Small World Needs Your Help

The Small World Cafe needs our help.  Owner, Tony Da Costa, tells me they are sinking deeper and deeper and need some real help to keep the business afloat.  They’ve reduced their costs where they can, but they still aren’t getting a steady enough flow of customers to pay the bills.  Tony says the story in the Toronto Star last week didn’t help things either.

This Saturday, November 21st from 2-4 p.m. the band “Related” will be playing at Small World.  Related usually plays the Black Swan on the Danforth.  It’s just the beginning of what they hope will be more music as Small World.

If you’re not familiar with Small World, it’s a nice little spot on the south side of the Danforth east of Coxwell (east of McDonalds) where you can have a bite to eat and a cup of coffee with the newspaper or hang out with your little ones at the back play space.  Below is the ‘Danforth Gem’ written by Jessica Schmiedchen about a year ago.

Small World Cafe, By Jessica Schmiedchen

You had me at “hello…we’ve got Dufflet pastries and a children’s play area”.

Let’s be honest, Small World Cafe was a bit of a no-brainer for a woman like me.  Up until Tony and Beth Da Costa opened their cafe this summer, I had little to no local options for a place to sit with my kidlets and enjoy a coffee.

Longtime Danforth East residents, and parents of five children, Tony and Beth felt the void in our community and decided to do something about it.  The result is a vibrant space, filled with delicious treats, fair trade coffee from Mountain View, and a child-friendly attitude I’ve never seen in a Toronto cafe.

In addition to the sumptuous brownies and squares from Dufflet, Small World Cafe offers everything from croissants and muffins, to quiche and made-to-order wraps, and my new favourite thing in the universe: portuguese tarts.  Flaky on the outside, custardy and caramelized on the inside, it’s a little piece of heaven for just $2.  Portuguese tarts…you complete me.

Location: 1775B Danforth Ave (east of Coxwell)

Hours: 8-8 M-F, 9-5 weekends

Highlights: Great coffee, great food.  Children’s play area and change table, Portuguese tarts, Dufflet pastries, Three’s Company food, Friendly, local ownership

0 comments to “Small World Needs Your Help”
  1. thanks for the Small Wonders posting…I had not discovered it but I will now..as I am on mat leave w/ a 10 week old in tow and live north of Greenwod subway…

  2. This is so sad. I love that little spot. You can actually enjoy a whole latte while your little on spends all his/her time in the play house. I highly recommend it to anyone in our neighbourhood. I’ll be going this weekend to do our part.

  3. How about funky actions like:
    * Hosting a Book Club Night
    * Tarot Card Reading
    * Scintillating, Informative Guest Speakers
    * Offering to be the venue for community clubs
    * Knitting Circle
    * Story Telling

    There is a great coffee shop in Bobcaygeon that does similar things.

  4. I see the hours listed at 8-8 during the week, but I have passed by many times on my way home from work (5:30 ish) and the place is closed???!! I would love to pick-up some sweet treats for dessert!!

  5. nO pLEASE, it is a great place for families with tots. I will be there this saturday to do our part.
    Please help them!

  6. Thanks for giving us the heads up on this..it would be a SIN if it closed.

    Love Mary-Margaret’s ideas…I think she’s on to something about creating a destination.

  7. I want to love the Small World Cafe, I really do. The coffee is great. The dufflet stuff is great. The play area is great, and my daughter loves it there. Beth is great. The repeated toy cleanup warnings are difficult to swallow.

  8. The moms in my fitness classes love Small World – we often head there after our workouts to “re-fuel”. I would be happy to organize a Mom’s Networking session and host it at the cafe.

  9. Hi,
    this neighbourhood and our small businesses need more people – the proposed new and modern development at Woodbine/Danforth will do just that.
    Resisting such development will not help small businesses like “Small World” and it won´t help attracting other business i.e. “Starbucks” (as it was wished at the last community meeting) because profitable business is not easy to achieve in this area.
    This neighbourhood should think about the possibilities this new development will bring to this area.
    “Fear” tactics like stating that this neighbourhood will look like Main/Danforth in a few years does not help either.
    DECA has shown that improvement in this community is possible and more people will not only bring business to our small stores but maybe also new ideas how to continue the improvement in this area.
    This new development will also bring attention to a community that deserves a better review than the one posted in the Toronto Star.

