Always Look on the Leaside of Life: We talk to 7 of the area’s most passionate merchants

A Partnership

The perspective from seven thriving businesses in the Leaside area.

George’s Barber Shop
George Hababeh, owner
814 Eglinton Ave E, East York, 647.407.5678

Year established? 2017

Why this location? I've been serving the Leaside community for 7 years, specializing in men's and children's haircuts. This particular new location holds a very special place in my heart. The people here are kind, caring and they believe in the power of community.  

What inspires you to keep working in your field? Seeing people happy with the way they look after a haircut. I feel that I'm 
contributing to their self-esteem. I believe when people feel good about the way they look, they will do better in their respective fields and daily relationships. The impact goes beyond a haircut. 

How would you describe your team? Diverse. Smart. Energetic. Passionate. 

Most memorable moment in the history of your business? The day I opened my independent and local business was a very special day. It was a very happy day; customers, friends and family members were there to celebrate the big day.

Coolest customer ever? I can't think of one particular customer because the majority of them are cool. However, I have one customer with a very long, curly hair and whenever he comes in, he barely gets a haircut. He just wants me to shape the style. I like how specific he is with details, because that's what I love most.

Avadra Laser Studio
Radha Sehgal, Owner, Nurse & Medical Aesthetician
327 Eglinton Ave. East, Upper Level, 416.505.4592

Year Established? 2014

Why this location? We are a chic and cozy boutique that provides the most advanced skin care treatments in a comfortable setting. We are centrally located, close to the subway line and public transit. 

What inspires you to keep working in your field? Helping individuals correct skin issues and reduce unwanted hair gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Allowing people to feel better about themselves is a great feeling.

How would you describe your team? We are a knowledgeable and professional team that believes in hands on, one-on-one customer service. 

Most memorable moment in the history of your business? Very simple moment, but one that confirmed why I do what I do. A client came in with a very poor self image due to sun damage on her face. By the time we completed her treatments, the sun damage was gone and she no longer needed to cover her face in tons of make-up.

What’s your favourite thing about your location? We are located in a dynamic area of the city that consists of a variety of individuals, ranging from families with children to single professionals. I not only work in this area but am also fortunate enough to live here.

Sahara & Co Ltd. 
Yvonne Robertson, president
953 Mt. Pleasant Road, Toronto ON M4P 2L7, 647.341.4151

Year Established? We moved into our current location in 2015.

Why this location? We are a North Toronto company. We live, school, and shop locally. I like the feel of being close to home and to my kids. I structured the company with 3 other distribution centres which enable us to remain close to home, invest in our charming neighbourhood and still pickup my kids from school. #midtownpride 

What makes your business unique? Sahara & Co promotes health and well being thru self-care. In 2016 we launched our Natural Iced Teas. Ginger, as an Immune Booster was our focus in 2017 with Zenzero. 2018 is to be the year of Magnesium and support mental health along with the launch of Studio Line, an affordable all natural brand of instant drinks.

Most memorable moment in the history of your business? It is pretty cool that TIFF chose our teas for the Festival.  It does seem that most days are memorable in their own crazy, quirky way and could be edited down into a 30 minute comedy show. 

What is your fave thing about your location? After our summer renovation, our favourite thing is air conditioning. This location rocks: it is close to Yonge Street, vibrant and exciting developments, it has a community feel and the best kept secret is the free parking for people coming to pick up their orders. Just don’t tell the City.

Butter Studio
Lorri Shewchuk, owner
1597 Bayview Avenue, 416.901.0789,

Year established? 2014

Why this location? I enjoy living in Leaside and it was natural for me to open my business here. 

What makes your business unique? It's important for me to connect with my clientele so that we can work together to define her personal style.

What inspires you to keep working in your field? I have always had a love for fashion.

How would you describe your team? The concept of Butter Studio is that it is my endless walk-in closet where I know every piece and invite clients on the adventure of discovery.

Most memorable moment in the history of your business? Seeing my sign go up to completing the renovation.

What’s your fave thing about your location? I have great neighbors and love the sun.

How has the community changed since you started your business? More women are wearing Comrags, Bryn Walker and Ayala Bar!

Who is your inspiration or role model? My inspiration is every client.

Salon Ten Ten
Billy Tsopotos & Hilary Comiskey, owners
221 McRae Drive, 647.340.3300

Year established? 2016

Why Leaside? Our networks of clients, family and friends are all in Leaside or very close. We have seen that the community of Leaside has a lot of history and heart. We’ve had the opportunity to connect with people through stories of the past and create new memories for the future, which is very special. 

What makes your business unique? Salon Ten Ten is a boutique atmosphere where the client’s comfort is our­ number one priority. We are able to provide an intimate experience for clients in our space.  We pride ourselves on the ability to customize each service with the right music, a relaxing atmosphere and a delicious cappuccino!

What inspires you to keep working in your field? Our clients are our inspiration! As creative artists there is nothing like the feeling of passing along confidence and positivity through our work. The hairstyling industry is always changing with new trends and retakes on old classics. We are always striving to grow, learn and inspire through hairstyling. 

How would you describe your team? Small but mighty! Our team consists of two hairstylists and one colourist and is growing. 

Most memorable moment in the history of your business? Our most memorable moment from our first year was being nominated for Best New Salon Design by Canadian Hairdresser Magazine. We are so proud of our space, and it was amazing to be recognized by industry leaders for conceptualizing an industrial chic salon decor.

Granite Brewery
Mary Beth & Ron Keefe, brewmaster & proprietor
245 Eglinton Avenue East, 416.322.0723

Year established? 1991

Why this location? We wanted a good mix of residental and business clientele. It is an exciting and vibrant neighbourhood. 

What makes your business unique? We were one of the first craft breweries in Toronto and Ontario. We have tried over the years to give our guests a terrific experience of unique craft beer, great food, service and value. It is a family effort with all members of the Keefe family actively involved.

What inspires you to keep working in your field? We have so many regular customers that make it all worthwhile. We have witnessed so many events here, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, to name a few. We have many young customers who have been coming here with their families, literally since before they were born. 

How would you describe your team? Dedicated and reliable. We have staff that have been with us since our opening in 1991. In a business with traditionally high turnover you will always recognize a 
familiar face at the Granite. 

Most memorable moment in the history of your business? There have been too many to mention, but probably last year's 25th 
Anniversary celebrations rank right up there.

What’s your fave thing about your location? Terrific neighbourhood and friendly people. We have made a lot of good friends over the years. 

Mathnasium of Leaside
Kate Murray, owner
856 Millwood Road, 647.924.MATH (6284)

Year established? Mathnasium of Leaside opened in 2015, and I took over as the owner this summer! I have had Mathnasium of Forest Hill since 2012, The Beach since 2014, and now Leaside!

Why Leaside? Leaside is a vibrant neighbourhood filled with families whose kids  have a vested interest in education, and there are tons of families who are now becoming crazy about math too. My other two centres neighbour Leaside on either side, so it was a natural fit! 

What makes your business unique? We are a math only learning centre, and we teach math to kids in a way that makes sense to them!

What inspires you to keep working in your field? Seeing kids all over the city become crazy about math inspires me to open more centres. Seeing the excitement in the kids as their confidence grows in math is unreal – and seeing the look of shock on the parents faces when their kids are begging them to come to Mathnasium to do more math! 

Most popular programs? Our monthly memberships allow students to come up to ten times per month, which allows them not only to work on Mathnasium Materials, but also some homework help too.

Most memorable moment in the history of your business? A kid whispered to me…."Kate….I think it's happening….I think I'm becoming CRAZY about math."