A grass-roots message turns into the coolest shop in Barrie.
The Osgoode Company opened on June 29 at 45 Dunlop Street West and is hoping that the message that got them to where they are resonates with everyone in town. The very popular Support The Locals badge that is seen nearly everywhere on hats and shirts was started by Mikey Olah many years ago having seen the plight of farmers at local markets.
“I have been very exposed to the atmosphere of the local farmer’s market and what it is really all about,” said Olah. “My mom sold perogies at the markets, my girlfriend’s family bought from local farms and just seeing that unique interaction and the throwback to how things used to be is refreshing in a way. The simplicity of the days-gone-by attitude and people supporting each other whether financially or morally is a great idea that needs to come back.”
Olah enjoyed designing logos and images for t-shirts and hats for many years and through his appreciation for the local market, came up with the very simple logo of Support The Locals that he put on stickers and patches that he handed out to the small businesses he ran into. After putting the logo on clothing, it really took off and Olah realized he may just be on to something.
“Obviously I didn’t come up with the idea for sharing locally but the logo is the thing people know about us the most,” said Olah. “The hats in particular are very popular and that’s a conscience decision by us. When you where a hat, people look; they really pay attention to what hat you have on like it’s a flag or something. If you pass hundreds of people a day and 20 percent of them who see your hat follow that message then that’s a lot of folks deciding to make the movement a reality. The popularity of it has really allowed us to set up the store we’re in now and create more brands, so to speak, that I have wanted to put out there for a while.”
Olah has lots of ideas that have been sitting waiting to be put on the clothes he sells and has been for quite a while. Previously focusing on the online side of sales, Olah and his team also had their products in stores not just throughout Ontario, but in Alberta and BC too. While the entrepreneur was in awe of the fact that his passion was selling well across the country, he knew it was time for the vision to get its own home in town.
“I couldn’t believe we were selling well in BC,” said Olah. “It was so surreal to think that nationally people were loving the ideas that were coming out of my head and on to clothes. Setting up our own store though really was the next step and putting it here on the west end of Dunlop ended up being perfect for us.”
Olah says that Osgoode currently has two other staff members plus him. While Olah feels he is doing well with the creating and vision aspect, he knows that his team and co-owners are just as important to the success. Suzi Crashley is an integral part of the operation with not only the women’s styling, colours, cut and fit side of things but also the extremely vital numbers crunching side of things. Philip Moreau came in as the online guru and helps with sales as well. The 27-year-old Moreau is a born and raised Barrie boy and loves not only that Osgoode has a physical building but where it is.
“I was born in the old Royal Victoria Hospital just up the street so I do sometimes stop and think how cool it is to help build something in town this close,” said Moreau. “The east side is really a lively atmosphere with all the bars and restaurants for sure, but this end has this kind of cool vibe, a relaxed feeling where its nice to keep the front door open and watch people walking by and having a wonderful day out downtown. It’s a lot like our brand where its small town, laid-back and very Canadian.”
The image of Osgoode is key and while behind the scenes the company uses Canadian manufacturers and even local screen-printers, Moreau says it’s the visible side that is so important as well. Moreau is as much a Canuck as anyone, having grown up in the Barrie Minor Hockey system and playing Junior up north. He would then go on to Dalhousie University out east before coming back to Ontario to build custom hockey rinks, work at Rogers and then a local multi-media company.
“An attitude we have that we will never waiver on is we would never be able to put a maple leaf on something that wasn’t truly Canadian,” said Moreau. “Even the vibe in the store has a Canadiana feel with all the little trinkets and décor on the walls. We want people to come in here and fell like they are supporting locally, because they really are.”
The Support The Locals products have always been the hottest sellers for Osgoode, but other merchandise is catching up. The Home brand and Made Here line is becoming very popular and Moreau knows that its just a matter of time before the rest of the ideas the team have hit the streets and spread the message.
“By far we are not done making the vision reality,” said Moreau. “We’re still renovating various parts of the shop to do the many thing we want to do which is eventually host events here, use the space for photo-shoots and such. With regards to product ideas, Mikey has a large amount of creations he hasn’t even touched on yet so we’re good there. Its going to be a lot of work but really fun we feel.”
For more information on The Osgoode Company and their products, check out the website at https://osgoodecompany.com . The site is currently updating the new inventory but follow them on social media at Instagram: @osgoodeco Facebook: @osgoodecompany