Small Business Advisory Centre (Smiths Falls/Lanark County)
PLEASE SEE COVID 19 BUSINESS RESOURCES (under resources)
Are you thinking about starting a small business, need help with questions on your existing business? Are you starting a business in the Lanark, Smiths Falls, Perth, Carleton Place, Mississippi Mills area? If so, the SBAC is here to support you, the entrepreneur! Getting a small business started or growing it, can be very challenging, but can also be very rewarding.
Our office provides confidential business advisory services to small business start-ups, as well as on-going support for existing small businesses. The Small Business Advisory Centre is a business information source designed to point entrepreneurs in the right direction whether they are just starting out or growing their business.
Economic Recovery Network Website!
SEPTEMBER- FEATURED BUSINESS
THE PIE BAR
This month’s feature business is The Pie Bar, a small batch bakery located in the charming village of Westport, Ontario. The Pie Bar bakery is owned and operated by Stacy Blair, a Structural Engineer by trade, who reluctantly slipped into the world of baking during her maternity leave in 2013 in order to provide tasty snacks to her hungry husband. Ms. Blair’s husband had worked in a bakery during his youth and was happy to teach her traditional techniques and recipes. Throughout the learning process, Blair fell in love with the process of baking and soon started a blog and Instagram page which amassed a large following.
The Pie Bar business started organically over the years as Blair started bringing her baked goods to local farmers’ markets. In 2019, after many years of trial and error, the business proved to be sustainable, so Blair decided to take leave from her engineering career to pursue her newfound passion. By 2020, Blair and The Pie Bar were successfully providing pre-orders and ready-to-go baked goods to surrounding communities. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the business continued to rally support much to the surprise of Blair and her family. Customers understandably desired access to ready-to-go, delicious, and beautifully crafted comfort foods and The Pie Bar filled that slice of the market.
Stacy Blair was a successful participant and grant recipient of the Starter Company Plus Program organized by the Small Business Advisory Centre of Lanark County/Smiths Falls. Blair found the program beneficial in that she was better able to see the vision of the business and make more strategic decisions, especially regarding finances. When asked what her advice would be for other entrepreneurs, Blair stated:
“If you aren’t happy at your 9 – 5 job, take the leap and jump into small business and make a life worth living. Follow your dreams, take a chance and see where it will bring you.”
The Pie Bar can be found on Instagram at the_pie_bar and on Facebook @ThePieBarCanada. You can also contact Stacy Blair directly on the business phone (613) 453-2647 or email email@example.com.
The Arts Hub – Smiths Falls
This month’s Featured Business is The Arts Hub, located in Smiths Falls, ON. The Arts Hub is the collaborative creation of Ambre McLean and Matt Connell with Rosalyn Dennett and Rob McLaren, two couples who had the desire to unite the Arts Community and showcase the seemingly under-represented musical and artistic talent local to Smiths Falls. The business provides a collective workspace for artists to develop and display their passions, including music/vocal rooms for private/group lessons, a recording/sound studio, an art gallery, and a boutique gift shop.
Owner Ambre McLean explains that the formation of the business was serendipitous in nature in that the couples moved to Smiths Falls at approximately the same time and connected online soon after relocating. Ambre and Rosalyn, who are both professional touring musicians, had crossed paths throughout their careers at national and international music festivals and conferences. Further, while developing the idea for The Arts Hub, the group stumbled across an available commercial building (14 Main Street W) that had the exact requirements needed for the proposed multi-function workspaces, including an existing storefront design and name from previous business “Serendipity Lane”. The group knew the beautiful storefront, with its gorgeous showcase windows, would allow for the display and sale of numerous makers and artists found locally, an essential component to the business plan.
The business’s success to date has been made possible through the symbiotic integration of several independent businesses that share the workspace, blending complementary skills and expertise within a variety of industries. The businesses, which are represented by members of the ownership team, includes Smiths Falls Music (private and group music/vocal lessons and workshops), Northwood Studios (an independent record label geared toward Canadian singer/songwriters), and Stump Media (a female-owned, Canadian-based label focusing on artist management and promotion).
Ambre McLean was a successful participant and grant recipient of the Starter Company Plus Program organized by the Small Business Advisory Centre of Lanark County/Smiths Falls. Through the program, McLean was able to learn how to structure the business, develop a business plan, and develop key networking relationships with other entrepreneurs within the group, many of whom have remained close and supportive since the end of the program. McLean valued the group’s input which gave her clarity and validation about the unique yet wholly similar challenges each entrepreneur experiences. When asked about what advice McLean would give to other entrepreneurs starting out, she said:
“Limit what expectations you may have and try to gain a realization of what can be accomplished. Have patience and try to be content with what resources you have available at any given time.”
