Vanier in Ottawa’s east end is often treated as the city’s poorer brother, at least when compared to the region’s more affluent west side.
When two local entrepreneurs looked at Vanier, however, they saw an upcoming neighbourhood filled with business opportunities, as well as the perfect location for founding a new company.
The result was Zuffa Home, a local online furniture store headquartered in east Ottawa that recently opened for business.
“We know that there will be a lot of development in the next five years, so we wanted to get on the ground before things took off (in Vanier),” says Elie Nassif, who co-founded Zuffa Home with his brother. “So many buildings have been bought up that will be demolished to build offices and condos.”
Specializing in high quality home and office furnishings, including rugs, lamps, chairs, sofas and paintings, the company sources most of its merchandise from Italy.
“We go to Milan every year for a furniture fair,” explains Nassif. “Most (of our products) come from Italy.”
This experience with the furniture industry dates back to Nassif’s work as a wholesaler, when he operated a warehouse space and sold furniture in bulk to retailers.
After analysing business opportunities with his brother, however, the two came up with the idea of founding their own online retail store.
While the majority of their customers are based in Ottawa, they do have clients in Montreal and as far away as Vancouver. They also have ambitions to expand in the future, as shown by their desire to work with interested business partners about franchise opportunities.
As for interested customers, Nassif says that the company’s warehouse is well stocked, which allows them to delivery products quickly without having to wait for shipments from Europe. They also try to serve a wide range of customers.
“Our customers range from low income to crazy high income,” says Nassif.
So if you are in the market for a leather sofa, or perhaps a lamp for your den, you now have a local online option that is not the ever-ubiquitous IKEA.