Monthly Archives: January 2017

Hometown News – December 2016 – Mompreneurs

This Christmas let Mompreneurs take the hassle out of holiday shopping

Carleton Place is a town of industrialists, of artists, trailblazers, visionaries and entrepreneurs. In a community bourgeoning with young families, mompreneurs are setting the town a blaze with creative innovation and intuitive services. These women are not just finding a way to earn money and spend more time with their families but are also seeing gaps in the current market and filling a need. They are using creativity and innovation and leveraging the power and popularity of social media to set an example for a whole new generation. They are a group seen visibly in the community donating to fundraisers, volunteering and offering encouragement and support to their fellow mompreneurs. As we head into a season of gift giving  let’s focus on shopping local and considering some local parents for that “must have” gift or desired service.

Do you need a Christmas card, New Year’s Party invite or unique birthday card? Melissa Mason’s M&B Paper Crafts offers unique handmade cards, exploding box cards, banners and invitations individualized for the customer and their event.  Custom cards are $5 each for a 5×7 card with envelope which is on par or less than most of the mass marketed store bought cards. Melissa and her husband moved to Beckwith Township 2 years ago and she is now a stay at home mompreneur with a beautiful 18mnth old daughter. A hobby crafter, she decided to hand make her daughter’s first birthday party invitations and décor – after a post on a Facebook mom’s page garnered a lot of positive attention, she decided to make her hobby into a career. For more information on custom décor banners (at only $1.25 per letter/graphic) and other offerings visit M&B Paper Crafts at

Not sure what to get that “hard to buy for” person on your list? Kaitlyn Moyes may have just the answer! Her company Joy-Filled Gift Baskets aims to fill houses, offices and hearts with personalized handcrafted gift baskets. As many other parent-run company’s, Joy-Filled Gift Baskets started when Kaitlyn was home with a newborn. She spent time exploring local businesses with her new baby boy and realized that finding personalized items and gifts for family and friends can be tricky.  Harnessing her own creativity and seeing a need in the gift giving market she set off to create the perfect gift baskets for her customers.  They are completely customizable, contain useful items and are geared to any budget or occasion. To see examples of her beautiful work or to order yours visit

Have you met Bree (Breanne Rheault)? The genius mom behind our very own children’s salon – Munchkin Chops. A licensed hairstylist, this wife and mother found herself looking at the end of her maternity leave and dreading going back to work and leaving her babe. Having worked in a children’s hair salon previously she decided to start her own in her home and Munchkin chops was born. It’s a fun exciting home based salon. There is a “car chair” to sit in, a TV, Xbox and a play area for siblings and waiting customers. Her mission is to have fun and make your child’s haircut a pleasant experience. With newly added services for moms and dads (ranging from $20-30) why not give the gift of a new family “do”? For more information and a full list of services and prices check out her page at

Does someone on your holiday list have the need for some legal advice? Jenna Deforge is a new arrival (originally from Sudbury) who moved to our area with her husband a few years ago. A paralegal, she spent a few months applying to different law firms in Ottawa and Perth but no one was hiring. She had done a market analysis of the area  and saw a clear need for her services. In February 2013 she opened an office of her own in Perth. Life happened, as it does and Jenna made the tough decision to close her office and work from home. It ended up being a positive move for her family as she is also able to be a full time mom to 2 beautiful boys (2.5 and 7). Her firm “Corrective Justice Legal Service” offers services to most of Eastern Ontario in Small Claims, Landlord and Tenant Board and Traffic Tickets. For more information visit them on Facebook at

“When [she’s] not crafting [or] working at a local hospital” this mom is “doing [her] best at being a mom and being the fun wife [her] husband married”. Katrina Dagenais started a home-based vinyl design company, CKP Designs as way to explore her creative side. It was a hobby that quickly turned into something more. Katrina’s designs can be found in a handful of stores in Carleton Place, Almonte and Gatineau or you can visit online ( to arrange your custom order. Perhaps one of her custom mugs, signs or shirts would be the perfect pick for someone on your list?

