Harley G’s rallies group assist to avoid wasting arcade, tattoo parlor at south Oshawa retailer
A business owner who says he’s trying to clean up a struggling area of south Oshawa and give kids a safe place to hang out is looking for community support.
Harley Guindon is the owner of Harley G’s, a local clothing business launched in 2017. He recently moved the store to a new location at 433 Simcoe St. S., renovating the space previously occupied by the Corral.
In addition to a clothing store, the space houses a tattoo parlor and an arcade space with about 35 games available to play for free. Guindon says the arcade was added to give kids a safe place to be. “I look at it as, it’s keeping them out of trouble,” Guindon says. “The kids love it.”
He says the City of Oshawa has directed him to stop operating the arcade and tattoo spaces because they don’t meet zoning requirements under the PSC-A “planned strip commercial zone” designation.
Guindon estimates it will cost upwards of $9,000 to go through the re-zoning process, without any guarantee of approval — he says having community support behind him “could make a big difference” in the success of his application.
The City of Oshawa declined to comment except to say “at this time, the business does not comply with the permitted zoning that is outlined in the city’s Official Plan. The business or property owner may apply for re-zoning at which time it would be included for consideration at a future Planning Act public meeting.”
The Simcoe Street South corridor where Harley G’s is located is in need of investment and redevelopment. The Oshawa Markets, which opened in October 2021 at 555 Simcoe St. S., “was the first step in many steps in regards to the revitalization of the area,” according to Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter.
Oshawa City and Regional Councilor Brian Nicholson represents Ward 5 in south Oshawa and says “negative activity” in the area has dropped dramatically since the new Harley G’s location opened.
“Since they moved to the new space, I’ve found their operation to be like a shot in the arm for the neighborhood,” Nicholson says. “Any new investment we can have along the south Simcoe corridor is important — the key to that corridor is bringing in businesses and having people there on a daily basis.”
Community members are also voicing their support: a petition to save the arcade and tattoo portions of Harley G’s had about 1,800 signatures as of June 11. “Harley’s is a safe community location for hundreds of at risk youth,” one supporter noted. “This new venture at the long derelict Corral is an asset for many. Please approve the necessary zoning variants to allow the viability of this place to gather, play and support the community,” another said.
Since starting his business, Guindon says he has made it his mission to give back to the community. His efforts include donating more than 165,000 adult diapers to senior’s homes, organizing yearly food and toy drives for Simcoe Hall Settlement House, hosting a Saving Simcoe benefit to repair the roof at the Oshawa Legion and recently collecting more than $5,000 in donations to help victims of a house fire.
“We’re not just a clothing store. We give back. I’m trying to do better for my community,” Guindon says. “Usually we’re helping the community, now we’re asking the community to help us.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help cover re-zoning costs and a Save Harley G’s event is planned for June 18 from 11 am to 7 pm at the store.
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