QLIP BUSINESS PROFILES
VIP NAILS, Belleville, ON
If you are looking for VIP service, check out VIP Nails in Belleville! This salon, known for its friendly staff and professional work is owned by Tony Van, a Canadian Citizen, and native of Vietnam. Tony has made Canada home for over 33 years.
Tony is a true entrepreneur. He graduated from Marketing at Toronto’s Sheridan College in 1996 and learned to be nail technician so that he could pay off student loans. After obtaining a license, he wanted to try to open a nail salon in Canada. He used his skills to do research on salons by traveling to Canada, Hong Kong and Vietnam! Unfortunately, Tony noticed that nail salons didn’t seem to be a profitable business anywhere he looked, so he put aside the idea of the salon at that time.
When Tony came back to Canada, he had the opportunity to work for his aunt’s nail salon in Belleville. During that time, he got married in Vietnam and brought his wife to Canada. They welcomed a daughter soon after. Tony and his wife worked in his aunt’s salon until his aunt asked the couple if they wanted to buy the business. They hesitated at first with worries about business prospects, but when his aunt decided to help her brother get a permit to work in Canada, Tony knew it was a good sign that more family was coming to help.
In June 2017 they decided to take over the business. With his marketing background, Tony had the family do a lot of advertising on social media, extensive business cards distribution and flyers distribution on cars and in stores. Clientele started to grow, and now, in 2023, business is booming!
Tony’s best advice for newcomers wanting to start a business is to know what you’re interested in, find your strengths, and do the research. Lastly, have enough capital to back it up.
He wants customers to know that VIP Nails is focussed on quality, upgrading skills and techniques and satisfying customers. He says,”…we pride ourselves on speciality design especially for younger generations”.
In the future, the family is planning to expand and modernize the size and style of the business as well as offer more services such as facials, eyelashes, and a mini bar!
MILLIONHAIRS, Belleville, ON
Want a “million dollar” haircut? Visit “Millionhairs” barber shop in Belleville! In operation since May 2019, Millionhairs is owned by Terrance Fang of Belleville who is a trained barber with 10 years of experience.
Terrance immigrated to Canada from China in November 2009 with his sister and her family. After living in Kingston, the family moved to Belleville. Terrance studied to improve his English at Loyola School of Adult and Continuing Education, and then enrolled in Art and Technique Academy of Hairstyling and Esthetics, formerly located in downtown Belleville (the school is now permanently closed). The instruction Terrance received at the hairstyling school gave him the skills he needed over the next 6 and half years, to work in both a well-known hair salon, and barbershop in Belleville.
When Terrance saw a barber shop for sale on Kijiji in Belleville, he jumped at the chance, and purchased the shop, which he re-named Millionhairs. As the site had already been a barber shop for many years, he was able to take over and just add his own touches.
For Terrance, the biggest challenge of owning a business is the unknowns. He had to learn the basics of owning a business and how to keep existing customers because he had to raise the prices to compete and keep afloat. And being on the edge of the city, he also worried about getting new customers.
Terrance’s advice to potential entrepreneurs is to, “have a blueprint…of what you want to do to turn it into a business, and then lay the ground work step-by-step”. He also says, “Start small and gain experience… Everyone is different”.
Terrance wants his customers to know that he and his staff really care about the service they provide. He plans on making improvement where he can, including small shop renovations, visual improvements, increased staffed training, and generally continuing to provide the best possible service.
THE OLD BANK CAFE, Frankford, ON
Ever since she saw the lovely area of Frankford, Ontario, Pavla Hoca and her family dreamed of opening their own business in the region. Originally from the Czech Republic, Pavla and family moved to Canada in 1999.
Several years ago, Pavla, her husband and her son, passed through the Trent River area on a family trip. They fell in love with the region because it had a similar feel to their hometown of Decin, that sits on the Elbe River in the Czech Republic.
So, in 2011, the family purchased the old Molson’s Bank in Frankford, Ontario. Her goal was to open a coffee shop and bring that “little touch of Europe” to the community. To get “training”, Pavla took a job at a Tim Horton’s, where she learned about the chain’s technique and strategy. The company taught her a lot about the business. She brought her own baking experience that helped her get the shop up and running.
Getting the new building ready took several years of hard work. Pavla and her family were living in Orangeville, hundreds of kms west of Frankford. They woke up at 5am on all their weekends and holidays to drive to Frankford and work on the renovations until late at night and then drove home again to Orangeville. In May 2019, the renovations were complete and the coffee shop was opened! After living in the basement of the shop alone for 5 months to keep the shop running, Pavla’s family joined her when they bought a house in the Stirling area in October 2020.
Pavla’s advice to others wanting to start a business is, “Do not give up. If you fall on your knees, do not be afraid. Stand up and continue…follow your dream or idea.” And the dream paid off because the restaurant won the Restaurant Guru 2021 award for “Best Interior” in Quinte West and is noted as “Best in the City” on the Restaurant Guru 2023 website!
LA CULTURA SALUMI INC., Belleville, ON
La Cultura Salumi Inc. has been producing Italian air-dried meats in the Quinte area since 2012. This unique business was started by Jane and Francesco Abbale. Jane and Francesco met in Canada after moving here from Ukraine and Italy respectively. They own a water buffalo milk farm in Quebec where they make artisan yoghurt and cheese products from buffalo milk. This led to the idea of opening a water buffalo meat plant to make artisan meats such as salami and Bresaola (dried Italian meat). Jane says, “We started from scratch, built the plant, and learned how to make Bresaola and other products.”
Abbale says it was challenging to start a new business in the Quinte area at first, “…we did not know anybody. But people are amazing here and we met a lot of nice people.” She add that newcomers, “…should have a dream, believe in it, and know that everything is possible!”
The business objective is to produce high quality healthy foods, with few chemicals and preservatives, and low sodium. Water buffalo meat, is low in cholesterol and calories. But they also work with organic Iberian pork from Spain and only use the best quality prime Black Angus beef. “We take pride in knowing where our meat comes from, and knowing exactly what ingredients are used.”