By ERIN HORROCKS-POPE
“There goes another one.”
“How long do you think this place will sit empty?”
“It lasted longer than I expected…”
As a Beacher, you’re used to these remarks, thoughts, and discussion with your neighbours and families.
Throughout the east end, residents and business owners are ongoingly reminded of that struggle by the ever-increasing number of empty retail spaces, “going out of business” sales, and influx of chains creeping into a neighbourhood that for decades has primarily been made up of boutique businesses run by local entrepreneurs.
So, in this community full of empty storefronts, all anniversaries in the Beach are celebrated as a huge win for both local business owners and residents.
Celebrating an impressive 20 years on Kingston Road, Susierra Willson, owner of Advanced Approaches to Massage, is not only proud of this milestone, but thankful to belong to a community of business owners in the unofficial Kingston Road BIA, better known as the Kingston Road Village Business Community Association.
For decades, Willson and the other members of the KRVBCA have been rallying together to build a truly special and welcoming community for everyone who lives in, shops in, or runs a business in the Upper Beaches.
“I think that businesses really thrive in co-creative environments,” said Willson when asked why she felt it important to work with her neighbouring businesses in the way she does. “It’s about how our businesses, well they survive… together.”
A theme amongst business owners, like Willson, who succeed in surviving in this neighbourhood, is that they judge their success not necessarily based on their revenue and profit, but rather on their community engagement.
Willson utilizes her platform as owner of Advanced Approaches to Massage to actively engage with other owners, clients, and residents. She volunteers to assist in organizing local events like local street fests and the annual Beaches Santa Claus parade, which was unfortunately cancelled for the third time since the pandemic.
Like her peers, Willson built her business and bases her services off of what she believes best serves her community.
It was her own experience with healing services that inspired Willson so set out on a journey to providing others with the supportive, holistic treatments she found greatly improved her life and well-being.
Originally endeavouring to pursue a career in music, Willson spent her 20s living in an “alternative household” with roommates who frequently engaged in healing practices and workshops.
“It changed my life,” Willson said while exploring her personal relationship with holistic practice. “I felt like I had to pursue this and so I did, with gusto. We all live in bodies that deserve to be treated as precious as they are.”
Since deciding to use her skills as a healer to share that joy with others, Willson has travelled the world learning techniques and practices from masters of Reiki, Shiatsu, and other specialty services her practice offers.
To learn more or book at appointment at Advanced Approached to Massage, visit https://advancedapproachesmassage.com
Located at 927 Kingston Rd., Advanced Approaches to Massage can also be reached by phone at 416-694-6767.
WRITER’S NOTE: Advanced Approaches to Massage’s milestone anniversary is a reminder of how vital the ongoing support of local businesses is. This community is recognized by all who live in it or visit it, as a “small town.”
This community is filled with individuals who believe in supporting their communities, shopping locally, helping their neighbours…
Let us view Susierra’s success as a reminder that without support, more businesses can make it in this neighbourhood that is so difficult to succeed in.
Support local, neighbours.