29 Mar 2017
- Last Updated on 29 March 2017
- Written by Erik Van Der Torre
Originally published in the April 2017 OSCAR.
Although the commercial area in our neighbourhood is relatively small and well defined, there are a large number of businesses that operate in Old Ottawa South without many of us knowing about their existence. Many of these – often one-person – businesses rely on word-of-mouth advertising or are only discovered when one is explicitly looking for a particular service.
Over the years we have discovered a few of these hidden businesses, either directly as clients or through friends and neighbours. In this month’s Business Beat I want to highlight four such businesses.
Husband for a Day
It will come as no surprise to anyone living in Old Ottawa South that our 1920s home is often in need of smaller and larger repairs and/or tweaks. Through the years, we have gone through several handypersons, but late last year we found ourselves in need of someone new when our go-to-person had moved on to larger renovation projects. A neighbour (you know who you are…) suggested we contact Mike Wynnyk.
After a successful career in the tech industry, Mike changed course recently and started “Husband for a Day,” providing renovation and handyman services. While I already forget what specific task we asked Mike to take care of several months ago, he has been back to our house now several times. Six months ago our wish list for things to do around the house was probably a page long. Since then, Mike has steadily worked on our list and taken care of a large variety of items, ranging from larger projects like dismantling and replacing a fireplace to smaller ones like hanging artwork. And while I don’t have the illusion that our to-do list will ever be empty, it’s great to know we have a go-to person that clearly takes great pride in his work and loves what he does.
And what’s great about Mike is that he has made it clear that he prefers doing smaller projects over large-scale renovations, which means he is often available on short notice.
Around eight years ago, Vanessa Riddell started helping her realtor husband’s clients stage their homes to facilitate their home sale. Seeing what she could do with their old home, these same clients then started asking Vanessa to help them design their new homes. Thus, Sachi - Staging And Creative Home Interiors - was born.
With a degree in Fine Arts from Concordia and a strong background in health and wellness, Vanessa’s focus is always on improving her clients’ lives. Over the past few years, Sachi has helped several clients, both in OOS and neighbouring communities. And projects range from choosing furniture or paint colours for a small room, to the complete design and execution of a large-scale renovation. For these large-scale projects, Vanessa works with a team of trusted subcontractors and guides these projects from start to finish.
As of mid-March, Vanessa can also been found at the newly opened Ligne Roset showroom (1165 Bank Street). When I stopped in shortly after opening, Vanessa was clearly very excited to work with this beautiful, French made, furniture and design company as it allows her to use her extensive design experience to guide clients to pick and chose the right Ligne Roset furniture for their home. And in her spare time, Vanessa will continue to help clients with their design challenges through Sachi.
You can also find some of Vanessa’s design advice in her monthly “Design Dilemmas” column in the OSCAR.
The Bytown Butler
Similar to Mike from Husband for a Day, Sean Ryan left a job in high tech to focus on something else. In Sean’s case this “something else” was becoming a highly organized stay-at-home dad and working a part-time investment sales job. But as many of us stay-at-home parents know, as kids get older and more independent, time frees up to explore other things (like writing a monthly column for the OSCAR).
Sean started The Bytown Butler in 2015, offering up his home organization services to anyone who needs them. And who doesn’t?
The Bytown Butler offers basically any service that makes a household run more smoothly and efficiently. Need someone to get groceries? Buy a printer? Return some books? Get skates sharpened? Book a trip? Need to book a plumber? Need someone to walk the dog? Or check in on your house when you’re away? You guessed it, these are all the kind of services that the Bytown Butler can provide.
My favourite service listed on the website is “Be Random: Just Ask”. It’s true, we can probably all come up with tasks that pop up and require time and attention that don’t fall under any specific category. But contact Sean and he’ll take care of it.
So although you can’t create more hours in the day, you can add time to your day by letting the Bytown Butler take care of some of those time consuming tasks.
The Loot Bag Lady
Having left behind a career in teaching, Kathy Patterson decided to use her knowledge of what makes kids tick and apply it to her business. As “The Loot Bag Lady,” Kathy creates loot bags that go beyond candy and dollar store items. The focus is on quality and fun with loot bags that emphasize play, creativity, and discovery.
With close to 40 different loot bags to choose from, the possibilities are endless. And if you or your child still can’t find something you like? The Loot Bag Lady will create a custom loot bag just for your party.
As with all the businesses featured this month, The Loot Bag Lady is all about convenience. So not only are your party loot bags taken care of, orders can be placed as late as 24hrs before the party and for a small $15 fee they’re delivered right to your house!
Run a small business from and for OOS? Let us know.
While there are still lots of new and existing businesses to cover in our neighbourhood, I plan to occasionally feature businesses like the ones highlighted here. So if you run a small, home-based business that helps OOS residents, or know someone who does, let me know and I will make another compilation in a few months.
Erik van der Torre has lived in Old Ottawa South for over 7 years. He recently joined the OSCA board and is an active member on Hopewell Avenue PS’s parent council.