Get to know Wendy Leonard, owner of Kahiko Bay
We opened in 2013 – eight years this December.
I like Kingston because it’s a mid-sized city…it’s a town that has everything you need. And I love the waterfront. Within 15 minutes you can be by the water from almost anywhere. Plus, you find tons of small shops with unique items you don’t find in big box stores.
People who have come in have been quite understanding about the situation we’re in. We’ve had to go through a lot of changes…they’ve been supportive. They want to see small businesses succeed in town.
What do you offer?
We deal with basically anything swim and travel related. If you’re going to the beach, we’ve got stuff for men, women, and children. We have sunscreen and rash guard, we’ve got goggles and caps…things you need for professional and competitive swim training…anything from performance to leisure, and anything in between. We try to have something for everybody.
Running my own business is a way for me to express myself and help people the way I want to. In a franchise, you have to help people in a certain way and you don’t have much control over the products you bring in.
Any holiday specials to be aware of?
We always run different sales throughout the years. With travel coming back online, treat yourself to a new suit before you go on holidays. It can be a challenge to buy a suit for someone else and get the right size, as it’s a very personal item that you really need to try on. Consider a gift card instead.
If you have a planned trip going into the new year, we have lots of accessory items that don’t need a precise fit like towels, beach bags, sarongs, and cover ups.
What’s next for your business?
We have been hit extra hard because we were deemed non-essential, so we’ve been through three lockdowns. Even when we were permitted to re-open, our business has struggled due to travel restrictions, pool closures, and limits on group activities. Even if you needed a bathing suit, you weren’t really allowed to use it! Those customers who did come in…we’ve been so grateful for. Without customers, we can’t stay in business.
So, we are super excited we have made it this far. We’re glad people can travel again, that kids are back to swimming lessons, and aquafit is starting up again. Hopefully we can recuperate and help everybody get back to doing what they love.
Local businesses you like to support?
I love Cha Cha Tea in the plaza by Kahiko Bay.
A few others: Very Shari, Wilmert Wicks, Sticky Forks Apiary, Avanta Salon & SPa…lots of great opportunities to get out and support local.
Small and medium businesses create nine out of ten Canadian jobs.
– Statistics Canada –
Canadian businesses have taken on tens of billions of dollars in debt, and many are struggling to repay.
– Statistics Canada –
At least half of every dollar spent at local businesses stays local.
– multiple North American studies –
Kingston was one of the Canadian economies most impacted by COVID-19.
– Conference Board of Canada –
Small businesses need our help.
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