A newcomer to the neighbourhood is the focus of the 9th in our series of Ossington Business Profiles. Telegramme Prints and Custom Framing opened it’s second outpost in Toronto (the first is in Leslieville) at 194 Ossington just a month ago, and it’s sleek space and beautiful merchandise are drawing people inside. We met Ian last weekend, and recommend you pay him a visit: he is friendly and welcoming and very knowledgeable of his vast product selection.
We are not the only media to cover Telegramme Prints. There has been a lot of enthusiasm for the opening, and we think they add to the perfect blend of retail, dining, service and arts on the strip. And now, Ian from Telegramme Prints and Custom Framing answers our 8 questions:
What’s your business?
Our business is really two businesses: sourcing hard to get limited edition prints and posters that you can’t get anyplace else, from Parkdale and Kensington Market to Mexico and Japan. The second business we’re in is custom framing services for artwork we sell, and for artwork that clients bring in for framing. We have all kinds of custom framing services: plak mounting, canvas stretching, any kind of unusual job, but our focus is custom framing of prints and posters.
How is your business unique?
There are lots of poster shops and framing shops, but few places like ours in North America. We really work hard at positioning ourselves as an alternative to a bland mall experience. That doesn’t mean our posters and prints are expensive: 80% of our inventory is $25 or less. We have an awesome conservation custom framing package for $99 that is popular. And our prints and posters are the some of the best you can get, we’re always amazed and dazzled by the skills and talents of the designers and printers in the shop.
How long have you been in business here?
We’ve been in business since Sept 11, 2010 at 194 Ossington. We’ve also operated a shop since 2006 at 1103 Queen Street East in Leslieville.
What drew you to be here on Ossington?
Much of our requirements involved the space having a specific criteria: parking, space, rear door access etc. We’d had our eye on this spot for 2 years, when it was another custom framing shop. When we saw the For Lease sign this summer, we moved really fast to get a deposit on it. It has everything we need and a lot more. We looked at a few other neighbourhoods, but this is the best.
What changes have you seen on Ossington since your business has been here?
Not very many, because we’re so new. But I remember about 3-4 years ago, I was having drinks with friends around here. It was dark and cold, kind of menacing. This summer, the streets were full of smart people at night, lots of laughter and a total absence of any grim foreboding like before.
How do you see your business and Ossington five years from now?
I expect it the retail end things to develop more, it will complement the nightlife. Having small independent shops, restaurants and bars run by passionate people is what gives a neighbourhood like this its soul and quality of life, and I hope that continues. I really feel terrible for some of the small businesses on the street that have been stifled by the moratorium on bars. I can’t imagine putting so much time, energy and borrowed money into an enterprise, only to have the city pull the rug out, long after the point of no return. I hope five years from now, city dickering is not the story like it is now.
What is your favorite spot on Ossington, other than your own? and why?
Having the Home Hardware so close and with such a nice staff, I think of them as one of my favorite spots because they always save our bacon. There’s a lot else I haven’t seen yet, but I always like going into I Deal Coffee. Sometimes we have meetings at Pizza Libretto, it always feels special. I like BQM and Crafted too; like our shop, they set up their initial location in the east end and opened up another space on Ossington. I have a long list of places that I want to spend time in: Foxley and Crooked Star are at the top of that list… so is Xpace Gallery, one of our employees Tobias Williams, a printmaker, designed a window there recently.
Even though our doors have only been open five weeks here, all of us at the shop have commented how fantastic the neighbourhood businesses and residents have been. We totally love it here.