HUB223 is located on Water Street in central Downtown. When asked why he chose the location Scott replied “We want to bring people into the Downtown to shop and visit the amenities. This contributes to an eco-friendly environment as well as helps our businesses grow and for the Downtown to become more vibrant.” There is a lot of potential in the area and more merchant and service providers are excited and embracing the ongoing changes. “I love being Downtown; there is so much potential and involvement in the area.”
Dino's Pizza Summerside
Rami is the face of Dino’s Pizza, one of Summerside’s great pizza shops. Through the constant work and effort Rami has put in, he has built a very successful pizza shop, which features great foods ranging from your pizza classics to freshly made Mediterranean dishes. Dino’s Pizza caters to some of the city’s biggest events, has free local delivery, and offers nothing but the best service.
Born in Halifax, Rami moved at an early age to Lebanon. He eventually made it back to Canada to complete a chemistry degree from Dalhousie, and then moved on to receive his diploma as a Pharmacy Technician.
In 2007, Rami worked at Dino’s Pizza in Charlottetown, which is owned by his brother. Always a fan of small cities and towns, Rami saw his chance to continue the Dino’s Pizza franchise with his own shop in Summerside. When asked about his decision, Rami said “I’m good at what I do, and I put in the time to make it work. It was a huge risk investing as much as I did, but I am willing to sacrifice a lot to get results.” His goals and visions are too keep expanding, and to get more involved with the community.
“I feel honoured, coming from a different background and feeling so at home when living here”. Rami truly appreciates the beautiful greenery, the spacious sidewalks and the cleanliness of the city. His advice for new businesses coming to the area is to be different and make yourself authentic. Get involved in the community and donate what you can. And remember, Summerside is a “small city, with big opportunities”.
Tickle Trunk & EDGE 251 Mens and Ladies Clothing
“The city is growing, it’s a beautiful city and a place where a lot of people are coming to live to raise their family. It’s a safe place,” responds Norma Profit-McNeill, owner-operator of the Tickle Trunk and Gordon’s Men’s and Ladies Wear, when asked to provide a reason for merchants to choose Downtown Summerside as a place to open a business. “We’re in a beautiful location along the waterfront with all the events coming to the Downtown, it feels similar to a kid at Christmas time!”
The Tickle Trunk and Gordon’s Men’s Wear and Ladies Wear, located in the McNeill Mall, provide a friendly and community enriching experience to shopping. “I like to shop local and to express the importance of shopping local, “offered Norma. Between the two shops, they provide products such as clothing and accessories for all ages, as well as a 30 day layaway service “We would like to keep growing. We are getting new lines and brands that we’ve never had before; we are always looking to add something new,” said Norma. Downtown has an excellent atmosphere for businesses and Norma has expressed her enthusiasm and encouragement for merchants to join the Downtown community.
Norma has owned both businesses for over 13 years and relishes in personal customer service. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and maintaining an active lifestyle. Between both stores, she provides the Downtown with a vibrant and positive presence and is confident in the potential the Downtown has to offer.
Samuel’s Coffee House
Samuel’s Coffee House, located on the corner of Water and Central Street, opened its doors in 2011 after a dream was turned into reality by Moyna Murphy-Matheson.
“The idea was always there. I have roots here and it was really important that what I did had to be downtown,” said Moyna, owner-operator of the business.
Speaking with Moyna, it’s evident that she has a strong passion about being a part of the downtown core.
“Being downtown promotes a healthy lifestyle and helps to build relationships with other merchants, this is a business home and we would like to see more growth and development. Having the waterfront is a beautiful asset and attraction,” explained Moyna when asked why businesses should choose the downtown as a location.
The area is rich with history and the merchants are embracing that aspect and using it to their advantage.
“This building used to be a bank in the 1800s. It’s just really cool.” Taking the history into consideration and modernizing it is proving to be a successful tactic. “I am proud of the fact that Samuels is a Summerside brand,” beamed Moyna.
