Category Archives: Uncategorized

Open letter to my kids

So gang you may be too little to really grasp the enormity of your present situation but you are living through some very strange times. You have not been to school two months and now we know that you will not return for another nearly four months. Airports are closed, parks are closed, movie theatres and bowling lanes and dozens of different stores are all dark. You are missing your friends and your family and all those hugs and kisses from grandparents and aunts and uncles. They all miss you too! You are giving up theme parks and fairs and summertime adventures on road trips across the country. Camping is still up in the air and the cottage seems oh so far away. People are getting sick and you have witnessed ambulances on our street and been a part of some great community projects to donate to senior residences or cheer for first responders. You are full of questions. You are brave though and hopeful and so willing, even when many adults are not, to give up all those things to help others. You have supported me through working from home by being patient when I am busy and keeping the noise to a dull roar during conference calls. You have found joy in watching our plants grow, in finding new trails to hike, in making up games that the three of you can play together. We have had at home movie nights and nearly wore out our shoes walking. You have learned to use video chat and tried as much as you can to stay connected to others. I think there are a million and one things we adults can learn from you, about being present, being grateful and being compassionate. You are willing to give up summer camp, kindergarten graduation, birthday parties and more to help others. While many of us tall folks hoard toilet paper and gripe about hair salons, there you are just chugging along making lemonade as you go. When I start fretting about schoolwork you remind me that you are always learning. It may not look like school but this week we learned about big things – how immune systems work, what karma is, how everyone is connected and how so much of what we think is “normal” comes down to where and when we live in this world. We talk – all the time! And while those little moments do not seem like epic adventure memories, I like to think they come together to be so much more. I am not saying that there are not going to be tears or frustrations or days when it’s hard to see the sunshine for the clouds but I do know that I will end this year confident that you are all resilient, mesmerizing, incredible humans who have so many gifts to share. Thank you for being my lighthouse in this particular moment in time. Thank you for encouraging me to stay the course. By teaching you I am reminded myself of those most important lessons – to be kind, to be generous, to be grateful, to be present and to give love freely. The year 2020 will go down in history for many things, some of them incredibly heartbreaking but in those memories, will shine your sparks.

Love History? Us too!

We’re a family that LOVES antiques, collecting, history and auctions. We love the stories and the nostalgia. Our collection varies based on what treasures we find – if there’s something you’re looking for let us know!
Why does history and old stuff matter?
I read a short article eons ago on Huffington Post written by Steve Berry (an author and spokesperson from History Matters). And a piece of that article has always stuck with me. He spoke about the library of Alexandria – arguably the greatest repository of ancient knowledge the world had ever seen. Not destroyed by fire or by zealots or by massive tidal waves, it sadly fell neglected. It wasted away because no one cared and it was so savaged by time and indifference there is no accurate account of even where the library once stood. Poof – vanished…imagine what we lost.
Now you might think – seriously? what difference could a small local museum or genealogical society really make in the world? But here’s the thing. I wager there isn’t much that is worth more. Our history is ourselves, our identity. It’s who we were, who we are and who we might become. It’s sometimes a cautionary tale of what not to do, sometimes an epic love story, occasionally a source of inspiration or encouragement. It’s a link to culture, inspiration and legacy. We do nothing, say nothing and become nothing if nothing comes before us.
There are probably a million little museums and archives in Canada and in them maybe a billion artifacts of all types and sizes. There are equally (or likely) more artifacts stuck in storage or in basements unable to be displayed. How much of our history is threatened by indifference? by lack of funding or interest?
So I guess this is part of the reason why I love antiques and nostalgia items. Why I adore old photos and musty old books. I cherish the foundations of my family and my community and so should you. Maybe raising $100 here and there for a little museum doesn’t make much difference, maybe finding the family tie in an old photo doesn’t make a difference, maybe preserving a love of old things and encouraging new people to enjoy old things in new ways doesn’t make a difference….then again…..maybe it really does.

