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Faces of Montreal | a family man

From his office, a storage room located in the middle of his business, Jimmy Zoubris can see all the customers going to the register. They are usually regulars. Loyal customers who come to buy school or office supplies, make photocopies, print documents. Or just say hello.

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“I like to see who’s coming and talk to customers,” he says. This contact is important for small stores. »

Virtually all of my children’s backpacks, notebooks, pencils, calculators have been purchased since the beginning of primary school at Papeterie & Photocopie Zoubris, which offers a school supply list service with personalized labels.

When I moved to Mile-End 30 years ago, Zoubris had just moved into its current premises, on Parc Avenue, between Bernard and Saint-Viateur. He had been since 1982 in some directions to the north.

The small family business celebrated its 40th anniversary in August. His founder, Jimmy’s father, Evangelos Zoubris, maintains his own office in the same cramped spaces as his son, though he no longer handles day-to-day business. “He comes three or four times a week, he goes to the bank, he meets his friends,” Jimmy explains.

It was in the 1950s that Evangelos Zoubris immigrated to Montreal from Greece. There he met his wife, also from Greece, in the neighborhood. “It used to be more of a Greek neighborhood,” recalls Jimmy Zoubris, whose uncle had had a photography studio on Park Avenue since the early 1970s.


jimmy zoubris

Venerable businesses such as the Nouveau Falero fishmonger, the Milos restaurant or the PA supermarket have stood the test of time. Papeterie & Photocopie Zoubris has become, like them, a Mile-End must, in the same way as St-Viateur and Fairmount Bagel, the Cheskie bakery, the Rialto theatre, the Olimpico café or the Social Club.

In his list of the “51 most Cold of the planet”, published last week, Time is over ranked Mile-End fifth… by mentioning the business that Jimmy Zoubris runs with his sister Demetra. A stationery on a fashion business list is quite rare.

We never thought that we were a must in the neighborhood, but it is true that there are many people who call us for advice on what to do in Mile-End. We have become a center of Accès-Montréal!

Jimmy Zoubris, owner of Papeterie & Photocopie Zoubris

Jimmy Zoubris’s personality has a lot to do with it. His calm and reassuring presence, his good nature and his values ​​have made him a popular character, not only in the Mile-End, but in Montreal in general. He can be heard every week on CJAD radio and for the last five years he has acted as a special adviser to Mayor Valérie Plante.

“I deal a lot with cultural communities, business partners, who don’t know where or who to turn to. I try to help them,” says Mr. Zoubris, who studied political science at UQAM and was vice president of Projet Montréal for six years, at the time of Richard Bergeron.


The store offers school and office supplies.

Jimmy Zoubris, 58, grew up in the Parc-Extension district, also very Greek at the time, then in Laval. But he always kept in touch with Mile-End, which he saw evolve from a neighborhood of Greek, Italian and Eastern European Jewish immigrants to a place popular with artists, students and others. nonconformist.

He played soccer in the neighborhood with the team of the Juventud Sol organization and started working in his father’s business as soon as it opened in 1982. “Between classes, he made deliveries, he came to the store. My two sisters and I used to work there. Then when my dad decided to slow down, my sister and I took over. »

He did not plan to take over the family business at first. “I was involved in politics from a very young age,” he says. But I felt that he had certain obligations to the family. I love the family business. I like contact with customers. I like to be in the neighborhood and have my coffee in the morning at Parc or Saint-Viateur. »


Business customers come back and come back again…

It maintains this privileged bond with the people of the neighbourhood. As a service to his many Hasidic Jewish clients, he provided them with computers that enabled them to consult the Internet and print documents. When he had to be urgently hospitalized for COVID-19 a year and a half ago, his GP was one of his clients.

Do you sometimes fear for the survival of your local business, with competition from Bureau en gros and Dollarama? “When the Jean Coutu next door opened, everyone said we were going to close. Then there was a Dollarama and we were told the same thing. Our business model is different. We sell better quality products, such as high-end Clairefontaine notebooks, and offer personalized service. »

Some clients, he says, no longer live in the neighborhood, but return every year to buy an agenda or school supplies. “We have second and even third generation clients. Your kids are coming to buy their supplies without you now! she points out to me, laughing.

One day, perhaps your own children will do the same.

#Faces #Montreal #family #man

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