Shop Small Program Keeps Neighbourhoods Vibrant and Unique

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Even in a city the size of Toronto, it is the small businesses located within each neighbourhood that make our communities unique. The Shop Small initiative from American Express Canada reminds us to support these small businesses as a way to keep our communities vibrant.

As an Amex Ambassador what better way to share the impact of the Shop Small program than to introduce you to one of my favourite neighbourhood small business gems, Another Story Bookshop.

amex shopsmall another story entrance 2

I know Another Story at its current location in Roncesvalles Village though for years it existed on the Danforth. The shops’s owner Shelia confessed that although she does love books it was her past partner that took the initiative to start a bookstore but when she came on board she was hooked. It’s only recently that Sheila has thought of herself as a businessperson mainly because she works in something she loves so much everyday.

“Books are wonderful. I always tell everybody I know that I’m so lucky to do something I want to do because so many people don’t.”

Like most small businesses there are ups and downs and Another Story Bookshop has had its share, but Sheila wouldn’t trade the experience of owning her own shop, stating that being a small business owner is a wonderful experience.

anotherstory books children corner

And it’s this passion for what she does that emanates throughout her store from the staff she has working for her to the books she has lining the shelves. Books are a great way to explore, celebrate, discuss, and share a variety of voices with our kids. The American Express Canada Shop Small program reminds us to support small businesses such as independent bookstores like Another Story. These shops bring unique stories to us, through independent publishers, local authors, and voices you might not see at a mainstream bookstore because they may not be on this week’s best sellers list.

“We got really interested a number of years ago in sort of trying to do equity and social justice issues. We looked at books that reflected the population and there weren’t a lot of books around for kids that reflected black kids or Asian kids. So we looked for that. Our emphasis is still on that, though we carry a lot of other books as well. I think that’s what makes us different.”

amex shopsmall another story books

I love living, eating, shopping, and exploring what makes our city’s different neighbourhoods unique and supporting small businesses is a way to keep them vibrant.

As Sheila points out, “I really believe that community is so important and I love feeling a part of my neighbourhood and I think that happens when you have small stores and you know people. It’s just so friendly.”

Sheila may have given up the steady income and regular hours when she started her own small business but it is obvious when speaking with her that she has discovered a new form of happiness and satisfaction, enabling her to realize her potential for a more satisfying life as a small business owner. This is what makes small businesses great and the Shop Small program is a way for us to support our locally loved businesses.

amex shopsmall another story display

As a proud supporter of Canadian small businesses and as a way of highlighting Toronto’s diverse collection of owner run businesses, American Express Canada is looking for the city’s Neighbourhood Gem. Support your favourite small business by letting others know about it in the American Express Neighbourhood Gem contest. Vote every day until April 21 and again from April 29 – May 5 for your favourite Shop Small business.

As a plus, each vote also enters you into a daily draw to win a $50 American Express Gift Card!

Whether it’s a favourite bookshop, like Roncesvalles Village’s Another Story, a regular coffee shop hangout or a clothing boutique down the street, take the pledge to Shop Small. Support small businesses and keep the communities we love fresh, active, and vibrant.

Do you have a favourite small business in your community?

Sponsored by American Express Canada

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