WHEN PEOPLE THINK OF CANADA’S CAPITAL, Ottawa, their first thought probably veers in the direction of government, though it’s small businesses that are the heartbeat of the city. While many don’t solely contribute to a transformation in Ottawa’s economy, collectively they are the positive change-makers in the community. In a city chock-full of hard working-visionaries here are some who are making an impact on Ottawa, for Ottawa.

1. Mike Pilkington and Mark Othmer from The Odds n Sods Shoppe.

With a sturdy backbone in music Mike Pilkington and Mark Othmer have revamped the idea of the “nostalgia shop.” Owning and operating an independent record store is a difficult feat to say the least, but Mike and Mark haven’t just opened a record store, they have created a happy place for Ottawa locals. These two dudes, with 35+ years in the business opened The Odds n’ Sods Shoppe in April 2015. Since then, Odds n’ Sods has proven to be a worthy place to find new or used music or movies, awesome band tees, and sweet nostalgia novelty items. Aside from shopping Mike and Mark create an atmosphere of cool where a person can feel comfortable grabbing an in-house coffee, chatting with the resident music gurus who could discuss about anything from classic jazz to metal to new and old school hip-hop to obscure indie rock and beyond. The Odds n Sods Shoppe is one of the few places in Ottawa to also celebrate Record Store Day, offer listening parties for select new releases, and is good to catch a live performance on occasion.

2. Andrew Szeto from Maru the Circle Brand.

This self proclaimed “kooky Asia” is keeping Ottawa’s photographers fresh. Andrew Szeto, the main man behind Maru the Circle Brand, with roots in skateboarding has created a company that believes in sourcing and creating products locally. “Circle” represents the lens of every photographer and videographer in the Ottawa region and beyond. Any product from Maru, whether it be a camera strap or moto jacket, will be personalized. Maru the Circle Brand is all about sharing experiences and growing together as a community.

3. Aaron Cayer from Antique Skate.

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Aaron Cayer is the owner of Antique Skateshop, a skateshop by skateboarders for skateboarding. Antique came about as a way to communicate with the community and to create a safe space to build a skate scene in Ottawa. Antique has a purposeful goal to create social change within the community. Their aim is to continue to be apart of a growing movement of brands, politicians, city workers and businesses that are changing Ottawa for the better while doing what they love.

4. Regine Paquette and Katie Frappier from Victoire Boutique.

Victoire Boutique, started by best friends Regine Paquette and Katie Frappier, can be best described as a “rock and roll tea party”. They favour well made Canadian and independent designers who make timeless pieces. Victoire aims for attitude and oozes character. Regine and Katie put effort into creating the type of boutique that is accessible to every kind of girl, for any kind of occasion. Ottawa is a big part of the Victorie inspiration, its community is in the DNA. Regine and Katie are in constant collaboration with other businesses hosting Q&A nights to inspire other entrepreneurs. They have been involved in various artist installations, lots of parties and varying initiatives in celebration of Ottawa.

5. Paul ‘Yogi’ Granger, Mark McHale and Kevin Berger from House of Targ

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There is nothing cooler than hanging out at Ottawa’s abiding classic arcade, House of Targ. Targ started out as an underground warehouse on Main st. by Paul ‘Yogi’ Granger. Yogi, eventually joined by two partners, decided to make the space public and accessible. Since then House of Targ has turned into a true Ottawa favourite. Targ has been well crafted with over 100 titles available to play including a lineup of 20 pinball machines (old and new) plus an overwhelming selection of classic video game cabinets. By day, Targ is a family friendly pierogi house that features 6 varieties of handmade pierogis including vegan and dessert options. By night, Targ transforms into a live music venue highlighting an array of local and international touring acts ranging from punk to jazz. Paul, Mark and Kevin have put together a business model that revolves around good times in an inclusive community — a commonality oriented, musician owned and operated business.

6. Tim and Steve Beauchesne from Beau’s Brewery.

If you are a beer drinker in Ottawa or visiting Ottawa you will undoubtedly come across Beau’s, Ottawa’s most talked about microbrew. Tim and Steve, a father-son team, started Beau’s in 2006 with they help of family and friends. It has since taken off and become one of the capitals greatest craft beer providers. Beau’s takes pride in cultivating unique, organic beers with consideration for the environment and local communities, and has won awards for its’ sustainability. Beau’s describes themselves as being “fiercely independent”, everything that comes out of Beau’s was put into it with great care. To the Beauchesne family local means community. Hosting a yearly Oktoberfest, involvement in community and various charitable organizations while actively supporting local arts and music scene are just a few of Beau’s attributes.

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