The Village Quire
Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up with The Village Quire?
I moved to Ottawa 19 years ago. Just writing that I can hardly believe it! I have a Communications degree and came for a six month casual contract and then just stayed. I worked in Communications for a couple years & worked as an Esthetician for a couple of years. In between I met my husband. We have two kids and I remember the day the original owner of The Village Quire opened. It was located where Fratelli’s is now. Nine years later the store moved down the street to the current location of 312 Richmond Rd and I was the new owner.
What part of being an entrepreneur do you like best?
I love organizing my own day. I love the creativity that comes with marketing and building a business. And the people. Having a store means meeting so many people!
How do you balance family and business?
I always find this to be an odd question! What does balance look like when you run your own little shop? Well, if you are in my store after 4pm on a school day, you’ll know I’m fielding after-school snack questions over the phone. Or you might run into my kids en route to their lessons because they usually drop by, looking for a drink of water or money for a quick snack. I am a Mom and this store reflects that!
I have to say that having really great staff helps when I want to be out of the store. I am always available to answer questions over the phone or by text but having staff that love my little store and this neighbourhood as much as I do is invaluable. When I hire, you can be sure it will be from within ;-)
Can you tell us more about being on the board of the Westboro BIA?
The Westboro BIA has really shifted the past couple of years. I think we are working hard to make better connections with one another in this neighbourhood. And it isn’t just about the members. We’re working to reach the Community Associations, our neighbours in Wellington West and beyond. Ottawa is smaller than we might think.
How has Westboro been as a place to operate your business?
I can’t imagine having a shop anywhere but here! Once upon a time I worked for Bridgehead and I can tell you those same customers I served coffee are stopping in to purchase cards for birthdays and anniversaries and graduation and everything in between. Westboro has certainly changed a lot in the past few years but many of us remain the same.
When you first went into business for yourself was there a moment where you felt like you were jumping off a cliff?
Absolutely! I still feel like that sometimes! I don’t think I ever seriously considered that one day I would own my own bricks and mortar store. It is a huge decision, a leap of faith in a lot of ways. And I could not have done it without the continued support of my family.
When you aren’t busy with the store, staff the BIA and everything else that goes along with running a business what do you do for fun?
Well, I could tell you that I like to garden a bit. I like to putter around my house and clean and tidy and organize.. But my absolute favourite thing to do when I am not at the store is poke around Ottawa. I love shopping the independents. You might find me right here in Westboro or heading down to Elgin or Welly West. If it’s Friday, I guarantee I’ll talk my husband into a late afternoon beer.
Are there any exciting plans for The Village Quire in the future?
I have a new website! I am super happy about it - I know more and more people are looking for the store and I think my new website will really engage customers.
Have there been any Ottawa based businesses that you have partnered with or shared resources?
Of course! We host workshops from time to time at The Cupcake Lounge. Think Bullet Journaling or seasonal crafts for children. You’ll find more about that on my website.
Do you have a favourite lunch spot in the neighbourhood?
The Village Quire is likely the most colourful business we have ever been to. Does this keep you cheerful?
I’ve been described as an exclamation point. Cheerful is my natural state - it just makes sense that my little store is the same.