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Business Profiles

Chris Bliss, Owner - Uptown Diary

GOATS & GROWTH

Chris Bliss had a unique business concept; she wanted to take a traditional Holstein dairy farm no longer in operation and convert it into a goat dairy. After extensive research and planning Chris contacted the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (Frontenac CFDC) to help make her goat dairy a reality.

Chris worked closely with the staff at the Frontenac CFDC to get her business off the ground with a start-up loan. “The Frontenac CFDC is a great resource if you are thinking about starting a business,” says Chris, “they helped me fine tune my business plan and when I was overwhelmed with the process they showed up at just the right time to encourage me.”

In January 2009 Chris opened Uptown Dairy in Sydenham and purchased the initial herd of 80 goats. Since then Uptown’s herd has grown to over 220 goats. The Grade A licensed operation is now producing high quality milk from 120 goats it is currently milking. “One of our goals is to build a disease-free herd so we can start to export our animals,” says Chris, “The help that the Frontenac CFDC provided us has helped grow our business and progress us towards our exporting goal.”

Hany Girgis, Owner Sphinx Drugs

PILLS & PLANS

When Hany Girgis moved to Ontario from Egypt with a dream of owning his own pharmacy, the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) helped to make it a reality. A non-profit organization funded by FedDev Ontario, the Frontenac CFDC offers free business advice, workshops and commercial financing to entrepreneurs and those looking to start a business in the Frontenacs. “There was an outpouring of support from the local community and doctors,” says Hany, “but it was the support, advice and financial assistance from the Frontenac CFDC that helped me start by business.”

The Frontenac CFDC’s team of business experts helped Hany with a seed loan and a business plan built on customer service and loyalty. The result is Sphinx Drugs in Seeley’s Bay and Verona, with a third pharmacy now in the works. “The Frontenac CFDC let me focus my time on my customers and their needs,” says Hany. “This is exactly the business success story I had in mind.”

Pat & Dave Storms, Owners - Frontenac Shores

VISION & VACATIONS

Pat and Dave Stroms had a vision of transforming the rustic Twin Pines Resort on Mississagagon Lake into Eastern Ontario’s first year-round fractional ownership cottage resort. They approached the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (Frontenac CFDC) to help them with their business start-up. “The Frontenac CFDC helped us kick-start our business and allowed us to grow,” says Pat. “When no one would lend us that pivotal loan to get us started, the Frontenac CFDC did.”

After extensive research and planning, Pat and Dave opened the doors to Frontenac Shores where vacationers can now enjoy the benefits of a lake shore retreat at a fraction of the cost of owning a conventional cottage. Frontenac Shores is now 90% sold out on their Phase One cottages and have started construction on Phase Two. “No one cottage is empty at any time, even in the winter, people use their weeks,” says Pat.

“The Frontenac CFDC’s investment in Frontenac Shores is an investment in our local economy,” says Liz Crothers, Frontenac CFDC Chair. “By supporting the Stroms in their dream for a year-round resort, we are also assisting other local businesses that will benefit from the increase in the number of four-season cottagers.”

Dr. Leslie Reade & Ferdinand - Sydenham Veterinary Services

COMMUNITY & CARING

When Leslie Reade joined the Board of Directors of the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation, her decision was as much about the past as the future.

“I grew up here and remember that fondly,” says Leslie, co-owner, with her husband Jack Chubaty, of Sydenham Veterinary Services, a thriving, full-service clinic established by Leslie’s father 30 years ago. “Although I left to go to school, when it was time to decide where to settle down, there really was no other choice.”

Leslie values the Frontenacs as a healthy and safe place to raise a family and grow a business. “Change has brought many opportunities,” she says. Helping to strengthen the local economy and make possible the opportunities she now enjoys is one of her goals and greatest pleasures as a member of the Frontenac CFDC Board. “I love helping our community succeed!”

Brad Smith, Owner - Frontenac Foam Insulation

FOAM & FORTUNE

Last year, the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (Frontenac CFDC) helped Brad Smith’s dream come true. He started his own business in his home town.