Upon opening, The Arts Hub was received positively by both vendors and customers alike, with support being expressed through the increase of foot traffic driven primarily by word-of-mouth. McLean graciously acknowledged the support of the Smiths Falls Downtown Business Association (DBA), the Smiths Falls Chamber of Commerce, and the Town of Smiths Falls, including Mayor Shawn Pankow. McLean thanked her customers, students and their families, and vendors who have continued to support the business with understanding and compassion while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many businesses, The Arts Hub collective team has not been unaffected by the pandemic and has been required to challenge themselves to meet each hurdle. McLean admits that some benefits may have come from the initial shut-down (and subsequently reduced foot traffic) which allowed the team to work out small kinks and regroup/restructure to allow for the development of creative and inspiring new ways to run the business online. Happily, over 90% of registered students continued learning throughout the pandemic through the online program.
The Arts Hub will be continuing workshops, exhibitions, and programs throughout the fall which cater to all kinds of music and art enthusiasts/makers/creators. For more details about The Arts Hub and to sign up for their newsletter, please visit the website at www.theartshubsf.com/
The Greene Mill – Almonte
The Greene Mill, this month’s Featured Business, is a catering business and food truck located in the town of Almonte, ON.
The Greene Mill is owned and operated by Jacob Greene, a Red Seal certified graduate from Algonquin College. Greene, who has over 20 years experience in the food industry, discovered a passion for entrepreneurship and took the leap from “corporate” Ottawa and moved his home and fledgling business idea to the “friendliest town” – Almonte, ON.
“I wouldn’t want to start my business anywhere else. This is the biggest reason why the business has been so successful is I chose the right place. Almonte and Lanark County is so supportive. Everything is so “word of mouth” that I didn’t have to do any marketing or heavy advertising, the town did it for me!”
Throughout his career, Greene has learned the importance of giving back to his community and as an avid volunteer, believes that small efforts made by individuals can help communities in immeasurable ways. Likewise, Greene credits much of his business success to the abundance of resource centres located in Lanark County, including the Small Business Advisory Centre.
“We are extremely fortunate to have all these programs and services available. Sometimes a little research and applying to programs really pays off. There is always something out there, you just have to look for it.”
Greene was a successful finalist in the Starter Company Plus program, a business training and funding program for start-up businesses within the province. Greene’s favourite part about the program was the networking potential. He has gained many helpful contacts throughout the program to call upon for help and advice.
When asked what his biggest opportunity has been to date, Greene tells a tale of a reciprocated recommendation that landed him a spot at the 2018 Tweed Shindig festival cooking for none-other than American rapper/singer/songwriter, Snoop Dogg.
352 Ottawa St, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0
Queen Bee Millinery is a one of a kind millinery and boutique located in the center of the historic Heritage Downtown of Perth, Ontario.
After decades of developing a love for hats and formal wear by attending military ceremonial events, garden parties and formal evening dinners with her spouse, Ranelle Larocque, the owner and milliner of Queen Bee Millinery, turned her passion into a creative fashion business in 2019. Starting out as an online business, she has filled orders from around the world and has specialized in providing the perfect accessory from her ever changing inventory of one-of-a-kind designs or by creating bespoke wearable art for customized orders. Hats and fascinators designed and hand made by Ranelle have been worn at events such as the Queen’s Birthday Garden Party in London, UK, the Royal Ascot, the Kentucky Derby, and at countless Canadian and international military ceremonial events around the world.
Ranelle has been a fashion enthusiast from a very young age, when she designed and wore her own clothing, using the old Singer sewing machine that her grandfather showed her how to operate. Having lived all across Canada as well as spending several years in the Netherlands and Italy, she has developed an approach to fashion that is unique, classic, and nested in the European fashion history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By contemporizing styles of the past to adapt to the unique style of potential clients, she has crafted products that have inspired beauty, boldness and self-confidence in those who have worn her art.
Switching from online to a storefront boutique at 16 Gore St East in Perth, Ontario, Ranelle was ready to open the doors just as the first lockdowns were put into place in March of 2020. Despite this potential setback, Ranelle dedicated her time to hone her craft, and to connect with her new found community of local business owners. Through these connections, she has seen a resiliency in the local business retail sector that is and continues to be inspiring. Every day she feels the love and support from the community and from organizations like the Small Business Advisory Centre, whose encouragement and personal attention during this crisis has been invaluable.
