Ossington has some great independent retail stores, staffed by friendly folks who greet you warmly when you visit, and Town Moto is definitely one of the tops in this department. Since opening 5 years ago, Town Moto has hosted barbecues and ride-ins, welcoming motorcycle owners, fans and everybody else into their community. You do not need to know anything about motorcycles to feel welcome there, or to find something to buy at the shop. Check it out for yourself at 132 Ossington. We posed our business profile questions to Town Moto and the owner, Marika Thoms, obligingly responded. Here is the Town Moto Business Profile.
What’s your business?
We are one of the only places to buy motorcycle related items in Toronto. We carry brands that are hard to find, many exclusive in Canada, and we have an inclusive and knowledgable team when it comes to all styles of motorcycling.
How long have you been in business here?
We opened in May 2012.
What drew you to be here on Ossington?
5 years ago Ossington was an affordable location that offered street traffic and had potential for retail. We all lived nearby and it was important we were located somewhere we wanted to spend time and felt connected to.
What changes have you seen on Ossington since your business has been here?
More retail has come to the street and the overall sense of community between the businesses and neighbors has grown.
We came up at the same time as Bellwoods Brewery and from there spawned a very real connection to hard working, creative and risk taking people in the area who built their businesses from the ground up with a goal of sustainability and livability for themselves, their employees and their community. I hope to see it continue to grow with these values in mind, but do have doubts as it continues to gentrify with larger investment dollars.
How do you see your business and Ossington 5 years from now?
I can see two very different pictures of Ossington. One is of longstanding businesses operating as sustainable fixtures in the community: your neighborhoods bar, your dependable retail outfitter, your consistent coffee provider, all of us doing even better at what we do because we have had the time to gain the experience in providing our services from this specific street. In this view we are a better version of ourselves as a store and neighbour, with more time off!The other picture I see comes from a place of fear where everything develops at an unsustainable rate. In this view, it is no longer affordable to run a small business on the street and Town Moto is located in another space, or in another format. In this nightmare Ossington no longer offers opportunities for people like myself to start a business, live in the area, or even patron the businesses.
What is your favorite spot on Ossington, other than your own, and why?
We are lucky to feel just at home in our store as we do inside our neighbours’: Crafted, Bellwoods, Victoire... We can often be found in each other’s spaces as regulars ourselves. We often refer our customers to the restaurants down the street or other stores for all the items we may not sell. It is this sense of community that can make coming to work so enjoyable and these spaces feel so intimate and inviting to everyone in the shadow of a big city.
Click for more in our series of Ossington Business Profiles, which we are hoping to expand in the weeks ahead.