More new condo residents have meant better business for Riverdale.
The bohemian enclave located just east of the Don River is home to many owner-operated shops that are thriving in the population boom.
Pamela Kearns, a coordinator at the Riverside Business Improvement Association, says changes in the local business community have been quick but the neighbourhood has kept its individuality.
“We’re becoming a very vibrant area — we don’t have big box stores so these are all one-of-a-kind, owner-operated stores. There’s a great residential base here and there are people on the sidewalk so that helps with getting customers into the shops,” Kearns said.
Celebrity chef Lynn Crawford is set to open a restaurant in the area soon after buying the Citizen bistro, so clearly larger business interests are eyeing Riverdale as a place to invest in.
At home furnishings store Liloo (734 Queen St. E.), owner Sapna Alim, 33, has seen a rapid influx of business into the area in the four years since she opened the store.
“We’ve got a lot of new businesses in the neighbourhood. It’s what I believe Queen West used to be — it’s got a very bohemian feel,” Alim said.
The biggest changes have been fed by all the new condos in the area, she says.
“Condo developments started popping up three years ago so a lot of new residents started moving into the area and business started coming in as well. The most change has happened in the last 13 months,” Alim said.
Roxanne Deans, 37, just celebrated the first-year anniversary of opening her store Roxanne Reads (750A Queen St. E.) and says she chose Riverdale for her business because it was cheaper to start up here than in The Beach, despite having a similar feel and clientele.
“Leslieville and (Riverdale) have that sort of small city feel and the neighbourhood has been unbelievably welcoming to us. This is an up-and-coming neighbourhood and what I like about it is that they’re upscale but approachable,” Deans said.