“After working most of his life inside an office as a graphic designer, Luiz Freitas fulfilled his dream at 40: to open a beautiful store where every day he could meet and talk with real people, share his enthusiasm for beautiful things, and help people find something special to decorate their homes with, or give as a gift. His retail store, Gongton, opened July 12, 2012, celebrates its first year in business this summer.
Born in Brazil, Luiz (pronounced “lou-ize”) has been in Canada almost four years. From the time he arrived, he’s been sharing his warm, South American friendliness and energy. After being in business a year, he’s formed many friendships with customers, “They drop by just to say hello, have a coffee, talk with me,” he says. “Even visit my dog, Memphis.” “Like most people,” Luiz explains, “We were tired of looking around for affordable decorations that would make our “home sweet home” have a taste of class, elegance and intrigue. We wanted to make a home we enjoyed going back to and one we were proud to show our family, friends and guests.”
So Luiz searched the world for home accents that would do just that, plus more so that visitors to the store on Queen Street can find such affordable treasures. The store has something for everyone, even children. Prices range from under a dollar to $200-$300 for a larger piece of art. It’s the perfect place to find a gift for someone else, or yourself! “Many times a day,” says Luiz, “Customers come into the store and tell me how beautiful everything is. The other day, someone even compared us to an art gallery!”
The whole idea of the store is to sell unique pieces that you won’t see anywhere else. If you see something you like, it’s probably a one-of-a-kind and not seen it elsewhere. One of the store’s features is its changing window display, this past summer decorated for the Beaches Jazz festival. Luiz’ window displays have been so effective that after last Halloween, most of the items displayed were sold out by the 31st!
“I always get such a nice response,” he adds, “Theis neighbourhood has embraced me.” In return, Luiz supports many local charities, including 350 stuffed bears for a CHUM fundraiser. “We are pleased that we have touched peoples lives and have assisted in redesigning their lifestyle,” says Luiz, “Come by and talk with me anytime!”
2116-C Queen St. E., 647-351-0883