As we all wait patiently for things to open up again, Ranelle is busy connecting with customers online and is operating within the guidelines to offer curbside service until the health protection measures change. You can follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/QueenBeeMillinery) or Instagram (instagram.com/queenbeemillinery) and she will be launching her website soon at www.queenbeemillinery.ca, where you will be able see all of her creations, learn more about the art of millinery and shop online for the perfect hat for your next special occasion.
She stated: “If it wasn’t for the Centre and the things she learned in Starter Company Program she doesn’t know if she would have been strong enough to get through this first year especially in the midst of a pandemic. These government programs are absolutely vital, greatly appreciated and so important to the small business community.”
Ranelle is full of hope and optimism as she looks to the future and is looking forward to once again welcoming everyone back to Queen Bee Millinery.
Queen Bee Millinery
16 Gore St. East
Perth, ON K7H 1H5
North Folk Cafe is a Canadian cafe and Artisan gift market in a heritage town of Perth, ON. North Folk Cafe offers the largest variety of Artizen Kombucha on tap and in bottles, locally roasted espresso and a seasonally inspired food & beverage menu (including Mio Gelato).
Dasha Smolentseva is the co-founder of Artizen Kombucha since 2012. Covid presented unique challenges and disrupted usual supply chains for Artizen Kombucha in March 2020. Dasha saw an opportunity in uniting with other local artisan makers, combining these offers into Bubbles & Bites boxes and delivering them to Ottawa & surrounding areas. This move saved Artizen.
Kombucha, brought beloved products from rural area directly to customers in urban areas and even saw an increase in overall revenue.
Furthermore, right in the heat of the pandemic in July 2020 Dasha took over a cafe that closed in downtown Perth during that time and gave it a new life, letting it become the retail
front for Artizen Kombucha, as well as all the local products included in Bubbles & Bites Boxes.
The time of change has brought challenges and opportunities, but being rooted and connected to your community of customers, as well as being determined and not giving up has been the success story behind Artizen Kombucha & North Folk Cafe.
Winner of the Breakthrough award 2020- Perth and District Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Advisory Centre (Smiths Falls/Lanark County/north Leeds Grenville) provided invaluable support and access to mentors, free advice with professionals such as lawyers and a branding consultant, Loved being part of the Starter Company Plus Program, without this support, we would have felt lost and it gave us much confidence in moving forward with our business, pivoting and looking at ways we can do things better!
Cashmere and Rose, this month’s Featured Business, is a gift and floral boutique located in the charming town of Almonte, ON. The store offers a variety of unique gifts and creates classic floral designs that add “purpose and grace for you and your space”. Owned and operated by Angie Goodfellow, Cashmere and Rose evolved from a previously operational giftware business called Keepsakes, which was purchased by Goodfellow in 2017. The business has been re-branded to reflect Goodfellow’s brand identity and to incorporate her new vision for the floral component of the business, bringing in elements of the trade passed on by her mother. While purchasing an existing business may seem ideal, there are still many unique hurdles to be overcome. One must tread a fine line between honouring the past yet creating a new vision for the future. Encourage loyal customers to remain, while enticing newcomers to explore. This has been achieved by Angie Goodfellow of Cashmere and Rose and the reception by the community has been profound, especially considering the economic struggles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As many business owners can attest, navigating the regional and provincial restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic has been a whirlwind. To adapt, Goodfellow says it has been essential to “remain optimistic and actively problem solve” to stay ahead of the curveballs being hurled as small businesses. Like many affected by the pandemic, Goodfellow has been required to make unfortunate staffing changes to survive. This has caused a large reduction in resources, namely, the friendly, welcoming personalities of her highly valued team members and the knowledge,
skills, and rapport they individually brought to Cashmere and Rose. To stay afloat, Goodfellow has streamlined her store offerings, boosted her social media presence, and encouraged delivery and shipment of products.
In 2020, Goodfellow was accepted into the Starter Company Plus program, an entrepreneurial initiative created by the government of Ontario and lead by the Small Business Advisory Centre of Smiths Falls/Lanark County/North Leeds & Grenville. The two-stage competitive program incorporates participation in a Business Plan Bootcamp and the chance to win a small business grant and group
coaching sessions with a certified business coach. Goodfellow says the program has helped her connect with like-minded individuals and motivated her to look at her business and move forward and continue to commit to her business. The program has also inspired the entrepreneurial spirit once more, with Goodfellow hinting towards an expansion of the new business in the works.
Owner: Angie Goodfellow
Cashmere and Rose
102 Mill Street Almonte ON K0A1A0
Can you identify a time or event in your life or career that provided you with an epiphany that was a game changer, fundamentally shifting the way you would continue down your path? Lori Hanna had this moment in 2010, halfway through her career. It was a moment that defied all logical, linear thought and language, and at the same time, it felt utterly, undeniably right. There was no turning back, this was it, this would define how she now spends the next phase of her career and further education. This path is applying John F. Barnes’ Myofascial Release (“MFR”).
