Hello! I am Sinead Hammons and I am the sole proprietor of a little vegan deli/grocery store in Toronto called Jinglepear Deli.
We opened in October 2020 and have been riding the pandemic wave ever since! I have worked really hard, 7 days a week for the last 18 months, to keep things going and to succeed against all the odds! It has been a great adventure so far and we have been so fortunate to amass a loyal following of regulars and locals who love our food and our concept. Fun fact: before we moved in, our store was the local butcher shop for over 60 years! Isn’t that cool? I like to say that we are just a modern version of what was here before.
So Here's My Predicament:
Last July (2021) I put down a $950 payment on an awning. It's a gorgeous and cheerful yellow & white striped number that I am so excited about. Unfortunately, because of covid, the two months' wait has turned into 10 months.
So now the awning is ready and they would like to come and install it. Hooray! The problem is that we barely squeaked through the winter, used up our reserve funds, and now that the waiting is over, we do not have the money to pay the remaining $2200 owing on the invoice. It figures, right!?
Unfortunately, we have no choice but to pay the remaining amount…we can’t cancel and we won't get our deposit back. Even if I make a payment arrangement, I can’t afford to divert what little money we’ve got at the moment. We are barely earning enough right now to make the rent, pay the staff and buy the bare necessities. It’s really bad timing and I would be so grateful for some help from the community to make this payment and avoid getting into a situation where our file goes to a collection agency.
Here is the bill showing what I paid and what is still owed:
Up until now I have been able to manage all the financial issues with the business by myself, but at this point my resources are depleted and this is the time when I could really use community support!
The truth is that this awning is so important to the success of the business. I really feel that this is a make-or-break situation in terms of our ability to survive over the next 6 months. Here is why we originally ordered the awning and why we desperately need it:
We have a huge front window and we get sunlight pouring in all day. This is great except the store really heats up and our air conditioning bills last year were astronomical. The awning will cool the store greatly, thereby reducing our hydro bill through improved A/C efficiency and the fridges will not have to work as hard to stay cool, which will also help reduce our hydro bill.
We can't keep any products in the front area of the store because they will be damaged by the UV rays and the heat. We also can't have our fresh produce out on display inside or out on the sidewalk because of the lack of shade. Therefore our storefront lacks the necessary appeal and looks empty and boring much of the time.
We are located at a busy intersection with a bus stop right out front. I thought this would help people notice us. But the reality is that it's actually difficult to see us with all the other distractions and people standing out front, etc. The awning, with its bright yellow and white will look festive and enticing and give the store much needed visibility.
Here is a mock-up of what the storefront will look like with the awning! As you can see, we get full-on sun and no shade at all.
Even though we don't have dine-in service, we have a bench out front where people like to enjoy their purchases. Having customers sitting out front attracts more business. But without shade, it's impossible to sit out there comfortably.
Are you Open?
Often, when it is sunny and hot, we have no choice but to close our blinds and people assume the store is closed. With the awning, the blinds will always be open and we will not be missing out on all that potential business.
If you have any questions or would like to know more, I am happy to discuss further. If you have the means and would like to help, I would be so grateful and you'd be helping a small business and a single mum succeed during a very tough time.
Thanks for reading my story!