  10. I too love Mary-Margaret McMahon’s proactive ideas.

    One simple idea for everyone who says they want to help make a difference is to pre pay for their coffees, snacks etc up front. Just like in the co-op world, you invest with cash and profit later. Give them $100 or whatever you can afford, and ask them for a card/voucher that will keep tally of your debits.

  11. I think one of the problem with small businesses are their opening hours. For example there is this nice German deli on the corner of Danforth and Main. Even though I’d love to shop there more often on my way from subway they close so early that every time I come it is closed. Unfortunately it is true for many other small shops in the neighbourhood. I realize it is expensive to hire additional staff, but perhaps the owners could get to work later and keep the stores open until 7-8.

  12. We’ve been to Small World a few times, and after reading this post, decided to take the kids today after I got off work. The problem is that by the time we got there, it was 4:55pm and the place was about to close. krisintoronto’s comment is absolutely correct – most of us work during the day, and if these businesses close by 5pm, it’s near impossible to support them. In this particular case, I’m already at work by the time Small World opens, and can’t make it before they close, so unfortunately I can’t support this business. Perhaps, even just a few days of the week, the hours could be shifted to 9-6 or 10-7, because I’m sure there are many others in my position too.

  13. I just got am email form a friend whom I sent this along too.
    She has a difficult toddler who kept running away from her and into the back of the shop. She hasn’t gone back because of this (it turned out to be a more stressful visit than it should have been). Perhaps blocking that off so that it’s safer for the kiddies would also help.

  14. I recall it being quite a nice cafe, a bright spot on that stretch. But I agree with the other posters — the fact that it closes at 5pm during weekdays basically means I’ve written it off. I’ll bet the owners want to limit their time there to have a balanced life, but it may be time to invest in hiring more staff and staying open later. You just can’t close at 5pm on weekdays or weekends, and expect to stay in business along this stretch of the Danforth. There isn’t enough foot traffic during the day — this ain’t Timothy’s at Danforth/Chester where seating is never available. If you need help in adjusting the business plan, I suggest approaching Alterna Savings. They’re in the neighbourhood and if you show a serious commitment to changing your hours to increase cash flow, they may help out. When you change your hours, I suggest a flyer campaign between Coxwell and Woodbine, both north and south. You need the local community — everyone needs to know. Offer a coupon for a free coffee … people will come in and buy a pastry, check out the place, and word will spread.

  15. I appreciate all the comments and feedback regarding Small World Cafe. With regards to the opening hours, we were opened till 8pm last year with a lot in advertising with very little return and there was very little flow through the cafe. It was costly to have an employee there and only have a sale or two. Sometimes no one came and that was discouraging. That’s why we went to the shorter hours.
    However, we will consider the suggestions of staying open later. We’ll keep you posted. We’ll change the hours starting in December.
    By the way, we had a great turn out this past Saturday for the live music “Related” and they will be back Sunday December 6th from 2-4pm. The event will also include Christmas Carolling.
    We love all of Mary-Margaret’s suggestions and if anyone would like to help organize any of those events, please contact me at the cafe.
    As a matter of fact, if anyone knows of any musicians that would also like to play at the cafe on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, please contact me.
    A special shout out to Dave.
    I’ve got a special sign posted regarding keeping the Kid’s area tidy so I will not pester people anymore.
    Thanks to all for your input and encouragement.
    Tony & Beth

  16. Unfortunately due to the hours -I can’t drop by as I work during the day. I am sure I have visited on the weekend and it was closed. Possibly that was just an odd case.

  17. I agree 100%. It is not open for those who do not stay at home with kids.

    I also do not have kids and am not sure this place caters to people such as myself very well at the moment. I love location and the coffee and the food -it is just not open when I am around, or it is too noisy and chaotic for me to come on my own for lunch on the weekends.

    I like kids -don’t get me wrong, it just seems quite chaotic and noisy whenever I’ve been in there on the weekend and that is the only time I can make it there. I sure don’t want to see it go however. If this place is solely for parents with kids then that is fine with me. We need those places as well, but kid-less folks like it too!

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