For George Christakos, entrepreneurship is a family affair.
His first brush was when at the age of three, he “helped” his father and uncle build a newsstand, where 12 years later at the age of 15, George was behind the counter, helping customers and making sales. By 23, the devoted foodie decided to open his own restaurant, bringing The Brooklyn Warehouse to life, and fast success.
And maintaining a balance of both family and work is important to this new business owner.
“It is so easy to get swept up in the day to day stuff, to do 16 to 20 hour days. It’s easy to lose site of social relationships with loved ones, with friends,” George warns, remembering long days and nights when the restaurant was just getting started. “Take the time to relax and to do things for yourself. Just the simple of reading – it does wonders for a person’s well being. And if you don’t maintain that, if you just strictly focus on work like a drone, it’s all going to suffer. You’ll be less happy with yourself, and business will suffer because you’re not operating at your best. It’s hard to do, but it’s necessary, because the demands of a business are unbelievable at times.”
George adds that a good balance of small and large business is also something key for communities across Canada, saying that combination is what creates a stronger economy, and a rich neighbourhood with more community development. He says too much concentration on bringing big business is to the detriment of city life.
“Cities need to make sure they have more small business. You need to be able to walk down a street, and see all these great little shops and cafes. Too much business is being exported out to business parks, where you need to drive your car, and its all super stores, and giant box stores – that is taking away the ability for your friend, or cousin or acquaintance to open up a little shop. There needs to be more to promote the neighbourhood aspect, and that’s what I’m trying to do with my restaurant.”