Welcome to Garage Startups

Some of the greatest businesses in the world today were started from dedicated founders, in their Garages.

With Innisifl’s new “Garage Startup Policy”, we are allowing residents to create their own successful businesses in their own garages.

Who knows, maybe the next Steve Jobs is right here in Innisfil.

What Exactly is Garage Startups?

The Town of Innisfil’s “garage startups” program is an expansion to our home-based business bylaw for office use only, allowing homeowners and lessees to expand the number of people working out of the home. 

The bylaw allows any of the home’s occupants to be involved in the business, as well as up to four employees that live elsewhere, up from one. All activities must take place within the home (no outside storage, for example) and must follow all existing town regulations for noise, parking, and signage. 

For example, in areas around schools, or Innisfil Beach Park, home-based businesses must not park in any restricted areas. This may mean that some areas of the Town are more suitable for these office-type businesses than others. 

The majority of office-type business activities take place during the day, when Innisfil’s neighbourhoods are largely empty, minimizing the impact on homeowners and residents. 

Why Did We Propose The New Garage Startups Policy?

Innisfil’s current lack of affordable commercial space can make it very difficult for local entrepreneurs to start new business ventures in our Town.

It can also be very risky to sign a five to ten-year lease when the business is unproven in the market, or just getting started.

By expanding the home-based business bylaw, it allows these entrepreneurs to use the personal space they’re already paying for to develop Innisfil’s economy, create well-paying, local jobs, and reduce the need for expensive leases.

10 of the Best Garage Startups

Amazon

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in 1994 as an online bookstore. At the time, it was completely run out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington.

He sold his first book in July 1995 and issued his IPO two years later in 1997.

Today it’s the world’s largest online retailer.

Address: 10704 NE 28th, Bellevue, Washington

Apple

In 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, ages 21 and 26 respectively, started Apple Computers by selling 50 units of Wozniak’s Apple I Computer at $500 apiece to a local retailer. Jobs took the purchase order to a parts distributor and ordered the parts. “The Steves” and their small team hand-built 50 computers in 30 days from a garage in Cupertino, CA.

Today, Apple is the most valuable technology company in the world.

Address: 2066 Crist Dr, Los Altos, California

Disney

About 45 minutes down the road from Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA, there’s a house in Los Angeles where The Walt Disney Company got its start.

In 1923, the house belonged to Walt Disney’s uncle, Robert Disney. Walt and his brother Roy moved in with their uncle and set up “The First Disney Studio” in the one-car garage out back. There they started filming the Alice Comedies which was part of the original Alice’s Wonderland.

Today, Disney is the highest-grossing media conglomerate in the world.

Address: 4651 Kingswell Ave, Los Angeles, California

Google

As Stanford Graduate students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin started what’s now known as Google from Susan Wojcicki’s garage in September 1998.

Soon the project was interfering with their schoolwork, so they tried to sell it to Excite for $1 million. Excite rejected the offer and now Google is the most trafficked site in the world.

Address: 232 Santa Margarita Ave, Menlo Park, California

Harley Davidson

In 1901, 21-year-old William S. Harley drew up plans to create a small engine to power a bicycle.

Over the next two years, Harley and his childhood friend, Arthur Davidson, built their motor-bicycle out of their friend’s 10 by 15-foot wooden shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was the equivalent of a garage because they didn’t have cars.

They officially founded Harley-Davidson in 1903 and today it’s the most well-known motorcycle brand in the world.

Address: Somewhere in northern Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Hewlett-Packard

In 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP in Packard’s garage with an initial investment of $538.

Their first product was an audio oscillator and one of their first customers was Walt Disney, who purchased eight oscillators to develop the sound system for the movie Fantasia.

The HP Garage in Palo Alto is known as the birthplace of Silicon Valley and HP is now one of the largest companies in the world.

Address: 367 Addison Ave, Palo Alto, California

Lotus Cars

In 1948, at the age of 20, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman started Lotus Cars by building the first Lotus racing car in stables behind The Railway Hotel in Hornsey, North London. Chapman used a 1930s Austin Seven and a power drill to build the Lotus Mark I.

Today Lotus Cars is one of the premier racing car manufacturers in the world.

Address: 472 Hornsey Rd, London N19 4EF, United Kingdom

Maglite

In 1950, Tony Maglica moved from his war-torn home of Croatia back to America. Knowing very little English, he settled in Los Angeles and took jobs wherever he could find them.

In 1955, after saving $125, Tony put a down-payment on his first lathe. Then he started working out of a Los Angeles area garage to manufacture precision parts. He incorporated Mag Instrument in 1974 and released their first flashlight in 1979.

Today, Maglite is the standard issue flashlight for all police officers in the US.

Address: Somewhere in Los Angeles, California

Mattel

Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler founded Mattel out of a garage in Southern California as picture frame company in 1945. To get the most out of their materials, they started using picture frame scrapes to create dollhouses.

Soon their dollhouses were selling better than their picture frames so they turned their emphasis to toys.

Today Mattel, Inc. is the highest-grossing toy company in the world.

Address: Somewhere in Southern California

Yankee Candle Company

In 1969, at 16 years old, Michael Kittredge made his scented candle in his garage out of melted crayons as a gift for his mother. The neighbors took notice and expressed interest in buying Kittredge’s candles, so he started mass-producing them.

Four years later, Kittredge outgrew the garage so he moved the Yankee Candle Company to an old mill in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Today it’s the largest manufacturer of scented candles in the US.

Address: Somewhere in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

The Official Garage Startup Policy

If you’re curious about what the actual policy says, you can check that out here.

Contact Us

Looking for more info on Garage Startups, or any other Economic Development releated questions? Send us an email and we’ll get back to you.