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Small businesses are huge for Windsor

Friday, April 8, 2016


Published by The MediaPlex | April 8, 2016

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Windsor is home to thousands of entrepreneurs trying to make a living in a city with chronically high unemployment in Canada.

The City Market in Windsor currently houses about 20 of the 20,000 small businesses in the region and is doing everything they can to help them succeed, according to manager Sherrill Zonjic-Bullis.

Zonjic-Bullis works individually with small business owners to help them get off the ground, from allowing a vendor to try things out for a day to creating a long-term business plan.

Zonjic-Bullis said there is also support between vendors.

“Something like this is nice because you have the support of the other people in the building,” said Zonjic-Bullis. “We also advertise for our vendors and we all support each other here. It’s a community effort … there’s always a helping hand in the market if you need it.”

The City Market is less than a year old and some areas are still under construction.  They hope to bring in more small businesses and a restaurant as they expand and update the building.

The newest addition to the market is a 650 sq. metre produce section which opened April 2. It takes up about a quarter of the market space and is run by Anthony Elias, who has worked in produce as a small business for more than 20 years.

Elias said he worked for his father who owned Elias Produce and built it up with the help of his brothers into a $100 million business before selling the chain to FreshCo about 10 years ago.  He said he learned how to run a business and balance a budget through his years of work experience.

Elias said money can disappear very quickly with the expense of starting up a business, particularly with advertising.  He said he believes it takes some experience to get off the ground.

“A small business owner who wants to just get up and giddy up…it’s really tough. Windsor’s tough too.”

According to Sabrina DeMarco, executive director of the Small Business Centre for Windsor-Essex, launching a small business is not easy, but being a business owner can be very rewarding.

DeMarco said she has a lot of respect and admiration for small business owners because of their hard work and passion about serving the community with what they offer.

“Small business is the lifeblood of our community,” said DeMarco. “In our region we have many thriving areas that are possible due to the investments made by small business and entrepreneurs.”