Spotlighting Women-led Businesses in OEV
This International Women’s Day, we would like to spotlight some of the 30+ women-led businesses in Old East Village. From food to vintage goods, there are many amazing businesses led by women in OEV. Today (and every day) we celebrate the strength and perseverance of women entrepreneurs in our community. Stay tuned for the next article in the series highlighting even more amazing women-led businesses.
Drop by a local women-owned coffee shop in Old East Village. Backroads Café and Tavern run by Sarah Lavine just recently reopened in the re-imagined 625 Dundas previously known as the St. Regis Tavern. They have small-batch baked pastries made in-house with rotating daily flavours. Serving premier coffee, Backroads also offers light meals including sandwiches and toasts made-to-order, with an expanded menu coming soon.
Further down the street, find 10Eighteen coffee, run by Katie Sullivan. 10Eighteen specializes in pour-over coffee and at the end of 2020, 10Eighteen celebrated their fourth anniversary. Find delicious treats and light eats sourced in Ontario here.
Make sure to check out the many amazing eateries and restaurants run by women in Old East Village as well. Unique Food Attitudes is a long-running business specializing in Polish food that has been around for 20 years. Run by Barbara Czyz, Unique Food Attitudes first started as a catering company when Czyz just graduated from the culinary program at Fanshawe College. Grown now into a restaurant located at 697 Dundas St., Barbara brings home cooking to the broader public and is there for your comfort food needs. Check out their potato pancakes and pierogis!
There’s also Bella’s Acacia Catering, run by Bella Rivard who moved to Canada from Korea in 2015. She formally opened her restaurant in 2018 out of a shared space on Dorinda Street in Old East Village after receiving praise for dishes she shared with work colleagues and fellow students. Through Bella’s Acacia Catering, Rivard brings her traditional, vegetarian Korean menu items to the community.
Other great food staples run by women include Indulge Caribbean Cuisine and Catering, run by Sandra Hemmings, which features delicious Caribbean food staples such as Jerk Chicken, Oxtail and Curry Chicken and Goat Roti. Right down the strip is Steda Tropical Foods run by Janet Owusu which focuses on organic African food products, such as fresh tiger nuts and Nigerian sweet beabs.
Nearby, there’s also So Inviting run by Yamei Min, well-known for their delicious dumplings. They serve four kinds of potstickers and dumplings (pork, beef, chicken, and vegetable), steamed buns, fried food, as well as baked goods.
Explore the retail shops in Old East Village, such as Freeborn and Company, which specializes in home décor and lifestyle, including kitchen wares, bed and bath, and clothing. Don’t miss their great eye for sleek and sophisticated style!
There's also The Mystic Bookshop, which has been a part of OEV for over 30 years. Mystic Bookshop is now run by Mary Beechie, who lives and works in OEV, and first worked at the shop when she was in high school. Mary took over Mystic following the passing of previous owner Jody Trevail who was a well-respected and admired person in London's spiritual community. Check out their podcast “Through the Mystic Window” for live musicians, interviews, and tarot card readers.
The thrifting gem in the Old East Village, Back to the Fuschia, at 1034 Dundas is run by the vintage expert, Mary Hinton. Back to the Fuschia takes you back to the nostalgic past, with an amazing assortment of vintage goods, particularly antique furniture, and one-of-kind collectibles. Tucked within the shop is The Sentimentalist, run by Melinda Steffler, which features an assortment of vintage clothing from leather jackets to jeans and dresses.
Make sure to drop by Rakhee Chopra Designs by Rakhee Chopra, which opened in OEV in November of 2020, although she has been running her business for many years now. She designs and makes all garments on-site with her talented team of eighteen employees. Rakhee’s latest project is called the TOM-inator, standing for Time of the Month-inator, which is a subscription service with reusable panties and other items to pamper young women during their period. Stay tuned for more information on the project!
Located at 664 Dundas Street and led by Executive Director Darlene Pratt, the London Clay Art Centre is the home of the London Potters Guild. With a mission to be the leader in the education and promotion of the clay arts in Southwestern Ontario, they also have a beautiful retail store with handmade, local pottery. Incredibly community-focused, The London Clay Art Centre offers classes, workshops, and clay camps. You may recognize their beautiful mosaic work around the OEV neighbourhood.
This is only part one! Check out our next article featuring more women in business in Old East Village. Although this series covers the area of the OEV BIA, there are many incredible entrepreneurs in the Old East Village community.