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!