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Fewer things are better for a business than a celebrity endorsement. Sometimes, places that do awesome work and provide great customer service get passed over because there aren’t enough eyes on them.

Which is why it’s always great when someone with some clout stops by that particular place of business that’s doing a great job to help get some eyes on it and let the locals know that it’s there.

For Joelle Murray, her campaign to summon Ryan Gosling may have been an attempt to help other people know about her and other businesses in Toronto’s East End — or it could be that she’s just a huge fan of the Nice Guys actor.

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Either way, she launched a hilarious effort to try and get Ryan in her shop and snap a photo with him. At first, she had to settle for this excellent cardboard cutout of him enjoying a cup of brew.

Now, if I may, some celebrities seem to “go” with some foods and products more than others. Gary Busey and meatball subs. Clint Eastwood and cigarillos. Jeff Goldblum and sausages.

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There’s something about Ryan Gosling that suggests he not only enjoys a good bowl of cereal (after depriving himself of it, of course), but he looks good holding a cup of joe, like it belongs in his hands.

Something that Joelle must’ve thought when she started all of the get-Gosling-here business at her coffee shop. After discovering he was in town for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), she started canvassing hardcore online to get the actor to stop by for a drink.

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She even tagged him on Twitter, sharing photos of the cutout that was temporarily taking his place until he finally showed up. Joelle also tried getting the #ryanneedsgrinder hashtag trending on Twitter.

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Now, it might be easy to just write this off as a business’ shameless attempt to cash in on a celebrity’s persona, but their funny campaign was enough to get the attention of Toronto’s mayor, John Tory, who decided to stop by and get a photo with the life-size “temp Gosling,” along with lots of coverage from local and national news outlets.

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He seemed to get a kick out of Joelle’s enthusiasm for bringing the actor to her shop, as did a bunch of other people who stopped by and snapped photos of themselves hanging out with Gosling’s cutout.

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Last year, when Joelle heard that Idris Elba was in the town, she tried getting the English actor to stop by her shop as well — he didn’t. Maybe the fact that she didn’t want to go 0/2 for getting attractive and talented actors into her Grinder location is what helped her persist.

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And persist she did. Her enthusiasm for getting the Place Beyond the Pines actor to visit started trending on Twitter, with other users offering their support and updates on Gosling’s itinerary in the city.

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Joelle then played what I think was her smartest move in this whole business: She dropped the name of Gosling’s upcoming film, First Man, where he plays Neil Armstrong

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She also politely reminded the London, Canada native where her coffee shop was located, in case he forgot in all the kerfuffle of press junkets and going from interview to interview at TIFF.

It’s hard to imagine she didn’t get bonus points for actually bringing the Gosling cardboard cutout with her to really drive her point home. “This could be us, but you playing, Ryan.”

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And wouldn’t you know it? All of the persistence, the memes, the tags on Twitter, it all finally culminated in Ryan visiting Joelle at the Grinder location and snapping a photograph with her.

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It just goes to show that dreams do come true, people. I don’t know what my favorite part about this tweet is though: the adorable photo? Or the fact that Joelle calls him a “well brought-up Canadian boy”? Maybe it’s the slight dig at Idris Elba at the end. There’s just too much to love here.

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Joelle’s nephew hopped on Twitter after her successful campaign and explained why it was such a big deal for her and their family, as natives of the town, that Gosling stopped by.

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It turns out that Joelle’s been through the ringer in the past three years and a visit from the star meant not just a huge boost for her business, but a huge boost for her on a personal level, as well.

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The fact that the campaign seemed “doomed to fail” from the beginning, especially because it didn’t work with Idris a year prior, is why it was so incredibly satisfying for Joelle when it actually took off.

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It was a huge victory for the family’s “cool aunt” who desperately needed a win in a time in her life when a lot of things were going wrong. But her persistence and fight for going after something positive helped to transition that.

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Her nephew admits that, on paper, it seems kind of “crazy” that someone meeting a famous person is something to be proud of, but the context behind this particular incident makes him feel like it’s totally warranted.

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Isn’t it always great whenever the little guy has a success story? I also am going to monitor this story very closely to see if Ryan ever does take up her offer on that playdate. I also ask that I be invited to that playdate as well.


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