Hassel Aviles

Founder, Toronto Underground Market (TUM)

Topics: Business, Entrepreneurship
Interview Date: January-15-2013
Extraordinary Insights: "Face your fears. Being scared is not a good enough reason to not do something."

Audio-only version:

Hassel is the founder of the Toronto Underground Market (TUM). TUM was created to promote budding food entrepreneurs & Toronto home cooks. It is the first & only social food market of its kind in Canada and has evolved into an event-oriented food incubator.

The birth of TUM was inspired by the SF Underground Market but was customized for Toronto by working with a lawyer & Toronto Public Health. Hassel was motivated to create a platform for people who wanted to start a food business but didn't have the capital, resources or experience required to do so in a traditional manner. This became a personal issue after watching her husband, Andrew Richmond, dream of opening a restaurant. After many pop-ups & being a vendor at TUM for 6 months, Andrew was able to quit his day job & open La Carnita. TUM has also helped many others pursue their food dreams.

Before TUM, Hassel was a stay-at-home mother to her two daughters. She has 5 years experience doing online marketing for small businesses and studied in the Hospitality & Tourism program at Ryerson University.

Prior to that, Hassel was a server for over 8 years at some of Toronto’s most reputable establishments including Il Fornello, Boulevard Café, Rodney’s Oyster house and Jamie Kennedy’s restaurants.