What about a one of a kind wood sign or growth chart, pyrography art piece or essential oil education? Face painting for a party? Kate Mountenay is a mom of all trades! A mother of 4 who hails from Almonte, Kate spent almost 10 years in Australia where she met and married her true love. They returned to this area 16 months ago and 3 months ago she started Down Pinery Road. Working with Ontario-grown and milled White Cedar from a local family owned and operated mill and locally sourced beeswax to finish most of their products. She also offers essential oil workshops and also owns Freckleberry Face Painting with her husband.  Face Painting services start at $75/hr and they take bookings 6 months in advance. You can find out about all of these great products and services at and

Have an animal lover on your list? What about the gift of some Pet Care Services? Tracy Larock relocated to our area four years ago with her husband and son. Wanting a country life with a big yard for her big dog and small son to play in, Carleton Place offered the perfect setting! Even as a little girl, Tracy was an animal lover and so once her son started Junior Kindergarten she thought it was time to turn her passion for caring for pets into a career.  Little Wet Noses Pet Care was born! Tracy offers dog walking, Cat and Puppy home visits, pet waste removal, home care services and will be adding pet sitting, dog training and pet photography in the future. Her dream is to one day house a dog rescue for our area. Her services are very reasonable starting at $20/half hour and would make the perfect gift to the animal owner on your list!

We have creative and artistic genius in some local handmade favourites like Waffle Kisses (, Four and Twenty Blackbirds ( and 3rd Life ( You won’t go wrong visiting these ladies online stores whether your shopping for a baby or a granny – there is literally a one of a kind gift on these pages for everyone! If browsing some shops puts you in the holiday spirit with all the sparkle and magic don’t forget that our small businesses here in Carleton Place are family owned and operated. There are parent-entrepreneurs in nearly every shop so pop in and see Miss Krista at Apple Cheeks or Miss Dena at the Granary or Miss Jane at Dack’s Jewellers or Miss Erica at the Flower Boutique. Any one of these talented women (and a dozen more) will find those perfect gifts, decorations and stocking stuffers to make your holiday a memorable one!

There are so many talented mompreneurs in our midst that there is no reason that you can’t complete all your shopping right here at home. These women work hard to balance being a parent, a friend, a partner and a business owner and it is clear that they all have such a passion for what they do. So this holiday season – don’t fight holiday traffic or congested parking lots and help a local mom make her dreams come true and get some amazingly cool stuff in the process. These are gifts everyone is sure to remember and cherish!

Hometown News – January 2017 – CP Social Notes

So long 2016….


December can be a month of such contradiction. It’s plump with merriment surrounding the holidays, the hustle and bustle of decorating and shopping and catching up with friends and family. It’s vacation from work and school and the official start of the winter season. It is also a month of nostalgia; of finality as one year closes and another is about to begin. It can be overshadowed by sorrows, of home sickness for our youth, of departed loved ones missed and general holiday financial stresses. Despite the impending holiday bills and bitter cold, January has an aura of rebirth. It’s a clean slate – the chance to make this New Year whatever you want it to be. It is no different for a community. For Carleton Place, 2016 saw its successes as well as its fair share of challenges. It was a year of change Downtown with the BIA becoming “Downtown Carleton Place” and with a changing of the guard so to speak. Cathie McCormand is no longer at the helm and we welcomed Kate Murray and with her a new role, some new events and strategies. We said farewell to our dear friend Wandering Wayne and were reminded to cherish the footsteps that still lay before each of us.  Our town came together (as we have come to expect) and Rachel’s Army was born. Together we helped raise $15,000 to help a brave 4 year old girl kick cancer’s ass. When the Fort McMurray wildfires broke out Carleton Place rallied – dozens of events and fundraisers helped send over $12,000 in relief to our neighbours in Alberta. The beloved home of the Rhippo Burger was destroyed by fire but again we came together. We danced and sang and shopped and Gofunded our hearts out and soon we will welcome a new home for our Law and Order classics and some new additions! We came out with friends and family and celebrated Canada Day in epic fashion at Riverside Park, took in a few movies under the stars, browsed the market at the Bridge Street Bazaar and laid out the red carpet for some of the World’s Strongest Men! Chilly the Penguin returned in February with the Winter Carnival crew at Riverside Park and Zip-E the clown made sure to visit whenever he was in town. There were parades and Man Caves, Maker’s markets, Farmer’s markets, car and truck shows, and festivals of wool and picnics of years gone by. We walked with Linda Seccespina and travelled back in time in our own backyard. There were new murals and some new faces in retail – salons opened, Brown and MacFarlane joined us on Bridge St and a new Bridal Boutique was unveiled.  The kids got a new skate park and our CP Canadians won another cup. We had rowers and swimmers that put our town on the map and one of our alumni got his pass to the stars.  It was announced that we’d be getting a new ER, losing a CAO and Miller’s Crossing broke ground. There was arguing over chocolate and storm water ponds, signage and décor.  The old Barracks was lost to fire. Our Public Works department had their work cut out for them when a quarter of the town lost water pressure but through it all (all around the clock) they carried on. Through power and water outages, heat waves and ice storms our town opened their hearts, homes, dinner tables and showers to their neighbours. There is a lot about 2016 that we should be very proud of Carleton Place. Like all families, we may squabble but in the end we have each other’s backs. I have no doubt that 2017 will bring with it many opportunities for us to shine. There will be controversy, there will be frenzied Facebook rants, and yes there may even be some gossip but I guarantee that there will be new businesses, new neighbours, new parties to attend, new reasons to smile and to cheer. Thank you for sharing 2016 with me and with all of us at Hometown News and Discover Carleton Place and thank you from myself and my family for being part of why we love living here. You make our community great and I am #cpproud to call this home.  Look out 2017 here we come….