Samuels provides a variety of products from specialty coffees and baked goods to healthy alternatives and other take-home merchandise. The building is infused with a friendly and unique atmosphere and emanates a vibrant passion for its town and customers. All of the staff members work hard to ensure each experience is positive one. Along with food and customer service, Samuels also provides a delivery option for those customers too busy or are too far to travel. There is a minimum specified amount for delivery or, if the order is below the amount, they partner with the local taxi service to ensure customers’ satisfaction.
“We need to keep our customers happy and keep them coming back.”
Avonlea Book Store
Richard Kays is both owner and operator of the Avonlea Book Store in Summerside. He moved here from Charlottetown in 1997 for his wife, who works here in City. After almost colliding with another vehicle in a late-night drive with his wife and children, he decided to make the move. Initially, Richard was looking at Real Estate guides for a house his family when an ad appeared in the paper listing Avonlea Book store for sale.
“I saw the article in the newspaper and thought it would be a fun idea,” he said.
After purchasing the store, he closed it for the duration of one week to make repairs before reopening to the public, and has remained open ever since. In his free time, Kays enjoys spending time with his family as well as camping, golfing, reading and traveling in his free time.
He has spent the last 17 years promoting literacy and is now aiming to expand his market to include antiques, collectibles, toys and games in order to create a more diverse collection; this will allow him to strengthen his relationships with his current and future clients. Richard sees two things that differentiates Downtown Summerside from other communities:
“Friendliness and location, the people are friendly and like to chat, and also we run along the water vs. most places start from the water and expand the opposite way. The area is prime for growth; it has so much potential and opportunity. Downtowns should be about a meeting place, little shops, and boutiques.”
Kays also provided us with his insight as to why Merchants should choose Downtown to start their businesses, “Because there is so much space, the rent is affordable and there is tons of parking.”
Richard is confident in the direction that the City is taking with hosting such events like Chautauqua, the Lobster Festival and the annual Sidewalk Sale, and many others. He remains confident that with positive outreach and participation, the town will continue to grow.
As a native of Richmond, Scott Brown, Property Manager of HUB223, decided Downtown Summerside was the a great location for growth and development.HUB223 provides classified student or corporate micro suites for either a long-term or short-term rental basis. The space also provides work-space studios which, for a membership fee, allows students or business persons an “in-home” office feel. It consists of workspace, internet access, comfortable seating, as well as a board room if a meeting place is required.
When you visit Global Wines you are greeted with knowledge and passion for the industry. Ernie provides a personal guarantee on purchases if he recommends the product. He has only had one complaint about his product “the wine does not last long enough”. It is very good!
Ernie started in the Health care field, but wanted a change. He did his research and realized there was an industry that was not fully being tapped into at the time. So he began training at a friend’s brew on premise business in Charlottetown. Global Wines, located at 123 Water Street (beside Subway) opened in Downtown Summerside in November 2013.
Prior to becoming the beautiful facility Global Wines is today, the building had become rundown, unsafe and an eyesore in the Downtown. Ernie saw a diamond in the rough, a blank canvass to create a facility that worked perfect for his wine brewing company. After many hours of planning & hard work the building was transformed. An eye-pleasing, fresh and welcoming location was created on the inside and out. It now had a façade that deserved to be in its high traffic location. To continue to take advantage of the locations great visibility, Ernie expanded his vision and before Christmas installed a large reader board sign to ensure everyone driving by would know what is happening inside.
Global Wines has become a destination shop. During the time of this interview, all customers that came in were from Queens County area. People are always happy when they go into Global Wines. They are excited to be choosing what to make, and when they return they are happy because they know they are going home to enjoy good quality wine.
You have the choice of taking the kits home to do it yourself, or brew on premise. By law, the customer must pour in the yeast and bottle the wine themselves, but Ernie does the rest. Each box gives you 30 bottles of wine, with the process taking 28 – 45 days. “It is the same process as what would be done in a winery.” Global Wines carries 8 brands of wines in various styles and flavors to choose from and has recently added over 8 styles of craft beer to the selection.
