Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jacob Healy, director of Golden Gecko Coffee, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Golden Gecko Coffee is a local community coffee shop which offers freshly roasted coffee, baked treats, and ice cream all year round. We roast our own coffee, which means you get the freshest coffee with a unique blend to our store. We welcome customers from all ages! With a wide range of drinks and treats for kids, parents can get themselves a treat along with the young ones. Our coffee is enjoyed by those that are looking for a full-bodied flavor. Our store is relaxed, roomy and has plenty of retail goods to offer - we import Australian food and have a wide range to choose from.

Tell us about yourself

I am an Aussie that came to Canada by choice - I chased the cold and wanted to escape the heat! I have always loved coffee, borne from a terrific coffee culture back in Perth. On landing in Toronto, I wanted to recreate the feeling of a welcoming coffee shop, combining a relaxed atmosphere with quality coffee and food. I enjoy sharing experiences with those in the local community. I am constantly inspired by those I meet at the store. Every day there is a new story, a new experience that can be shared over a coffee!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My greatest achievement so far is to have successfully opened and grown a small business. While it sounds simple, the accomplishment of running a business for five years is something to be proud of. The business has been recognized as the best coffee shop in Toronto twice (Toronto Star Readers Choice Award). It is well regarded in the community for its support (we regularly donate to local and international charity organizations). These achievements are born from operating a successful business that focuses on quality products and a high level of customer service

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

When you run your own business, the buck stops with you. That means when employees don't show up for their shift, it comes back to you to be there. Sure there are managers and other roles that can cover this, but for me, I take pride in running a smooth operation - which puts the pressure on me to perform behind the scenes. It is something that you accept being a business owner, and I wouldn't have it any other way - because there are also freedoms that come from owning your own business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Get going: while planning is extremely important, you can also fall into the trap of never starting your dream. Be willing to take some risks and be ready to make mistakes, but planning will never cover every scenario - you will only find out by starting the venture.
  2. Know your own weaknesses: when you run your own business, you cannot do everything … and you will try and do that in the early days. But once you are up and running, look at your operation and find someone better to do some tasks. What are the ones you avoid the most? Which ones do you make the most mistakes? Get help and focus on the parts of the business that you enjoy and can grow.
  3. Innovate: selling products or services requires constant tweaking and innovation. Look at what others are doing and make them your own. Find ways to keep yourself interested and engaged with the business. Introduce new products, remove old products - just never stay still!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

During COVID, we have remained open and continued to employ young people from the Toronto community - this is something that I am extremely proud of but is not necessarily a timeless anecdote. It has become extremely hard to do this two years in, but we continue to remain open and operating. This has come through a lot of hard work from the team and also from great support from the local community.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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