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Shop Local: 16 Small Businesses To Support


Apr. 14, 2021

Our CEO, George Arabian, started an initiative that began with an e-transfer. Every member of his team got a surprise email, with one instruction: to go support our community by buying local. 

George notes, “a mentor of mine once said, take care of your local community, and your local community will take care of you.” Small businesses are what make our communities vibrant, and now more than ever, our local economies are at risk. 

Here are 16 small local businesses to support, personally recommended by an NVISION team member.

Bowie's food from a small business Tanuki Restaurant

Tanuki Restaurant

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Bowie’s Pick:

There are only two Japanese districts in Canada and we’re fortunate to have one in Markham. If you haven’t been to J-town, make a visit to this independent and family-owned community.

Tanuki Restaurant serves yōshoku style Japanese fusion dishes. Not only are the chefs invested in creating new dishes delicious weekly, but they are also committed to supporting and building the community as Markham locals themselves. This was a great small business to support.

Rebecca at Ashgrove spa with the small business owner

Ashgrove Spa

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Rebecca’s Pick: 

It’s so important to support our community especially in these times and give back as much as possible. I had the most relaxing and enjoyable morning thanks to George and his contribution initiative. I couldn’t wait to get back in for a much-needed massage with Ashgrove Spa, supporting Marika and her beautiful staff. 

Madison at Colour Inc. Hair Lounge with Local Markham Shop owner

Colour Inc Lounge


Madison’s Pick:

I chose to shop at Colour Inc as it is my hairdresser Lindsay’s salon. She just opened it in the midst of COVID and has worked so hard over the many years I have known her to get to where she is. Supporting her business was a great way to participate in supporting small businesses.

This was the first time I had gone into her new salon. It is a perfect space that is welcoming and fresh. Lindsay is an amazing hair stylist with many years in the industry who will thrive working as her own boss. 

Steve showing his beer purchased at Local business Common Good Beer Co.

Common Good Beer Co.

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Steve’s Pick:

Common Good Beer Co. support local themselves, including promoting their Scarborough home, naming some of their brews after local streets and neighbourhood, and working together with other local craft brewers. When my family first moved to Canada, we lived near where the brewery is now, just south of Ellesmere Road, which is the name of their brews. So the area where they are in has always been local to me.

They have a big Scarborough flag hanging from the ceiling in the brewery. I’ve been looking for one for a while and can’t find them. When I asked where they got their flag from, they said they found it on the website of a flag company in Germany! It’s amazing how far we have to travel sometimes to shop locally!

Michael outside of Alice Bakery showing his local store bought goods

Alice Bakery

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Michael’s Pick: 

I chose this local business because I’ve been enjoying their sweet treats for years, and their unique selection of ornately decorated baked goods is incredible. They deserve much more awareness for their amazing work. Their take on a New York cheesecake is fantastic! You have to try it.

My first experience with this bakery was an impromptu visit with a couple of friends. We were super impressed with the amazing cake designs but ultimately were sold on their delicious small pastries. They’ve been a part of our local community for years now, and I love supporting them!

Shopping local is great because it promotes the growth of your community. If you love what a business does, shopping from them or promoting them allows them to keep providing that good/service and grow. When the business grows, they have more power to give back to the community, and the cycle will continue.

Brian visiting local business Gaucho Pie Co. with his dog

Gaucho Pie Co.

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Brian’s Pick:

For my shop local initiative, I recently discovered an amazing hidden gem in my neighbourhood. They don’t get much attention but people who visit rave about how good it is. And omg, I wish I found it earlier. Gaucho Pie Co is seriously the best. We got a pack of 12 and we were so stuffed. We found out that each day they have different “empanadas of the day” and so we’ve been going back more and more. Thanks for the idea NVISION! 

Plant Lisa got from Plants & other pretty things, a Toronto small business

Plants & Other Pretty Things

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Lisa’s Pick:

I came across Sanja, a local entrepreneur when I first moved to Toronto. She ran and still runs a local pet sitting business (Cat Care Puzzles) for animals in the GTA. But last year, due to the pandemic, Sanja shifted and opened another business, Plants & Other Pretty Things, while still operating Cat Care Puzzles. Sanja has become a friend throughout the years, an incredible entrepreneur and I was happy to choose her to help me pick out the perfect plants for my apartment! 

