Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicole Crowe, owner of Rustic Cosmo Cafe, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

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

Rustic Cosmo is Parkdale's Original Coffee House! We have been proudly serving Parkdale for 27 years! We offer a wide variety of breakfast and lunch items as well as homemade baked goodies made daily. We have many loyal customers, it is because of them we are still here after all these years! They are my favourite part of the day and a huge part of why I love what I do. You may notice as you're browsing the menu, a few of them have their favourites named after them!

Tell us about yourself

I've always known that I wanted to take care of people in some way, shape, or form. I graduated from Sheridan College in 1999 with a diploma in Early Childhood Education. It was soon after that I decided that wasn't for me and joined my mom at the café full time. My motivation comes from seeing how much people enjoy our food. Many of them have eaten the same breakfast or lunch every day for years; it's a comfort they can count on! Working alongside my mom for years created an atmosphere where people love to come and hang out for hours has been one of the many pleasures of this job. I am a single mom with a six-year-old daughter who loves to come and hang out at work with me. I can only hope she will continue with her excitement and ideas to grow the business and one day takes over!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We have been in business now for almost 27 years; in this industry, I definitely consider that my biggest accomplishment! Over the years, we have had many successes, from being published in a few books as Parkdale's hidden gem to being voted one of the top ten cafes in Canada!

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

Running a business can be very rewarding, but it's challenging at the best of times. I would say one of the hardest things about being self-employed is the unknown. You never know what the next day is going to bring! Always be prepared to go with the flow and adapt. It is also hard to balance work and home life. Your mind never really stops when you run a business, you're always thinking about the next step. Remember to step back and take some time for yourself.

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

Have a solid business plan. Make sure you have clear goals on what you want your business to look like. Be prepared financially because unexpected things will always pop up. Be a jack of all trades. Knowing how your equipment works and how to fix it yourself will save time and money. Believe in your vision, and without a doubt, you can accomplish anything.

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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