Acceptance and the new normal

Acceptance is a recognized stage in the grieving process. It is the final stage of grief and the one associated with finding a way forward. If we look at our current situation in a pandemic-stricken world we are in a period of grief. We are grieving our “normal” lives which can be many things for many people. For some it is grieving a job lost that we loved, it is grieving for friendships, missed family connections and celebrations, in some cases school or privacy. Whatever it is for each of us, and for some it is more than one thing, it is still grief. For most of us the first stage, Shock, has diminished. We are no longer paralyzed and glued to the tv for one unbelievable announcement after another. We have become somewhat accustomed to social distancing and new rules at work or in the community. We are still inconvenienced from time to time or find ourselves suddenly remembering there is a new way to get your tires changed or get a can of paint. The denial stage is still real for many. This is complicated further by an over-abundance of information that spills across our screens every day. Conspiracy theories and supposed cure-alls and this overwhelming desire to believe that this isn’t really real, that someone will call it for what it is and we’ll all go back to life and have a chuckle or a cry over how ridiculous it all was. There are a handful of us in the Anger stage. For many, there is no real direction for that anger, so it spurts out as uncontrollable frustration. The government is to blame, someone else’s government is to blame, scientists in secret labs are to blame. It makes us feel some element of control to stomp our feet and shout “NO”, I’m not going to accept this, this is not my fault and I refuse to accept the punishment for something I have no culpability in. The most important thing to remember about stage 2 and 3 is that it is normal, it is healthy and, in the end, the why and how and what if does not really matter. If your house burns down does it make it less painful or less burnt if lightening struck it or if someone left the stove on or someone lit a fire on purpose? I mean when you think about it. The how and why gives you a place for blame and anger but does not make you feel better or correct the situation, does it? So that leads us to bargaining. This stage is about finding any way out. If you let us go back to school, we will promise to wear masks and not play outside or touch toys or come withing 6 feet of each other.  If I could just hug my mom, I swear I will self isolate for 14 days. If some of us could just go back to normal we promise to wash our hands and not go out more than we need. Sound familiar? Now the caveat to our current situation is that there are certain bargains that may work. We have seen some work. We have a little bit of freedom and the risk is relatively low and we get optimistic that the bargaining worked, and we can negotiate our way out of this situation. We can’t. We can accept small victories as just that, but acceptance would bounce us down to the bottom and we are not all there yet, are we? The next is a tough one. Depression. The inevitable reality that this is what it is. We are not going to graduation. Mom’s birthday is going to be on zoom and my first grader may not learn to read this year because I just cannot find the time or energy to teach her. This stage is different for everyone, as different as the things we are grieving. The thing to remember is one – I am not a psychologist, so this is all my opinion but also that from what I know as a layperson is that the stages are not always linear. You could find yourself happily in denial on Monday and full on depression on Tuesday. It is ok. I am personally a fan of connecting with a friend or family member when dealing with anger or depression particularly. It is not an easy path to navigate solo and we may find we have more in common than we think. The reasons we are in each stage and feeling each feeling may be different but like the house analogy – it does not actually matter. We can connect through the commonality of how we are feeling even if we do not agree on the why or the how. But I digress, let us jump next to testing. This one is not about testing our limits in so much as they concern the health and safety or ourselves and others but in seeking a new challenge or passion. It is the glimmer of sunshine follow the darkness of depression. That moment where you may not accept everything as it is, but you are willing to try to find a silver lining or make the most of it. Maybe that is a new exercise routine, a new hobby (cooking/painting/interpretive dance) or maybe it is finding an opportunity where there was not one before. With warmer days perhaps that means standing in the yard (proper social distancing of course) and enjoying a visit and cup of tea with a friend or your mom. For some it could be finding a way to help others or find a new calling in this new world we find ourselves in. My opinion, again not worth the virtual ink it is written in, is that when things are the darkest for us, we should reach for this light. This opportunity in the chaos to be our guide through it. Let me say, as someone who is tried a few things this is again not a straight line. You may try and fail at something; you may circle back to another stage and start all over. All perfectly reasonable – after all, we are all new to this. I like to reflect on and mimic some earlier generations. Generations who lived through wars and depression eras that lasts more than a decade. These resilient, enviable people went through a remarkably similar process I am certain. After all we are all human. They suffered and learned and adapted and thrived eventually and so shall we all. If we keep in mind some very fundamental truths. The how and why do not matter. The focus needs to be on “we” and not “me”. We need to learn to be resilient and adapt to an ever changing normal. There are likely a million other truths that we will learn and come to know in the next months and years. Now, my favourite stage…. acceptance. It is hard to know if any of us are here yet. Some of us may have a very hard road ahead to reach it. This is a lovely stage. The stage where we accept that our lives as we have known them are over. There is no “back to normal” coming. There is a new normal that we get to define and create together if we can stay united and strong in our endurance of the other stages. This stage is fundamentally one of action. We accept and we find a meaningful way forward. I would not begin to suggest that I know what that road will look like. I still bounce around the middle section of this process most days, but I believe we will find the meaningful way. Perhaps that hope is my testing stage. So why write all of this down at all. There are no more answers here than anywhere else, what the hell do I know anyway?! Writing is what I do – it is my process and I think if I can share with just one person a glimpse into how it all makes sense for me, maybe it will provide comfort to them. Just maybe we will stop focusing on the how and why and stop clinging to constant news and start moving forward. To grab the proverbial pandemic bull by the horns and say, “listen bull, I am going to protect my friend and family from this virus, but I am going to define what that looks like for me.” I am not going to let changes to what I thought was “normal” decide if I am happy or if my children are happy. My new world will be built within the confines required to keep people safe and I am happy to do it and I will do it well and I will thrive in its creation. Well that might be a bit ambitious but the one thing I have learned these last few months is nothing is certain. Something as small as a virus can change all human existence so why can’t I define mine?

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 http://facebook.com/mbpapercrafts.

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 https://www.facebook.com/Joyfilledgiftbaskets.

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 https://www.facebook.com/munchkinchops.

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 https://www.facebook.com/CorrJust.

“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 (www.facebook.com/CKPDesignsOttawa) 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 downpineryroad.com and freckleberry.ca.

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 (www.facebook.com/WaffleKisses), Four and Twenty Blackbirds (www.facebook.com/FourTwentyBlackbirds) and 3rd Life (www.facebook.com/3rdlifeDesigns). 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 – 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.