WE’VE HAD THE TIME OF OUR LIVES
Dearest Friends of Aziz,
It is after a great deal of serious consideration, many months of meditation, and with profound sadness that I must inform you that I will be closing Aziz&Company later this year.
As most of you already know, this little family business was started on a feminist principle of my mother’s and began with the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of both my parents. After my father passed away, 19 years ago today, this shop kept going because of my older sister Jasmine’s hard work, dedication and sacrifice. It was on the shoulders of these giants that I took over all operations and ownership of the shop some four years ago and I have loved every minute of it (ok, almost every minute). It has demanded of me hard work, dedication and sacrifice, but it has given back to me a thousand fold more than it has required.
This June my mother, Mrs. Aziz, will turn 70 and that will be a milestone we'll mark with tremendous joy. And as is often the case with upcoming milestones, this one inspired the past few months to be a time of great reflection, happy nostalgia and reminiscences. It’s impossible to say exactly how much my mother means to me, but I probably don’t have to because I know she means so much to so many of you who have been coming to Aziz&Company for years and years, and in so many cases, even decades.
My every happiness and every success has come from her sacrificing opportunities and experiences for me. Her 49 years of hard work, from when she was just a teenager ‘til she was a senior, has been the rock solid foundation from which I’ve had the ability to come and go from Ottawa, to get an education in the Fine Arts, to travel all over the world.
So now, as much as it is heartbreaking in countless ways, I’m completely certain it is time for me, to take the time, to make it her turn.
It is time for me to spend more time with my brilliant, beautiful, amazing, crazy, hilarious, nurturing, baseball-loving, adorable mother. And if you were me, you would want the same thing too ;)
I would do the work of keeping the shop open forever if I could because I love it. I love sharing the colour, craft and consciousness of my Indian heritage. I love serving, what I know for a fact to be, the absolute BEST customers, neighbours and friends any business has ever had. I love curating a business on feminist, and socially and environmentally responsible principles. I love that every single day at Aziz&Company is new chance to make a new friend, have a great conversation, enjoy the thrill of talking with Ottawans, and especially Centretowners, who also love their downtown and care about their communities and society. I love that this shop made me one friend who eventually became my husband who now, almost 18 years later, is not only my best friend but also my cheapest employee (he gets paid in soap). I love my team of hardworking, utterly amazing staff that have helped me not just run the shop but make it better, and who have indisputably made me better with their creativity, intelligence and love. I love being able to work in the place where I literally grew up. I love a zillion more things about Aziz&Company, from her creaky floors to her antique counters.
But I love my mother more.
And so I hope you will join me and the rest of Team Aziz for what I hope will be a truly wonderful “goodbye tour.” Thanks to the incredible kindness and generosity of our landlord, we will have our final day on October 1st - the 53rd anniversary of our very first day. We have five months to mark five decades and we expect to stop many, MANY times along the way to remember, drink some chai, eat some sweets, and celebrate the end of this iteration of Aziz&Company Handicrafts Limited at 365 Bank Street.
I sincerely hope every one of you who want to come “say goodbye” will come to the shop or visit us online at azizandcompany.com to sign the guest books I will have in both places for your memories and your stories because the entire Aziz family has loved how generous you’ve been in sharing them with us over this over half century adventure.
We’ve got some time. Let’s make the most of it.
With heartfelt love and appreciation,