Hometown News – December 2017 – CP Social Notes

As I sit starring at my screen tonight the first winter storm of the year blasts outside – snow and wind howl by my window and it dawns on me that there will be no more winter reprieve. The ice and snow is here to stay (at least until the Spring). I’m not a huge “winter person”. I hate cold wind blowing snow in my face – I hate layers…I am flip flops and sun dresses all the way. Yet, today I spent cozy in the house with my family – baking cookies, putting a few Christmas decorations out on shelves and thinking about what a blur the next month will be in a house with 3 kids under 6! I may not like the cold but I do love holiday festivities and we have enough happening around Carleton Place to make even Santa fly out of his way. After all “Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind”. The fun kicks off with the Santa Claus parade on November 26th but in December Christmas really comes to town! On December 3rd the annual Downtown Christmas Open House is sure to get you in the spirit. All day there are special events in town from meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus at Moore House, hanging with Zip-E the Elf at Carambeck, crafting a gift for grandma and grandpa at the Civitan’s “Santa’s Workshop” also at Carambeck or visiting the many downtown retailers on the horse-drawn trolley to check out sales samples and special guests. There is holiday shopping and what could be better than strolling to the unique shops in town with all the Christmas lights a glow and grabbing a cup of hot chocolate at the Owl Café on the way by. With the white stuff here to say there’s no better way to enjoy it then a wintery stroll in Downtown Carleton Place -the peaks of snow on our beautiful Townhall overlooking the Mississippi, the Christmas lights glowing along Bridge St. However, “unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it white.” So remember to keep your hearts full and give to those in need throughout the holidays. Why not swing by the Christmas Hut at 355 Moffatt and let the kids “shop” for gifts using donations to the food bank? They can pick out something from the hundreds of donated items and have it gift wrapped to go! Volunteer, donate or just attend the annual free Community Christmas Dinner returning this year to the legion. There will of course be a free meal with all the trimmings, live music, gifts and of course Santa. Bud’s Taxi is offering free transportation to and from the dinner from 11am-4pm. There are plenty of events happening to help get you into the Christmas spirit between concerts and caroling and holiday bazaars.  Head over to Carambeck Community Centre on December 10th for an afternoon of carols from 12:30-3:30 with the CP Town Singers. There will also be a puppet show, crafts, snacks and a Family Photo Booth! Admission is free of charge, however donations to the Lanark County Food Bank would be greatly appreciated. December 10th you can visit the Mill of Kintail for their annual Country Christmas celebrations. A beautiful day of wagon rides, a nature scavenger hunt, campfire stories, carols and photos with Father Christmas from 11am-3pm. Only $15 per vehicle to join in the fun! St James Church is also offering an olde time celebration of their own on December 11th from 2pm-4pm you can join George Chenier Sr., Christopher Jones, Joe Million and special guests Brownie, Kevin Topping and Anita Lafrance-Topping. Only $10 per person for an afternoon of classic country Christmas music. You can head over to the Prospect United Church on December 18th from 6-7:30pm for an evening of Olde Time Community Caroling to get your Christmas juices flowing. After all, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear”. The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum invites you to their annual Christmas open house on December 10th from 1pm-4pm for live music, hot apple cider, cookies and check out their Carleton Place Christmas Photo garland. December is seems is full to the brim in holiday excitement! “First will make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can and then we’ll snuggle”. And when we’re done all that, we can skate with Santa himself on December 18th from 1-2pm at the Beckwith Recreation Complex. However you end up spending this month make sure to spend it with family and friends, be gracious and generous to others, spread kindness wherever you go and ring a lot of bells….Merry Christmas Carleton Place!

