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Being surrounded by so many soaring buildings, and sprawling plazas, it’s often easy to forget that sometimes good things really do come in small packages. No, I’m not talking about that paycheque you’re waiting for, I’m not talking about little kids or rings or your new cell phone. No, what I’m talking about is something that, after all the time I’ve spent walking the PATH, still stands out as something unique. Or, rather, in this case, someone.
Tucked modestly into the back of a stylish women’s clothing store, Be Be Joon in Commerce Court, is a small room, which is made to appear all the smaller by the countless pants, shirts and other garments hanging in rows along the walls. For the past seven years, Kim, who has become arguably one of the most successful tailors in the PATH, or perhaps all of downtown Toronto, has been working here, vigilantly ensuring that the comfort and appearance of her loyal customers never falls by the wayside in the midst of the bedlam of the financial district.
Having spent the last 15 years working downtown and perfecting her craft, she has gathered a following among some of the most high-class, professional clientele that walk the PATH. Working tirelessly to make the alterations and repairs that help her customers look their best, and save money, Kim has become a mainstay for some of the most fashionable, sophisticated wardrobes around the city. But many of Kim’s clients do not simply appreciate her services, they rely on them. To keep pace in the progressively more competitive environment of corporate Toronto, it’s always necessary to look the part. And so, that successful banker walking quickly down Bay street, or the lawyer trying to get ready for their next case, they need their clothes to look as sophisticated and professional as they hope to. This is where Kim comes in, because it takes hands as deft and a work ethic as dauntless as hers to keep the jackets and shirts and skirts that characterize the city’s professionals up to snuff.
But it’s not all blouses and blazers cramping up Kim’s work space. Occasionally one of Kim’s original designs can also be seen standing out from between the ranks of jackets and dress pants and skirts, though she admits that nowadays her work seldom leaves her a chance to express her creativity. She has also been known to handle more complex garments, some of which many tailors would be reluctant to take the needle and thread to, such as wedding dresses. Kim, however, has proven herself capable not only of dealing with such orders, but in exceeding her clients’ expectations. This becomes perfectly apparent with a single look into her work space, where “Thank you” cards adorned with elegant photographs of weddings and other events crowd the edges of her mirror frame. Her explanation of this gratitude answered a question that had been on my mind since I first entered the shop. How do so many find out about such a small, unassuming business?
The obvious answer, of course, is that people talk. They don’t simply see that perfect hem or that ideal repair job and carry on with their business. They tell their friends, they tell their family, their coworkers, anybody, because they don’t just appreciate the results of Kim’s labours, they appreciate the skill and dedication that goes into the work itself. And so it just goes to show that, in the middle of the PATH, surrounded by fast-food chains, established retail outlets, and franchises of all kinds, sometimes you don’t have to be a big company to get ahead. Sometimes all you need is hard work, dedication, and that personal connection that so many big businesses fall short of. So to me it makes little difference whether or not you really believe that down here good things can come in small packages, because when I looked down today to see a tear in the knee of my pants, and a button missing from my shirt, I wasn’t embarrassed or frustrated. I knew exactly where to go.