Who are you?
Hi! I’m Alexis and this is my husband, Marco. We opened a little designer toy / gift shop on King East called The Gifted and can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store for both ourselves and the city of Hamilton. In 2017 we’ve moved the store to all online ordering! ** Check out an AMAZING new interview with these cool cats courtesy of Paper Street Journal **
About 2 years ago we checked in with one another and realized we weren’t happy with our living situation. We were working too hard to simply get by and we knew other options were out there.
Where do you live?
We currently rent the main floor of a duplex in the Stinson neighbourhood. There weren’t many parameters for finding an apartment – we just knew we wanted to live in a newer home (we’d had our fill of living in rundown places that were “full of character” back in Toronto). We booked a few showings, took a day-trip to Hamilton, and had made a decision by the following weekend! Rental prices are VERY reasonable when compared to Toronto prices which made us feel instantly at ease. The Stinson neighbourhood has a little bit of everything – you’re close to the nature trails, but minutes from two major bus routes.
What resources helped you make the move?
We luckily had a few friends who had already taken the plunge and moved to Hamilton a few years prior. They were happy to show us a few of the interesting spots that Hamilton had to offer and did an excellent job in wooing us. We were taken on expeditions to the waterfront, up the mountain, and shown what a behemoth of an event SuperCrawl is!
What resources do you WISH you’d had access to that would have helped?
We moved in December 2014 and went into hibernation mode pretty quickly. Had there been an all-encompassing website (similar to BlogTO) that let residents know about cultural events happening throughout the city, it would have been a definite asset. We’d been made aware of a few blogs (mainly music specific) but a handy “TOP 5 VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS” or “TOP 5 NEW BUSINESSES TO OPEN THIS MONTH” list would have probably gotten us out of the house a bit sooner.
What things surprised you the most about Hamilton? Good & Bad
We weren’t expecting the amount of support we received from other local businesses. As first time business owners we knew we’d be in for a somewhat uphill battle – but at every turn there have been a handful of individuals willing to share what they’ve learned along the way and to help us in any way possible. It’s been pretty humbling!
What advice do you have for anyone considering a move to Hamilton?
– you really do need access to a car in order to maximize your free time in this city!
– get your errands out of the way on Saturdays as 90% of the businesses are closed Sunday/Monday
– if you get turned around while exploring, remember that the water is to the NORTH (still trying to wrap our heads around that one)
What are your favourite places and things to do around the city?
The hidden mini putt course just West of the Wentworth stairs along the rail trail
Burdin’s Comics 725 Barton Street East
Of all the things going on Hamilton these days – what are you most excited about?
It’s exciting to feel change in the air! Everywhere you turn there’s a new business being opened or someone collaborating on a new project.