Living in a corner of the world like ours, where outmigration is an ever-present reality, we should always congratulate entrepreneurs who make things happen right here at home.
In Antigonish, a refugee family is establishing itself as one of our countries great success stories, especially in the era of the Syrian civil war that’s left millions of people displaced. The Hadhad family reached Canada in January of 2016, following a desperate and lengthy exodus from their home country. Once here in Canada, they became acclimatized to life in our neck of the woods, made friends, and opened a small business called Peace By Chocolate.
Here we are, a year and eight months later, and the Hadhads are not only in the black in terms of their books, but they are also expanding. These new immigrants are creating jobs due to their skill set, and brining international attention to the area. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who met with the Hadhads in the past, spoke highly of the business while addressing world leaders at the United Nations.
Here in Port Hawkesbury, while the business owners haven’t yet garnered the attention of our nation’s top politician, Treasure Trove Diner recently opened its doors, adding a new option for hungry folks here in town.
The eatery, headed up by Marcella Timmons and Jason Boudreau, originated in a very different manner than was the case with Peace By Chocolate. Boudreau is from Arichat, and Timmons spent 18 years in Pleasant Bay refining her craft at The Rusty Anchor. (She’s been cooking longer than that, but leading the kitchen in Pleasant Bay was her most recent gig before opening her own place).
Also unlike Peace by Chocolate, the Trove is entering a market where local competition is considerable. A number of places already exist in Port Hawkesbury and area where the public can dine, but that hasn’t stopped Timmons and Boudreau from taking their shot. According to the owners, taking that chance has paid of very nicely. In their first three months, the restaurant is doing very good business.
If you were to take a drive down Isle Madame way – or if you happen to live there, which is equally possible – you could visit another new business in the area, CP Games, which operates next to Isle Madame Hardware.
Cody Pardy, the man at the helm of the venture, has turned a novel idea into a novel business. His store is a gaming and hobby shop, a business that offers all kinds of gaming and hobby equipment for the area. His store opened at the start of last month.
Pardy is in the process of setting up game nights, which will cater to gamers in Richmond County and the surrounding area. This is a great idea from a business perspective, in that it keeps his store on his customers’ minds, keeps them coming back, and is a wonderful opportunity to advertise in a very unconventional way.
Located just a few minutes down Route 19 is a recently-open business located at the site of the former Troy canteen that, in a certain way, shares a bit of the hobby market with Pardy. Needful Things Antiques, Collectables and Pawn opened earlier this year, and it’s headed up by Robert Ryan.
Ryan’s business could be said to share the hobby market with that of Pardy, in that Needful Things stocks lots of things that could be of interest to hobbyists – and there are some vintage board games that can be found of Ryan’s shelves – but the former Junior Pirate coach has a business focus that puts more of a focus on antiques and hard-to-find gifts.
Box stores are a reality, and all of us visit chain stores like Wal-Mart and Giant Tiger. There’s nothing wrong with doing so, but Ryan’s business offers a variation to what can be found at such facilities. If you are looking for a unique gift, something for the person who has everything, a visit to Needful Things would help fill your cart.
These are four examples of local businesses that are making things happen. The owners are making a living for themselves and, maybe even better still, they are providing jobs for locals, something of which we are in desperate need. Entrepreneurship is a gamble, in that some businesses will fail to garner the traction needed to stay open, but every success story shares one thing in common: all of them start with someone taking a chance.
Good luck to all entrepreneurs mentioned in their editorial, and the hundreds of other business people working hard in our area.