With the continuing success of the business Ernie now has three part-time employees working with him at Global Wines. Ernie had some advice for new Entrepreneur’s looking to start a business in Downtown Summerside. “Do your research. There needs to be a need in the industry and community” and “Surround yourself with a good team and great support.”
Beamer's A1 Pizza
Moving here from Kosovo 15 years ago, Bejtulla “Beamer” Sadiku wanted to give his family a better life. “Summerside is a small city, great to raise children and work” He worked many jobs (Cavendish farms, McCain Foods, taxi driver) before being able to call Beamer’s A1 Pizza home in July 2006.
Beamer’s A1 Pizza, located at 296 Water Street, has been open for 8 and a half years. Since then it has become a household name. “Where do you want pizza from tonight?” “A1”
Beamer’s A1 Pizza employs 3 people (Himself, one of his sons and one other part time employee).
It’s not just all pizza at A1. The menu is full of delicious treats. The very popular Donair can be ordered in its traditional form, on a sub, in egg rolls and yes, there is a donair pizza. Also on the menu are subs, salads, chicken wings, fries, fish & chips, panzerottis, burgers and mozza sticks just to name a few.
So, where does his nickname ‘Beamer’ come from? He told the story of when he was working as a taxi driver. The taxi dispatch could not pronounce his name, so they decided since he drives a BMW, Beamer it would be, and it stuck.
When asked about what advice he would give new entrepreneurs coming into Downtown Summerside, he said, you need a good product, good prices and a good attitude. You get what you put into it, so if you work hard you will succeed.
The Humble Barber
What is your definition of ‘humble’?
“Something different than modesty. If you work hard to achieve something, you should be proud of it, and express it. But understate it. And definitely don’t overstate it. I love my shop, I worked hard to make it happen, and I’m good at what I do. I want people to feel that, and I want to give them that feeling too. To be proud of their style and walk out feeling confident, to be humble”
You may know him as ‘The Humble Barber’, but really, Sean Aylward is a spontaneous man who picked up a pair of scissors one year ago and knew exactly what he wanted to create. Growing up in Summerside, Sean received his high school diploma, and was his class’ valedictorian at Three Oaks, and is now currently living in the downtown area. He adores his hometown and loves the pace of life in Summerside. “It’s a great and beautiful city to live in, and as a business owner, the people here have been very welcoming and supportive.”
After doing ‘pretty good’ on his LSATs, Sean decided to go in the opposite direction, choosing barbering instead. Before starting his Humble Barber adventure, he received a BA in political studies at UPEI while playing on the men’s soccer team, worked on construction sites in the Alberta and Saskatchewan oil fields, received a carpenter apprenticeship, worked in sales all over Canada, and met his beautiful wife, Caley, whom he calls ‘Lady Humble’.
When asked why he wanted to become a barber, his answer was pretty simple. “Barbering is everything I like. It’s creative, handy, fun, and I hang out with buds all day. I just love being inside a barbershop”. He says it’s ‘the best’ job, and the ability to interact one on one with his customers allows him to create a true friendship and trust with the man who gets to sit in the barber’s only throne.
When you walk into The Humble Barber, it’s like entering a different world for a few moments. You can instantly feel Sean’s authenticity, and tell that he is unique and wishes to give people more than they want. The Humble Barber is on the path to achieve any goal he has, beyond his vision to become one of more recognized barbershops in Canada. His ability to make a positive difference in the city and his desire for enhancing and influencing the entire culture of Downtown Summerside has not gone unnoticed, as you can see his signature cuts on many of the stylish men our downtown has.
10 years from now, Sean hopes to see many more young entrepreneurs in Summerside. He notes that the city is becoming younger and more accepting of unique ideas, so he wishes to see people create that idea they wish to see in Summerside. “Take whatever you love to do, put it in a room, and call it your office.”
“Summerside is an easy place to do business, because it’s such a blank canvas right now. Figure out what you want to have in the city, and make it happen. Invest in yourself, invest in a space, and people will notice. As a customer and a business owner, I see on both sides, the importance of always giving people more than they expect.”
