Successful businesses love a neighbourhood full of variety and Cabbagetown is proof of that.
Despite its small size, the community, nestled between Jarvis Street and the Don River, is nevertheless home to more than 100 businesses.
As one of the area’s best-known landmarks, Jet Fuel Coffee (519 Parliament St.) has been a local favourite for 18 years, featuring homemade roast espressos and pastries and an interior space decked out in vibrant local art.
Jet Fuel owner John Englar loves Cabbagetown’s frantic, melting-pot aesthetic and the uncanny big-city feel you get in such a compact community.
“It’s a very diverse place that’s lots of fun. The clientele is very eclectic, from authors and artists to lawyers and politicians, to people on social assistance. It reminds me very much of a Manhattan feel,” Englar said.
He says the secret to success in Cabbagetown is that there is no secret — the neighbourhood seems to follow its own rules as a surprising variety of businesses flourish along Parliament Street, the area’s shopping heart.
“The thing I like best about Cabbagetown is that there’s no set path here — it’s a very free place to do business for everybody and you see something new every day,” Englar said.
At home and garden store Barracuda (527 Parliament St.), owner Gerry Gold, 52, says the continued influx of new residents buying houses and condos in the area has been a positive thing, especially for business owners.
“The area is changing. There’s lots of people moving into the area and lots of development being done — it’s definitely for the better. It’s a good area to do business,” Gold said.
He says seeing Cabbagetown transform into a trendy, desirably livable community has been uniquely satisfying over the nine years Barracuda has been open.
“There used to be drugs and alcohol on the street but most of that stuff is completely gone now. I don’t see any tension here at all. Nobody judges anybody here and it’s the kind of community where everyone just gets along and mixes in,” Gold said.