Brad’s specialty is urethane foam insulation. He’s passionate about it. “It can be applied anywhere on anything, and can save you up to 50 per cent on your heating bills.”

With his expertise and love of foam, Brad thought opening his own company would be a natural. However, he was disappointed when he discovered that a bank loan was not possible. Brad made plans to leave home and heat to Alberta for work.

Just in time, he heard about the Frontenac CFDC who provided Brad with advice about setting up his company and the pivotal loan that got him started. Today, Brad’s family and his business are thriving in Verona – Thanks to the Frontenac CFDC.

John & Eleanor Nowell (second & third from right), owners - Nowell Motors

MOTORS & MOTIVATION

John and Eleanor Nowell, of the family owned and operated Nowell Motors in Cloyne, are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to continue the development of their successful business. They year they turned to the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (Frontenac CFDC) for advice on how to grow.

With financial assistance from the Eastern Ontario Development Program provided through the Frontenac CFDC the Nowell’s were thrilled to be able to offer a full-time apprenticeship to an area resident with aspirations of becoming a licensed mechanic.

“The Frontenac CFDC benefits employers and employees,” says Eleanor. “Thanks to their funding we are able to provide a young person work experience, while gaining skilled staff members to continue the advancement of our business.” As she adds, “hiring locally is a way we can motivate young people to keep their skills in the area. It was an investment in our community’s future.”

Margaret Pritchard, Owner - Hartington Equipment

PASSION & PARTICIPATION

Margaret Pritchard is passionate about her family, her business and the County of Frontenac. For almost 50 years, Margaret’s father and now Margaret, her husband Ron and their two sons have operated Hartington Equipment where they sell and service farm, industrial and consumer equipment. Their business is a thriving Frontenac success story.

As a lifetime resident and local business owner, Margaret wanted to give something back to the community that has given her so much. She joined the Board of Directors of the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation in 2004 and is now helping her community grow, while gaining new skills and connections.

“I wanted to contribute to the community that has served us well in business and life,” says Margaret. “Along the way I’ve also learned a great deal about programs and services available to area businesses and met entrepreneurs who inspire me with their drive and vision.”

Ron & Anne Kortekaas, Owners - Eco Alternative Energy

POWER & POSSIBILITIES

For Ron and Anne Kortekaas, realizing a dream of an alternative energy business in Sharbot Lake meant a major investment, new careers and a family move.

Working with the business experts at the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (Frontenac CFDC) helped to keep their vision alive.

“We had a house to sell, another to buy and a new business to learn,” remembers Anne, co-owner with her husband Ron of Eco Alternative Energy Ltd., specialists in solar and wind electrical systems for residential and commercial properties.

To help ease the transition, Ron and Anne contacted the Frontenac CFDC and received the short-term financing they needed to firmly establish Eco Alternative Energy Ltd.

“They also told us about employee training allowances,” says Ron, “and they keep in touch regularly with news of workshop opportunities.” With funding from Industry Canada, Frontenac CFDC offers free business advice for entrepreneurs and those looking to start a business in the Frontenacs. “The Frontenac CFDC understands local business owners,” adds Anne.

Ginny Trousdale, Co-Owner & Manager - Trousdale's General Store

TRADITION & TRANSFORMATION

Ginny Trousdale wanted to continue the successful history of Trousdale’s General Store, a 171-year old cornerstone of Sydenham’s retail heritage. She turned to the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (Frontenac CFDC) to help her meet the challenges of adapting the business to the new century, while retaining the vintage features of the store.

As Ginny says, “The Frontenac CFDC provided me with the business advice I was seeking and the support I needed to rebuild and revitalize a family business. With their help I was able to make essential upgrades to the store.”

The new awnings and widows she purchased with the assistance of the Eastern Ontario Development Program helped to modernize and, at the same time, preserve the store’s historic character.

Ginny’s project is already seeing results: Her store was awarded the 2007 Land O’Lakes Tourist Association’s Marketing Vision Award.