Hometown News – January 2017 – CP Winter Carnival returns

For a 5th year the Carleton Place Winter Carnival returns to our community on February 25th from 10am-4pm at Riverside Park, Carleton Place High School and the Canoe Club. This free day of family fun is made possible each year by a dedicated team of volunteers and community sponsors. The entire community gathers to welcome back Chilly the Penguin and with him a new year of entertainment, games and did I mention trolley rides?! 2017 marks the 5th anniversary for the Carnival and they’re celebrating in unison with Canada’s 150th by throwing an epic birthday party for Chilly!

There will be many of the familiar favorites – games, balloon twisting, face painting, an interactive Photo booth, the Winter Market and some new surprises. Chilly has sent out invites to all his friends in the mascot world and RSVPs are already rolling in. Jolo the Wolf, some super hero friends, a handful of princesses and maybe even Olaf and a Patrol Pup will be popping in to wish Chilly well. There will be furry friends to learn about and visit with all day and did I mention free candy and cake?! And loot bags!! There will be train and trolley rides, music, wood carving, the ever-popular mascot tug of war and snow painting.

Save in your favourites because you’re not going to want to miss new attractions and contests being announced. It’s hard to believe that just 4.5 years ago this annual tradition was just an idea sparked by a survey posted on a Facebook group. It’s a wonderful example of what like-minded people can accomplish when they take on a project together.

Each year this event welcomes over 700 people to come out and enjoy time with friends and neighbours and break up the monotony of winter. It’s a chance to go play outside all day and start thinking ahead to spring, not to mention enjoy the natural beauty that Riverside Park and the Mississippi have to offer. The Carleton Place Winter Carnival Committee hope that each year this event continues to grow and welcome new friends from other communities to come and join in the fun (and show off our town). Residents and businesses are invited to be a part of the event by volunteering for the committee board, as a Carnival day helper (running games and activities, set up and clean up) or by sponsoring various activities and entertainers.

For more information or to find out how you can help contact the Carleton Place Winter Carnival Organizing Committee at or visit the website at

Hometown News – January 2017 – Why Do Business in Carleton Place in 2017

With an easy 20 minute highway commute to the Nation’s capital, picturesque waterfront and historic downtown, it’s easy to see why so many people choose Carleton Place to hang out their shingle. So why is 2017 your year? Do you have a “can’t be beat” business idea? Franchise? Then let’s discuss why this community is the perfect fit for you.


There are many key things to consider when choosing a location for your new business.  First let’s discuss style. This is the look and feel of the physical space of your business and how it compliments what you do. If you’re looking for a traditional retail store or service office Carleton Place as many options. There are beautiful heritage buildings, with space that includes hardwood, exposed brick and tin ceilings. There are also bright, modern professional spaces and nearly every option in between. While the town does not boost an indoor mall for a kiosk or booth there are a number of strip malls with modern styled office and retail space as well as outdoor summer markets depending on your business plan.  Maybe you work from home? Or telecommute? What better way to appreciate the conveniences of fast and reliable Internet service, cultural and recreational opportunities, restaurants and shops carrying everything from housewares and building supplies to business supplies and electronics.


Next on the list of things to consider is no surprise, Demographics. Businesses must consider their customer profiles and understand what the local market wants. A number of informal online surveys conducted by our Discover Carleton Place Facebook page shed light on some local wish list items for residents. If you are considering 2017 as the year to start a venture of your own in Carleton Place some common resident “wants” include a cinema, an indoor children’s play land, ethnic food, Men’s Clothing store, Athletic and Sports apparel, shoes and lingerie. These market gaps are echoed in the 2011 Downtown Corridor study completed by Doyletech Corporation.  That study cited a lack of Men’s apparel, outdoor lifestyle equipment and hobby-recreation store to serve the retiree community. Additionally the study noted that Carleton Place lacked a common family restaurant and quick luncheon-type eatery as well as current pop-culture entertainment such as a movie theatre. It is not however just about supporting the needs of local shoppers, the addition of cultural and entertainment opportunities will create pedestrian traffic, browsers and tourists.


