Retail is the process of selling consumer goods and/or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution, and includes customer service and delivery of products. Shops may be on residential streets, streets with few or no houses, or in a shopping mall or designated shopping area. Online retailing and mail order are forms of non-shop retailing.
Husband and wife team, Cheryl McMenemy and Alex Yuen, opened the doors of The Collingwood Olive Oil Company in May of 2014. Alex, a native of Collingwood, is best known for managing the original Bamboo Terrace Restaurant, his dedication to the community and his astute business acumen. Cheryl has decades of experiences in media and marketing, and can be remembered as a former publisher of the Enterprise Bulletin. Creatively renovating a tired heritage home, they crafted a beautiful location where they could dispense the freshest extra virgin oils from around the world and an impressive selection of all natural, gluten-free balsamic vinegars.
The pair adopted two key beliefs into their business concept: That a customer should be able to taste everything before they take it home, and that education is critical for recurring business. This combination lead to one of the finest and most enjoyable features of their store: The Tasting Tour. Every customer that walks though the door is greeted by a friendly and highly trained employee, who guides them through olive oil chemistry, handling and health properties. Additionally, customers are encouraged to taste anything of interest! It is not surprising that in just two years, the combination of Cheryl’s marketing strength and Alex’s exceptionally discerning taste as a chef with over 25 years in the industry, Collingwood Olive Oil Company boasts numerous awards. These include Small Business Owners of the Year, Innovative Business of the Year, Metroland Readers Choice – Favourite New Business, #1 Shopping in Collingwood – Trip Advisor, and a growing registered customer loyalty membership in excess of 3800.
Both Alex and Cheryl prefer the small town feel, and both are foodies who delight in patronizing the extraordinarily high number of ‘independently’ owned (not chain stores) restaurants and cafes serviced by entrepreneurial chefs using local products. Their own unique products were seen as a perfect fit for Collingwood’s growing food movement, and of course, the lifestyle they enjoy in this community is hard to match!
Looking to the Future
Together, they pride themselves on actively participating in growing the continued success of Collingwood through Cheryl’s participation as a Board member of the Georgian Triangle Tourism Association, and Alex’s standing on the Board of Management for the Collingwood BIA. Supporting many local charities, fundraising and not-for-profit groups keeps them connected to the community. As to the future of the Collingwood Olive Oil Company, Cheryl says the key is to be consistent and they plan to keep growing and expanding on what they have already shown is a successful recipe!
To find out more visit www.collingwoodoliveoil.ca
The Early Days
“When I moved to Collingwood in 2010 with my mom who was relocating to the area, I saw a town full of opportunity,” says owner of OneLove, Carolina D’Andrea. “My dream for many years was to start a retail business dedicated to fair trade and sustainably/ethically sourced products.
OneLove: Global Local Eco is inspired by the belief that shopping ethically can also be stylish, affordable and fun! The boutique is a warm and friendly place with the finest in eco-fashion and fairly traded accessories that are people and planet friendly. From festival fashion to comfortable basics, boho styles to urban chic, and an extensive gift range to top it off, Carolina has created a unique boutique with something for everyone.
“I had come to a realization that I did not want to pursue a life in the city and felt like Collingwood represented a “land of opportunity” for a creative young person looking to get established. The housing market was affordable and there was lots of gaps in terms of businesses where I felt like I could fill a niche for funky, fairly traded imports and casual clothing and accessories. Fortunately I was right in following my intuition here as I have never once looked back!”
Carolina’s business is thriving here. A friendly and open business community who she felt genuinely wanted to encourage and support new start-ups like OneLove, impressed her. “ I have always felt it to be more about cooperation than fierce competition amongst many of the businesses here.”
A vibrant downtown- Downtown Collingwood has to be one of the best in Ontario in terms of eclectic, independent shops and restaurants. “I love being surrounded by so many independent businesses, many of which are women owned/run. I also feel like there is a very conscious vibe here in terms of healthy living and ethical practices which make a shop like mine feel very ‘at home’, says Caroline.
“I was delighted to discover that Collingwood had excellent services for entrepreneurs and I took advantage of the numerous workshops and one-on-one free appointments to guide me through the start-up process” shares Carolina. In 2013, the result of hard work, business support and passion led to the launch of Caroline’s first boutique in the heart of downtown Collingwood.
Sourcing products from cooperatives and communities in places like India, Nepal, Thailand, Mexico and Guatemala, as well as Canada and the US., many of the clothes are made with sustainable materials like GOTS certified organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, merino wool and even upcycled fabrics from used saris.
Carolina is proud to be able to tell her clients that her clothes are NOT made in sweatshops and that the companies she purchases from support small businesses and artisans from around the world!
Carolina has also added a refreshing selection of natural products for the body and home, including soy candles, beeswax, handmade soaps and quality incense. All these products are non-toxic and made with essential oils and natural substances, in keeping with the mantra of OneLove.
“The Downtown Collingwood has a tremendously supportive business community, and the local residents keep us busy year round! “
Looking to the Future
In July 2015 OneLove joined the Barn Cooperative in Meaford, giving Meaford/Thornbury access to their products. They have also secured there place at the thriving Collingwood Market which see a tremendous number of locals and tourists shopping every Saturday! For more details visit www.shoponelove.ca
The Early Days
Ever wondered how an entrepreneur comes up with an idea? We had the pleasure of talking to one of the founders of Tin Shack, Canada’s exclusive distributor for Blundstone, Glerups and Ten Points footwear. After wearing a pair of Blundstone boots, he loved their comfort, quality and durability and decided, along with partners, to start importing them into Canada. This was in 1993 when he decided to pursue the possibility of starting a business that distributed the Blundstone range and he contacted Head Office in Australia.
