The following 'success story' was submitted to OrilliaMatters by the Orillia Area Community Development Corp.
Michael Fredson hopes people visiting his main street bookstore enter alone but leave with a book for a life-long friend.
It’s this personal connection and more that Manticore Books, an independent community bookstore located at 103 Mississaga St, E. in downtown Orillia, aims to create for its clients.
Fredson says this emulates what the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) did for him when he first bought the business.
“When I took over the store, I approached the CDC for a loan to start building the business,” he says, adding the experience was very positive. “The CDC was interested in my business plan and my experience. Not only did the CDC talk to me about my business plan, even their board got involved in the discussion around it.”
Fredson says because of this, the CDC is more of a financial partner than a loan manager.
“They want me to succeed,” he explains. “An independent bookstore serves as a vital cultural hub; we're a place to come to for enjoyment, reading, and knowledge.”
Building on the success of the first loan application and connection, Fredson approached the CDC a second time in 2016 for a loan to buy the building.
“I believe in what they're doing by supporting local business, so they were my first approach,” he says. “And because the options they presented were great, I went with them first.”
For Fredson, it's a great feeling as a business owner that the people in charge of his loan are just down the street.
“I can go and chat with them any time,” he notes.
The CDC doesn’t just provide a loan for local business owners either, they show entrepreneurs several ways of improving paperwork and reporting.
“If I need specific help with something, they know which experts in the community to connect me with,” he shares.
Before he was forced to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fredson had one full-time and two part-time employees. And, he adds, in the past he has also used the CDC’s wage-subsidy program to hire youth to work at his store.
For more information about Manticore Books visit www.manticorebooks.ca or call 705-326-7776.
For more information on the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) visit www.orilliacdc.com or contact 705-325-4903 x 101.