Carleton Place is almost always discussed in the context of its proximity to Ottawa but let’s not discount the large rural populations and neighbouring small towns for whom this town is the source of big city needs outside the capital. Retail giants like Walmart and Home Depot pull from towns like Almonte and Perth who don’t have a nearer access for these popular “big box” stores. Some shoppers travel out of the city to visit those same stores in Carleton Place to avoid traffic, parking frustrations and over-crowding and a nicer shopping experience.


You must also consider if the community has a stable economic base.  According to Deputy Mayor, Jerry Flynn, Carleton Place has stable tax rates, long range development plans and staff to avoid major financial pitfalls, all the amenities to complement successful business and encourage long range investment. Add to that consistent population growth and you have a recipe for business success.


Other demographic considerations include a local skilled workforce, resources and also community culture and amenities. These elements are important as you want the community to also be an appealing place for your own family and that of your potential employees. Carleton Place is a beautiful community rich in local history and punctuated by the breathtaking Mississippi River. It is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with dozens of local trails, water sports and championship hockey. It is home to world-class broomball, 16 play grounds, outdoor ice rinks, one of the country’s oldest canoe clubs, curling, Softball nearly every night of the week when it’s in season and so much more! There are community events monthly, play groups and accessible family services. It also has public, Catholic, French Catholic and Private schools, affordable housing and a community centre teaming with activities.  It is an ideal community to raise a family with the amenities of a city and the charm of a small town. Greg Smith, a local entrepreneur (GHS Enterprise),  says “For me it is a choice for “home life” –Running my own business when not at a Client’s site I’m able to enjoy the area with breaks from work as well as when “I come home from work” quick accessible nature alternatives. The ease of access to all businesses in the Ottawa area is incredible with our four lane highway.  When I have a meeting in Toronto I can access the train twenty minutes away in Smith Falls. Our Hospital is second to none with top notch service. ALL the essential service are right here from tech help to conference facilities and all levels of luncheon business development presence. And last but not least the business community is generally supportive with the Chamber of Commerce being one of the best per capita Chambers in the Country, in my opinion.”


Next on the list, Foot Traffic. This of course is industry-specific but there are retail opportunities along Bridge St in the heart of the town that can fit the foot traffic bill. If your customer profile is not set on strolling then there are some gorgeous and very affordable lease options in the Dunlop Industrial park off Townline Rd or on Bennett St that also have ample free parking.  This brings us to number 4; Accessibility and parking. As a business you will need to consider how your customers, employees and suppliers access your location. If you have large deliveries can a large truck, cart, crate enter your space? Is there accommodation for persons with mobility issues? Your specific need will of course be specific to your business model but needs to be considered. While gorgeous, older buildings can have disadvantages in terms of doorway width and absence of ramps or elevators. Again, Carleton Place offers the charming older retail spaces in addition to more modern settings that are more accessible. There are opportunities to update and retrofit older facilities to have the best of both worlds so ask those questions to the property owner.


Competition can be a positive and a negative for a fledgling business. Traditionally seeing another business with a competing product or service in your area might deter a similar business from opening. However, there can be a benefit when it comes to the overflow from an existing business or from patrons comparison shopping. Carleton Place has many business and services that complement one another and you’ll find fewer communities with such a collaborative business spirit. From the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce, Valley Heartland, Downtown Carleton Place and the town itself, you’ll find support for your new business. There are funding initiatives, training, networking events and many incentives like the Chamber’s “Member 2 Member” program that encourage businesses to support one another. Many local community events invite and encourage local business owners to get involved and you’ll find at least a dozen large community events throughout the year that not only promote the town as a place for fun and recreation but also a place to shop.


In a community that stands on the precipice of 2-5 years of accelerated development now is the time to act. With nearly 1000 new residences coming in the next 12-18 months, a plan to expand the local Emergency Room, bring in additional “big Box” named brand retailers 2017 is the best time to get your foot in the door.