It started with a retail store in Toronto in 1994, and then a second store in Vancouver in 1996 – both called Australian Boot Company. Twenty plus years later and 95% of their sales are still Blundstone boots.
In 1998, Blundstone Canada was opened in Vancouver. The business grew from distributing to only 7 stores in the first two years, to a hundred stores in 2001. As a young man growing up in Toronto, the founder had friends that had ski chalets here in Collingwood, so he had the pleasure of spending many holidays here in beautiful Collingwood. He never imagined then that one day his favourite place to visit on the weekend would become the place he would raise his family and grow a business.
Deciding to move away from big city life meant moving the business too. Collingwood with its diverse and active lifestyle – the hiking, biking and skiing trails, the natural beauty of Georgian Bay, would certainly appeal to a family. From a business perspective, the close proximity to Pearson International Airport (he travels a lot), and the fact that Collingwood was only one day away by courier for delivery to some of their major markets which include Ontario and Quebec, was very attractive.
In 2001 Tin Shack, formerly Blundstone Canada opened on Sanford Fleming Drive in Collingwood, and ten years later, they needed new premises to expand the exploding business which now ships Blundstone boots to over 700 stores and Glerups to over 200 stores across Canada– and they now have 25 employees!
Looking to the Future
As a distributor of 3 major brands, Tin Shack continues to grow its network of outlets and the founder says 2017 will see further expansion of their warehouse on Stewart Road in Collingwood.
Visual FX is a local full-service sign shop located in Downtown Collingwood. Owners of Visual FX Katrina and Erwin Trautrim both attended school at Conestoga College where Katrina studied Graphic Design while Erwin specialized in computer technology. They began to realize that their different skill-sets would be a great pairing for a business. Katrina officially launched the business 13 years ago in what was more of a part-time setting. Upon launching in Collingwood, both her and Erwin were always eager to learn more about the graphic design industry and how the trends were evolving. They attended numerous workshops and mentorship programs that provided them with the knowledge of where the design industry was moving. As Katrina began building a large client base, Erwin, with his computer technology background, joined forces with Katrina to grow Visual FX into the local success story that it is today.
Katrina and Erwin wanted to start a business in a location that had the ability to provide them with the lifestyle that they wanted. They have three children that were born and raised in Collingwood and now have moved on to attend and graduate from University. For Katrina and Erwin, Collingwood is an area of endless opportunity for both themselves and their children. Katrina enjoys singing in the Choral Works local Choir, Sweet Adeline’s York Harmony Chorus in New Market as well as biking throughout the beautiful trails in the area while Erwin is an established member at Barton’s Martial Arts in Collingwood. Aside from the many benefits of living in Collingwood, owning a business in the town has also been a fantastic experience. Upon opening Visual FX, they received tremendous support from both other businesses, and local residents. The Town of Collingwood emphasizes collaboration among businesses and this is something that Katrina and Erwin have encountered since opening their doors. The business network that is streamlined throughout Collingwood is very strong, with each business empowering others to succeed.
Today, Visual FX is a renowned local business in Collingwood. They can produce graphics right in the shop, or they can work with designs that clients have made in advance. They create chloroplast, aluminum signs, banners, billboards, back-lit signs, flags, and much more. They also print and wrap canvas art using their own images or images provided from clients. Visual FX also produces 3-D signs, engraved and raised letters and contour cut logo panels using their own CNC router. No matter what your business is in need of with regard to visual graphics and designs, Visual FX is able to help. This is a component of the business that Katrina and Erwin are very proud of. They enjoy working with new and existing businesses to build their brand with exciting new graphics and signage. Having the ability to help other businesses succeed is a motivator for Visual FX. As such, Katrina and Erwin plan to continue with their current services as well as continue their research in the visual design industry to ensure that they stay up-to-date with the ever-changing trends in the business. For more information on Visual FX, check out their website at www.visualfx.ca.
VO2 is a sporting goods retail store that focuses on endurance sports. Specializing in Running, Swimming, Cycling, Triathlons, Snowshoeing and XC Skiing. All of VO2’s products are hand selected by professionals in the field to ensure their customers are getting the best quality products.
Sean and Mark Bechtel are originally from Caledon, Ontario. Growing up, they had a cottage in Meaford where they would frequently visit the Collingwood area to ski and hike.
Sean started racing triathlons when he was 15 years old. He raced professionally for 15 years all around the world trying to qualify for the Olympics and on the Ironman circuit for a number of years. Sean said “one of the best parts about racing triathlon is you learn everything you need to know about swimming, biking and running.
Mark is a former nationally ranked junior athlete which has contributed to his knowledge of all aspects of Triathlon and endurance sports.
With their experiences, Sean and Mark decided to use their expertise to offer high quality products to Collingwood and visitors.
Sean and Mark wanted to open VO2 in Collingwood because of the community feel and their connections with the community, prior to opening VO2. There has been a significant increase in population in Collingwood over the years where Mark and Sean took the opportunity to open a specialized sporting goods retail store. Mark said “Collingwood is the perfect area to get involved with endurance sports. From swimming in the bay, to cycling on the roads and running on the trails, we knew Collingwood was the best spot to open up a store front.”
Sean and Mark want to continue to grow the VO2 brand by creating a community feel through building their new training group called the Georgian Bay Training Club. This club is specialized in training swimming, cycling and running where they can bring people in Collingwood together to motivate each other to train. The VO2 brother duo told us they are going to continue to conduct research and focus on specialization of products that are harder to find in local sports stores.
You can visit VO2 storefront at 524 First St in Downtown Collingwood and Click Here to visit their online store.