This first experience with Myofascial Release (MFR) completely altered Lori’s viewpoint on her treatment approach. When receiving MFR treatments, the profound effects felt through her body immediately felt like they were part of a natural wisdom, a way of healing; that her body could do what it needed to do, if she let go and trusted the process. Imagine realizing a paradigm shift so strong that your belief system stemming from the time you were a child is blown out of the water; that what you thought you knew as your weaknesses you now know are strengths. MFR treats the whole person and must be experienced for its profound, life changing effects to be truly understood.
After a decade of working with MFR, and continually training to advance in the technique, Lori has made her practice exclusive to it. She finds it helpful in resolving longstanding patterns of pain and/or reduced function and mobility. She has a passion for bringing about positive change for clients by providing what could be considered the missing link in their current healthcare regimen. Lori has seen that MFR can enhance and provide maximum benefit to an already established massage or chiropractic treatment schedule, or as a subsequent effort to break a plateau in progress.
Known for her love of the lake, Lori can be found spending quality time with her family there, swimming and paddle boarding. A tremendous appreciator of great music, and good food, photography and the outdoors, Lori loves discovering new places to go, but she still loves the beauty of Eastern Ontario. She is always looking for ways to gain perspective on life through striving to be grounded, mindful, and come from a place of gratitude for even the simple joys experienced every day.
Lori Hanna R.M.T.,
Intermediate level John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Practitioner.
CMTO member in good standing since 2001.
2001 Graduate of Sutherland Chan, Toronto.
Blue Door Spa is located in the beautiful town of Smiths Falls. We opened August 1st of this year and have been embraced warmly by the community. Elise Harding, the owner, has been in esthetics for almost 12 years. She has a passion for the field and being able to bring a little joy into her client’s lives.
The idea of the blue door came from a folklore she had come across once. It stated that if you saw a house with a blue door it was a sign you were welcome to come in! She also recognized the fact that many spas cater to only women and wanted to create a place where everyone, including men and children, would feel welcome as well. Her goal was to create a homey and warm atmosphere where people felt comfortable and relaxed.
Blue Door Spa proudly carries Eminence Organics skin care line, Bio Sculpture Gel, as well as many different locally made products. We believe in small businesses supporting small businesses and try to help endorse buying from local artisans in the Ottawa area. We offer a wide range of services from manicures and pedicures, waxing and sugaring, facials and body treatments, and lash extensions just to name a few! Our estheticians are all professionally certified and strive to make every clients experience amazing!
Dark Traveler SEO and Copywriting is a new business based in Smiths Falls offering consultations to improve business’s online rankings. With expertise on various aspects of search engine optimization, we at Dark Traveler SEO will find the perfect way to maximize traffic to your website. Our aim is to take the guesswork of SEO and the algorithms that are ever changing. Whether you want to go global or stay local, Dark Traveler SEO and Copywriting offers a wide range of campaigns that have worked for other companies as well as brand new strategies to reflect the ever-changing industry.
Dark Traveler SEO and Copywriting is fully owned by Derick Johnson who has experience in implementing SEO strategies to various business and organizations on a part time basis having been fully responsible for large scale, long and short term SEO operations after working as an implementation consultant with the University of Toronto. He holds a degree in History and Geography as well as a certificate in ESL from the University of Arizona, which as aided him in his pursuit by being an effective communicator of various SEO strategies. He also holds a certificate in SEO from the University of California Davis and is dedicated to honing his craft in this industry.
Whether you’re just starting your business or already have a solid consumer base, everyone could do with a boost. Dark Traveler SEO will help guide you through the turbid waters of search engine’s algorithms and lead you the fertile pastures of higher rankings and more clicks to your website. So don’t wait and languish in the backwaters of bad SEO and lose business because of it. Explore the possibilities of SEO and see for yourself what it can do for you. We at Dark Traveler SEO will help guide you through the process of having great SEO that will please both the bots that index the web and your customers alike. Don’t wait! Get your free site audit today at www.darktravelerseo.com and give us a like on Facebook at Dark Traveler SEO and Copywriting. Explore new possibilities with great SEO and let Dark Traveler lead the way.
Flint and Honey is a modern boutique shop located at 42 Gore Street in Downtown Heritage Perth, ON.
The shop carries a variety of quality baby clothing and accessories, women’s clothing and accessories and handmade natural body products. Flint and Honey’s focus is on carrying quality Canadian made products while offering unique services to the public such as a baby registry and a unique personal shopping service.
For more details, visit https://flintandhoney.com/