Melissa Compton and her husband Jason took a chance on owning and operating 902 Vapes here in Downtown Summerside. “The why is easy. We saw the need for an alternative to smoking and it was possible to do in this town. We simply wanted to help people make the switch from cigarettes easier, educate our customers, and help PEI residents”.
Born and raised in PEI, Melissa is the perfect example of a local. She has always called Prince Edward Island her home and has enjoyed every minute of it. “I love it here, and I will never leave. I mean, I toyed with the ideas of moving, but even when I go on vacation to a beautiful resort, I just can’t wait to come home.”
Between working full-time and owning 902 Vapes, Melissa doesn’t have a lot of spare time. However, when she does, she enjoys walking her handsome dog Tucker, taking Zumba classes at the Credit Union Place and create running programs with her brother. She notes that being active has become a part of her lifestyle, and “it allows you to take your mind off things, and you can just let go.”
Searching for the perfect spot to open 902 Vapes, she was fortunate to find a central location that is accessible, and has high visibility for tourists and locals in the downtown area. Feeling welcomed and accepted within the downtown community, Melissa has only positive things to say, as well as received consistent positive feedback from her customers and other downtown businesses. “When we make our community available to highly demanded products, this is a great city that is willing to support our local businesses.”
The start of Melissa’s adventure began with Jason’s entrepreneurial vision of offering the alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes in Summerside. Since he was very young, Jason was smoking on average two and a half packs a day, and within the past couple of years, he has discovered vaping. Ending his smoking career on December 15, 2013, when he was storm-stayed in his home and unable to purchase cigarettes, he finally realized the vaping alternative was possible. Melissa strongly believes there is a better answer without the need of pharmaceuticals or other methods and they both wanted others in the city to have the opportunity of sharing this method with them.
Melissa described how moving it was to hear the amount of positive feedback she has received from people, and the immense impact they have had on people’s lives. She adores her shop and is grateful to have hired the best employees. Melissa strongly advises people opening a business to realize the potential this city has and to always have your social media and advertising present. Support local as much as possible, meet and greet as many as you can, and always provide the best customer service with a friendly face, and great knowledge of what you are offering.
You could say that he has definitely worked his way up. Carl Arsenault, Branch Manager of the National Bank, has been in the banking business for upwards of 30 years. Beginning his career in retail, Carl found his love of banking, and has been a part of it ever since. Having moved to Summerside from Ontario, 14 years ago, Carl loves the friendly, down to Earth, and relaxed atmosphere of our little city. Not only does Carl have a passion for banking, he is also a musician and avid Seahawks fan. He is always the happy face and friendly neighbour in our downtown community!
The National Bank has been open in Downtown Summerside for 55 years. Carl refers to the National Bank as a “boutique bank”, in the way that it is small and personal. His ultimate goal is to create wealth for his clients. With a small, local bank, the National Bank creates trustworthy relationships and can offer clients full attention and best customer service possible. The National Bank offers more than just day-to-day banking. They also provide products and services such as investments; credit products; and retail banking services. Carl considers his National Bank team his second family and loves being surrounded by such great people.
The Summerside National Bank branch tries to be involved in as many community activities as possible. In Downtown Summerside, they are definitely a champion for community spirit. Staff members have come in on their Saturdays off to pass out treats during Witches On Water Street; Ensured people stayed warm with hot chocolate while waiting for the Santa Claus Parade to begin; Opened their doors to the Coats for Kids campaign; Gave away trees during the Sidewalk Sale; And currently they are involved with supporting Habitat For Humanity with various projects and fund raising events.
Carl feels that Downtown Summerside differentiates itself from other communities because it is easy to get around, there is no traffic and we have a beautiful boardwalk. Downtown Summerside’s defining characteristics are its family friendliness and old-fashioned town feeling. But it also with energy to try different things. When asked if he had advice for new businesses coming to the downtown Carl offered a bit of wisdom “Know your business, know your market, be unique and give remarkable services.”
