Get to know the people behind your favourite places & spaces in downtown Burlington! We’ll be introducing you to a new owner & business throughout the year!
This week, meet Mardea Browne Solanke, owner of both
Angel’s Beauty Supply & Salon Inc.
Joe’s African & Caribbean Market Inc.
1. Why did you start/open your business?
I was tired with the 9-5 (corporate world) and needed a change before I go on and lose my mind. 🙂 I saw an opportunity when I needed to get my hair and my daughter’s hair done and I had to drive all the way to Mississauga for the service. I realized that there was nothing here to cater to such need.
2. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business. (i.e. What is your unique offering?)
I am married with four children, and we live in Burlington. Angel’s is named after my youngest daughter, and Joe’s after my younger son. We love it here and are happy to be part of this diverse and beautiful city. Both my businesses serve a niche market here in Burlington and its environs. I carry hair extensions and products as well as body products and cosmetics that have distinct properties that benefit everyone. Said products aren’t available in the bigger markets in the area so that places me in a unique position to attract customers from far and wide. Our salon offers hairstyles and treatments in a comfortable environment like nothing else in the area. Our grocery store carries a mixture of African and Caribbean fares that are sure to awake every palette.
3. When did you open your business in Downtown Burlington?
December 1, 2015, Angel’s opened its doors at 408 John St in the downtown core. Joe’s followed in July of 2017.
4. What made you choose Downtown Burlington?
I live here and love the community and the people of Burlington. I wanted to add more diversity to the offerings in the downtown core, thus give people something different in their own city.
5. What are the biggest benefits of having your business located in the downtown Burlington core?
Visibility for sure! Having both businesses on John Street right on the major bus route has helped us tremendously with exposure, thus free advertising.
6. What other downtown businesses do you frequent and do business with?
TD Canada Trust for sure, La Pita Halal, Lakeshore Coffee House, Lugano’s, I Love Gelato, Coffee Culture, to name a few.
7. What special events do you have coming up in 2020 that you would like the BDBA to promote and/or publish on our website and social media outlets?
Honestly, we don’t have anything yet planned. It’s been quite a year and we are do our best to keep moving and remain relevant. The pandemic has wreaked havoc in the downtown core and we are blessed to still be in business, so BABY STEPS for now.
8. If you had a piece of advice for our new businesses, to help them succeed, what would it be?
Work hard, as hard work always pays off. Do not rely on one skill, diversify your offerings. Look within yourself and turn your hobbies and passions into multiple streams of income, that has helped me navigate the pandemic thus far. Lastly, optimize your customer service.
9. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life … what would it be?
Fried plantains and fufu and soup!
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