New year, new threads? Vintage hunting in Toronto from takara on Vimeo.

On cold unforgiving winter days like today dressing up is more a burden than a pleasure.

Sadly, sub-zero temperatures don’t scream sexy, which is why now, more than ever, is the best time to shrug off old man winter’s icy grip and seek out new fashionable finds at vintage stores to brighten your mood.

Tabula Rasa, found in the Riverdale area, is one of several independently owned boutiques in Toronto that offer up second-hand pieces ranging from high-end brands to re-worked vintage works that will keep you warm (and fashionable) throughout what’s left of winter and into spring.

The best part of their store? Stain-free clothes (no rummaging required)  with a personality and great customer service, proving that high-end stores don’t equal haughty.  Their products range from silk dresses to bright jewelry including pieces by up-and-coming local designers.

“Owner [Jennifer Park] opened this store in 2010 here because she loves this neighborhood and there wasn’t something like this before,” says manager Juan M. Gonzalez-Calcaneo. “It’s a great place where people can find clothes for any occasion.”

Interested in opening your own small business? Before you do make sure you choose the right location. Check out the following checklist to maximize profits. For more information please visit the Canada Business Network (a government agency dedicated to assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs):

  • Zoning: Ensure the area is zoned for retail businesses.
  • Demographics: Determine if the demographics of the local population are a good fit with your business (age of the population, income, family size, and so on).
  • Traffic analysis: Ensure that you are in a high traffic area and that the store is easily accessible (public transit, parking, and so forth).
  • Competition: Make sure that nearby stores are complementary and not in direct competition with your business.
  • Future development: Find out if zoning or road changes are expected in the near future or if new development is planned. Such activities could help or harm your operation.

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