ALNOOR LADHANI MEANS BUSINESS
How does a Toronto-based chiropodist come to operate a five-business multi-plex in downtown Belleville? According to Alnoor (Al) Ladhani, the answer is simple: it’s in his blood.
“My parents were always in business,” chuckles Ladhani, whose family originally hails from Uganda. “They did some factory work when they first came here, but after a while they went back into business because they like to be independent.”
At first, Ladhani’s plans in the Bay of Quinte area simply involved finding a country home. He flirted with working in his field part-time here, but soon that idea morphed into something bigger: why not open a foot care clinic similar to the one he still owns and operates in Toronto?
Once Ladhani found the perfect space at 116 Pinnacle, the renovations began and his business dreams continued to grow. Catering to a range of clients, from runners to diabetics with specialized foot care needs, Step by Step Orthotic Mobility and Gait Centre and its sister shoe store business, Sole Solutions, opened up in 2018.
Ladhani excitedly extols the virtues of some of the cutting edge technological innovations Step by Step employs, including laser treatment for nail fungus and digital insoles to aid in biometric gait analysis. But why stop at feet?
ONE BUSINESS LEADS TO ANOTHER
“It’s a two-storey building,” laughs Ladhani. “I found myself looking around and thinking: what are we going to do with all of this space?” Renovating to add on Yoga at 116, Envy Spa and The Smokin’ 116 Bistro made perfect sense to the chiropodist/businessman. He describes each operation with the affection of a father talking about well-loved children. Though Ladhani might be the first to agree parents shouldn’t have favourites, he speaks with particular enthusiasm about the restaurant.
“I like to eat,” he admits good-naturedly, explaining the idea of installing a dining
establishment in the new business space stemmed partly from the fact the building already contained some kitchen facilities. And though Ladhani boasts absolutely zero previous experience in the restaurant industry, the place soon started to build up a steady following.
Perhaps they come for the BBQ menu mainstays or maybe patrons enjoy the eatery’s latest evolution as a local entertainment hub. With frequent open mic events, live music, karaoke and DJ nights, the bistro offers up a little something for everyone. Recent renovations even include permanent plexiglass barriers for the stage to protect customers in the Covid era.
Ladhani’s business acumen easily explains much of what lies behind his success. But 116 Pinnacle’s growing popularity amongst community folk might also have something to do with the quiet volunteer work he and his staff regularly perform on the side. Every Sunday Ladhani and associates help out with Not Alone Team Quinte, cooking and delivering meals to the area’s less fortunate.
Whatever else might be happening at 116 Pinnacle, it’s clear Ladhani likes to give back. The big dreams of a chiropodist/businessman happy to have landed in the Bay of Quinte area go way beyond business.
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