Now where was I?
Oh yeah, reasearch and development.
Once we decided that we were definitely moving to Oshawa, and definitely opening our dream shop, I started looking at retail spaces in downtown Oshawa. We needed to get an idea of what we’d be paying, what the downtown core looked like nowadays, what the competition looked like, etc.
I researched local independent shops, from Whitby to Newcastle, to see what people were selling.
I looked at craft shows, art galleries, and everything related to arts and crafts that I could find online.
I participated in a craft show at The Vault, to meet people and get a look at my soon-to-be-hood.
And my husband did the same for the skateboard side of the business.
And we did this for months. So much of my free time went into looking at Durham Region online. I followed dozens of Durham area Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. I bookmarked a bunch of Durham-centric websites.
We were getting excited.
Durham Region has a healthy art scene. There are galleries and spaces that cater to the arts, but there is also a solid grassroots movement out here to get people invested in art and culture (look at all these links). Gone are the days where Oshawa was merely a car town. There are two universities with campuses in Oshawa, as well as Durham College, which now offers a fine arts program. This place is turning into another culture oriented mid-sized city like Guelph or Hamilton. And if you Torontonians have been doing your research, you will know that many of your artists have already started jumping ship; moving out to Guelph, Hamilton, and the like, in search of more affordable, yet still arts-friendly, environments.
Everything was looking favourable.
So we started writing a business plan, we registered for GST/HST, and we packed up to move.
Coming up in The Labour District Diaries part 3: the actual move, finding a retail space, and getting the ball rolling.