Food from Sylvia's shop local Hakka Ren

Hakka Ren

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Sylvia’s Pick:

I chose to support a local Asian-owned business called Hakka Ren for this Shop Local Project. The recent spike in hate crimes towards Asian Americans has hit close to home so I wanted to buy from a restaurant close by with close ties. A couple of months before COVID, my parents invited me to have dinner with them at this restaurant. The owner is an old friend of my dad’s back in India and so he came out for a long chat and generously brought us extra dishes to try. 

I just recently finished the book “Chop Suey Nation” and it was such a great read about Canadianized Chinese restaurant food and the perception of the style being “inauthentic”. In actuality, innovative dishes adapting to Canadian palettes show incredible entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance from Chinese restaurant owners. Hakka Chinese food from India is famous for the crispy, spicy, Chilli Chicken dish adapted to local tastes. Fun fact: this place has a Chili Chicken Poutine. 

Marino and his son outside of Bellissima cakes and pastries, a local family ran shop

Bellissima Cakes And Pastries

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Marino’s Pick:

Bellissima Cakes and Pastries make custom cakes, pastries, macarons. Not like the ones that you normally find here. The owners came from Europe years ago and decided to offer a different kind of bakery shop tailoring who is looking for quality products. The cheesecake and everything we ordered were delicious! 

It is an incredible experience when the business owner serves you in the store. They were strongly affected by the covid, since before the store operated as a cafe, where you could eat inside the store.

Chocolate from Kristins Supporting small businesses at Annie's Chocolates

Annies Chocolates

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Kristin’s Pick:

This local business has been a London staple since 1996. For over 24 years, Annie has been crafting candy and chocolates from her grandmother’s recipe book. 

Everything is carefully and lovingly packed. It was a delight to bite into these artisanal treats! What can I say other than it was Easter and it seemed appropriate to get some chocolate. Yum!

Donuts from Kevin's shop local at Donut Queen

Donut Queen

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Kevin’s Pick:

The Donut Queen and I attend the same gym together so that’s how I found out about her. She has a passion and love for donuts and lifting weights and despite the many obstacles she has made that dream and love a reality. They just opened 3 months ago to create creative handcrafted donuts. We got a box of a dozen and each one was pillowy and delicious, trust me you won’t be disappointed!

As their offerings grow, we highly recommend checking out their website and Instagram.

Dan's mom at her small local salon The Hair Shoppe

The Hair Shoppe

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Daniel’s Pick:

The Hair Shoppe has been serving London, Ontario for over 25 years. Connie Vescio and her team care about their clients and the community in London. Why this is important to me, well first she is my mother but also I know the hard work, long hours, and charitable donations she has provided London over the years!

Coffee from local shop Tamp Coffee Co.

Tamp Coffee Co.

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Chris’ Pick:

Superior Americanos and Lattes. Fantastic beans. Pretty lids.

Supporting local businesses helps all the people around you to feel better and be happy.

Marek's food from his shop local at Lang on the Water

Lang On The Water

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Marek’s Pick:

We have been going to Lang since we moved to Grimsby 2 years ago. From the first time eating at their restaurant, we knew that this would become one of our regular go-to spots! We walk past Lang frequently when going on our family walks and the scent that comes from the restaurant makes it hard not to order from them on the spot.

During our first experience eating at Lang, we ate outside on their outdoor patio delicious food, drinks, and enjoyed the beautiful view of Lake Ontario.

Joel's purchase from his support small businesses from the Travelling Sign Painters

The Travelling Sign Painters

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Joel’s Pick:

As a resident of Manitoba, I was excited to support locals and work with the talented folks at The Travelling Sign Painters. Working from home has created new challenges, so I commissioned this sign to help with privacy throughout the day. They did an amazing job and I’m eager to hop into more video calls… Just so I can show it off!

Goodies from Goldrick's Goodies in Ireland, Emma's pick to support small businesses

Goldricks Goodies


Emma’s Pick:

Coming from a rural area in Ireland we can clearly see the huge impact that shopping local has on the community. When we are purchasing from a locally owned business, the money is kept in the community. These businesses then help put more back into the local community, helping to grow other businesses and provide for local families.

In the middle of the pandemic, Goldricks Goodies has helped to bring a lot of happiness to the local area and I’m more than happy to give her the support to keep it up.


Supporting Local Small Businesses

Our Shop Local initiative was an opportunity to promote and purchase from small local businesses. If you have local recommendations or want to learn more about business and marketing in Canada, subscribe to our newsletter and start a conversation on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Youtube


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