kichler Lighting