Spouses Anya Cramer and Michel Sauve look proudly around their art and office supplies store on the Danforth in Riverdale. It’s the newest Midoco location in a business that has existed since 1977.
The family opened their Danforth location in 2015 and are working hard to honour the past while staying ahead of the curve. “This store is so different than what my dad did in the ’70s,” says Anya, noting how much the retail business has changed since then. The first store closed in 1994, making the 1983 Beach location the oldest, followed by the Annex location, which opened in 1987.
The elder Cramers are delighted to share the business with their family. Mikal, Anya's sister, handles the company's finances while her brothers, Josh and Dominic, grew up actively involved in the store's operations. Anya says that her mother, the "head honcho," "told me, with tears in her eyes, that this is like a fairy tale.”
Midoco is a hit with customers of all ages. Children excitedly pull their parents into the store and their parents follow, not needing much convincing. "We truly have something for everyone," says Michel, adding that Midoco is a go-to destination for creative gifts. "Pens for your office or studio, supplies for the novice or professional artist, paper for school or crafting. All locations have a unique selection of greeting cards as well as wrap and ribbons.”
Midoco does not sell online; they’re all about giving customers attentive face-to-face service. “Our staff is super-friendly, honest and knowledgeable,” says Michel. “There is no hard selling.”
“We want Midoco to be a welcoming place for those who want to express themselves,” says Anya.
Anya and Michel love all the Midoco stores’ neighbourhoods: the Annex, the Beach, and now Riverdale, a neighbourhood they now call home. They say the trick is to stay on top of their clients’ needs, which can differ by location. Their enthusiastic buying team regularly brings in new and unique products to continually delight their customers.
Anya and Michel are a working couple who respect each other’s unique contribution to Midoco’s success. Anya is the detail-oriented one. “When you are laying out a store, every inch counts,” explains Michel. “It helps that Anya is meticulous and has the patience for complicated, picky tasks.”
Michel is a big-picture person. Her attitude is “let’s get 'er done.” She focuses on the faster-paced day-to-day aspects of the business including operations and people-management. “It’s cool because it’s not too common to see your friends or partners at work,” says Anya. “I get to see other aspects of Michel's intelligence and abilities.”
The two women are passionate about their business and the future of Midoco. “It’s a labour of love,” they say.