One of my favorite questions to hear from customers "Is there really a Gabie?". The answer is YES! There's also a Gisela. Gabie's Boutique was named after my mother. Back in 1979 she, along with her mother, Gisela, opened up Gabie's Boutique; a dance apparel and sportwear boutique in Newmarket, Ontario.
Why did they open the store? Well, Gabie was graduating high school and had wanted to be a school teacher but at that time there was a surplus of teachers, so getting a job was next to impossible. She didn't want to spend the time and money going to school not be be able to get a job so when her mother Gisela started talking about how the area didn't have anywhere for dancers, skaters or gymnasts to shop (all of which her three children were involved in) and how she always had to drive out of town to purchase these items an idea quickly came to open up a boutique.
Gisela recalls "you have to remember back then Newmarket was a small town, maybe 15,000 people. I believe when we opened our doors there was only one dance studio in Newmarket run by Heather Hill." There wasn't a lot of choice of retail space and the location at Davis Drive was not only close to Gisela's Newmarket home but was also in the same plaza as Persechini Fitness.
Over the years they grew and they specialized becoming the go to place for dancers. Many of our customers, who are now brining their children in for dancewear, have fond memories they share of going "down the stairs" at our original Davis Drive location that was next to Newmarket mainstay, Persechini Fitness. I have fond memories of those times as well. We would often go to work with my mom and I remember one of my very first jobs at Gabie's was stamping the receipt books! What are receipt books you ask? Well back before computers, yes there was such a time, we would hand write the receipts. On the days that my sister and I would come to work with our mom we would get to stamp them. After a job well done we would be "paid" with one of the ginormous slices of pepperoni pizza from Pizzaville which at the time was right beside us. Over the years I would graduate to other jobs; learning how to fit shoes, work the cash register and eventually training to fit Pointe Shoes.
I can't believe that the first 20 years of Gabie's was spent at the 300 square foot location on Davis Drive. Over the next 20 years Gisela retired, we would move to Main Street and then to our current 3,000 square foot location on Leslie Street. We would hone in on our niche and expertise of everything dance and I decided to follow in my mothers footsteps. While I had always helped out during the busier times and the back to dance season I had decided to go my own way, much to the dismay of my Oma, working corporate retail for several years then heading to school for a career in Policing. After spending the summer abroad I came home with a passion for travel and realized just how much I loved my job at Gabie's (I had been working full time while I was in school). I sat down with my mom and told her I didn't want to leave, instead I wanted to become a part of Gabie's and carry on the business. She was thrilled and I moved into a full time management position moving Gabie's to a third generation, female run, family business.
In 2019 Gabie's celebrated our 40th Anniversary. I am in awe of such an accomplishment which I attribute to the hard work, passion and the dream of Gabie and Gisela and to the incredible community we have built here in Newmarket with customers that come to us from near and far. It is a testament to how much Gabie loves what she does that you will still catch a glimpse of her every so often. Though not on the floor much you'll usually see her at the cash during our busy back to dance season or during special events. One of the things I love the most is when the dancers' faces light up when I say "do you want to meet Gabie?" and their response is "YES! there really is a Gabie?!". I try to take in these moments as much as I can because I know that in time these in person moments won't happen, but I will always be able to say "yes there really is a Gabie" and I am proud to call her mom.