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With new leaders, Toronto groups continue partnership



With new leaders, Toronto groups continue partnership

TORONTO — The new leaders of the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization said they are considering new projects while building on ones the volunteer group had pursued in the interest of attracting visitors to the city and its businesses.

And that includes a partnership with the Toronto Beautification Committee through which local business owners have received funds to spruce up their storefronts.

The coalition’s new officers — President Abby Lemasters, Vice President Toni Moreland and Secretary-Treasurer Lish Troski — recently joined Susan Greiner and Ginny Popson of the Toronto Beautification Committee to present a $1,600 grant to Meraki Made, a shop at 218 North Fourth St.

The committee also is under new leadership, with Greiner stepping into the role filled for some time by Linda Komar.

She and her husband George, the coalition’s former president, are moving to North Carolina to be close to their children and grandchildren.

With the development, Lemasters, Moreland and Troski — all local business owners themselves — have stepped forward to lead the coalition.

Lemasters said there are no plans to change things like the coalition’s series of free summer concerts, set to return at 7 p.m. Wednesday with classic rock group Poor Man’s Heaven, or the Christmas light-up event also held at the Gazebo Commons on North Third Street.

“We want to keep everything they’ve had because it’s been successful and we love it, but we want to add a few other things,” said Lemasters.

Since opening a coffee shop at the corner of North Fourth and Clark streets a few years ago, Lemasters has worked with other owners of brick-and-mortar and home-based businesses in the city to hold special events, including an outdoor vendor show, to showcase their goods and services.

She, Moreland and Troski said they have a few ideas for new events, including a fall farmers market, an event on Small Business Saturday and one geared toward children, they may develop in the future.

One new idea that’s already come to fruition is the coalition’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Scholarship, which will go to a Toronto High School graduate interested in establishing his or her own business.

The recipient of this year’s scholarship, in the amount of $500, is Riley Fisher.

As the new leader of the beautification committee, Greiner said the group will continue to plant flowers and decorate the city’s north and south entrances, the Gazebo Commons and other areas of the city, as Linda had done with other members of the group, many of whom are still involved.

She said a recent appeal for new members was successful, drawing several who have taken an active role in the group’s efforts, but more are welcome to join.

Greiner noted the volunteer group normally meets on the first Monday of each month during cooler months for planning purposes but takes a break during the summer to focus on its beautification projects.

Shelly Rogers — who co-owns Meraki Made with her daughter, Haley Clark — expressed gratitude to the two groups, each of which provided $800 toward the storefront revitalization grant.

She said she plans to use it for new signage and to smooth the entrance leading to her store.

Its name incorporates a Greek word meaning “made with love and creativity,” and the shop offers many custom-made clothes and other unique gift items.

Since opening in 2022, Rogers and Clark have expanded its floor space to accommodate the wide array of merchandise.

“For being a small town, we’ve done really well. We’ve increased revenue each year,” said Rogers.

She added the spirit of cooperation and camaraderie among local business owners has been a blessing.

Rogers said other business owners often have referred their customers to her, and she’s done the same.

“We bounce ideas off each other all the time,” she added. “It’s nice.”

(Scott can be contacted at

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