Most Wanted Jewellery & Pawn
Originally from Newfoundland, Will Feaver moved to Prince Edward Island fifteen years ago. After graduating from Three Oaks Senior High School in 2000, he travelled out to Alberta to work for a couple years. He later returned back to the island to raise his child. When Will is not working, his hobbies include playing video games and making his car look as good as possible. -Although, his favorite pastime is spending quality time with his little girl playing at the park.
Will is the floor supervisor at Most Wanted Jewellery & Pawn located at 189 Water Street in Downtown Summerside. Opened in October 2010, the downtown shop was the second of three locations for the Most Wanted Jewellery & Pawn brand with the others being located in Charlottetown and the most recent one in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Most Wanted Jewellery & Pawn is a unique shop and a must see destination. The 2 floor store has everything you can image it would have and more. From jewellery to video games, licensed character merchandise to the movies they star in, and a Coke machine to quench your thirst while you are taking a look around. If you are looking for a blast from the past, they are even known to have the original Nintendo game consoles for sale. Music lovers are in their glory when they venture up the stairs to the music room. A hidden gem of Downtown Summerside, you will find guitars hanging from the wall, equipment anywhere from picks to amps, and once an old squeeze box was spotted up there!
Will very much enjoys working at Most Wanted Jewellery & Pawn in the “beautiful and scenic” downtown area. “We love being a part of Downtown Summerside as it has a lot of history and we want to keep it going.” The company tries to be involved with as many community events as possible, and aim to do even more in the next few years. Most Wanted Jewellery & Pawn hopes to continue to expand with great success, and looks forward in seeing what happens next for their company.
Downtown Summerside Inc. Clean Team
Alan Suave, a man of many talents, and one of Downtown Summerside’s hardest workers. Growing up in Summerside, he ran wild in these streets. In 1974, at age 14, Alan left home for some exciting adventures. After receiving his diploma in recreation leadership, Alan soon discovered landscaping, something he truly has found a passion for.
Alan has done it all, from landscaping, brick layers, stone masonry, and is now Downtown Summerside’s ‘go-to man’ for any painting, gardening and maintenance needed. When you don’t see Alan out on the streets drinking his bakin’ donuts coffee, he is most likely dancing or singing at home while pulling wheelie’s and tricks, or possibly out at the bars socializing with the whole community. Alan also loves to cook, so ladies, he has the whole package.
Alan returned back home to Summerside in 1997, and after becoming reliant on a wheelchair, you will still find Alan doing the exact same things. “I work the streets”, Alan humorously said in his interview, “I told my mother I would work the streets someday but wouldn’t make much money doing it. Now here I am.” Like most people, he could never do the office job. He was born with his natural ability to be physical. “I’m a physical man and that’s the way I will always be. Even if I was a millionaire I would still be doing this, because it’s just what I love to do.”
Alan started with Downtown Summerside Inc. about three summers ago. He needed a job, and had to pay the bills. Alan accomplishes many different tasks daily and does each duty out of “pure enjoyment”. You will never see the man without a smile on his face, a positive outlook on life, and the ability to brighten any rainy day. He enjoys living in Summerside, and working in the downtown. He also feels good about the people, and content with the life he is living in this city.
One of Alan’s many goals and visions is to make everything look as good as it possibly can in the downtown area. He finds it extremely valuable to feel good about where you are, and even more valuable to be proud about what you do. He appreciates the lush greenery, and the beautiful pathways. Alan reminisces on the days when kids surrounded the Downtown area and the whole community came out to the Green’s Shore picnics. He admired the amazing social skills people acquired when he was growing up and the one on one interaction everyone had with each other. When Alan was asked about how he felt to be a part of the downtown community, he said, “I feel good about the people, but wish people would get out more to try to make the change they wish to see within the city. Sometimes we’ve got to change ourselves to make change happen. We’ve got to stop being 50 years behind the rest of the world”.
One of the biggest things Alan would like to see in the Downtown community is to bring more events and entertainment onto Water Street, and allow the community to experience it in the sunshine. “We need people to step up and make a difference; everyone is scared to take a chance. It might not be a good idea, but the only way to know for sure is to try, right?”