This is the first part in a series called Foot Traffic, where we take a behind-the-scenes look at local businesses and their real estate needs. If you’d like your business featured as part of this series, feel free to leave a message at the bottom of this post, or reach out on Twitter @hamiltonizes
Like many stretches of Main St heading eastward from the core, the blocks between Sherman and Gage offer a mix of residential and light commercial properties. Most are independently owned small personal service businesses, with a few electronic sales shops, hair salons and not-for-profit offices peppered throughout.
Many properties on the strip have been shuttered for years. But recently, a number of entrepreneurs have started to open new businesses in this area. One property at a time, the neighbourhood is starting to have a refreshed look and feel, and area real estate values are feeling the positive effects.
One such building is a former Sunoco service station at the corner of Blake St, just east of Sherman. The previous owners closed the doors almost a decade ago and the structure has remained dormant ever since.
That changed in May 2015 when local personal trainer and entrepreneur, Justin D’Olimpio, saw the building as a perfect fit for his growing business, Just Train Fitness.
“My business previously ran out of the Hamilton Dream Centre just down the street from my current location. I decided to move because the space I was in was too small and my business was expanding,” said D’Olimpio, whose business specializes in boot camps, personal training and yoga.
One of several properties he toured during his search, the building’s size, location and layout stood out for him.
“I chose my current location based on curb appeal, the fact that it was a build-to-suit situation and the industrial/garage feel,” he commented, also noting the property has significant parking capacity.
Though he’s only occupied the space for a couple months, D’Olimpio has already made significant improvements to the property, including resurfacing the surrounding parking lot and brightening up the exterior with a coat of fresh lime green paint – Just Train’s trademark colour.
Having a large, visible frontage has also had significant benefits for his business.
“My clientele comes from all over the city but I am starting to grow a base in the Sherman Hub area,” he noted. “Since opening the new location, foot traffic has definitely helped the business grow.”
Wanting to do more than just be an occupant in the neighbourhood, D’Olimpio has plans to make a positive impact in the community.
“Just Train Fitness feels it is very important to give back and plans to have various fundraising drives to give back in any way we can.”
Like most entrepreneurs operating in Hamilton, D’Olimpio remains bullish on the city’s future as a place to do business.
“I have lived in Hamilton for almost 32 years. I believe it is a city that has a lot of potential for economic growth and is a great place for small business owners to run a business.”