| Oct 29, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - October 29, 2009 Fairs demonstrate the resilience of county’s business communityby Jeff Green

Dave Storm from Fronatenac Shores and Ken Hook of the Land O'Lakes Tourist Association.

A trade fair at the Lions Hall in Verona on Wednesday, October 21 was chock full of businesses, old and new, which represent some of the future directions for business in the county.

Then on Saturday, Oct 24 in Sharbot Lake there was a Natural Health Fair that filled the Oso Hall with a range of practitioners and producers of a variety of products - everything from alternative therapies to natural skin creams and soap products - for an ever-growing market.

The two shows bustled with energy and vision for the future.

The Small Business Trade Show, which was put on by the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC), was conceived by FCFDC Chief Executive Officer Anne Prichard.

“I really didn't know how many businesses we would attract,” a tired Anne Prichard said as about 30 businesses were packing up and heading home in the rainy dark of an October evening, “and all in all it went better than I had hoped.”

The businesses in attendance provided a pretty good glimpse of the opportunities that are cropping up in a region characterized by the twin economic engines of waterfront and the service requirements of an older population. In addition to Lake District Realty, which re-branded itself as a waterfront specialist two years ago, there were representatives from Frontenac Shores, a fractional ownership resort on Mississagagon Lake that is entering its second phase of growth, and Stoneridge Cove, a new seven-cottage development on Bobs Lake.

Alternative energy solutions were on display as well, in addition to three high-speed internet providers, investment companies, and companies such as Hubby’s House, a cleaning service. The Pampered Chef, Something Cool Frozen Foods, and Moms to the Rescue - three food companies all willing to take care of cooking needs for busy families or those looking for a bit of luxury - were also on hand.

“This event is a great opportunity for us to see what other people are doing and consider how businesses in the county can work together in the future” said Marcel Giroux, who was on hand representing the Robinson Group, a mortgage investment company that has seen an increase in business this year in spite of recession worries throughout the economy.

In fact there was little talk of recession throughout the afternoon.

“When you are in business, the only thing you can do is keep working hard every day,” said Alison Robinson of Lake District Realty, summing up the attitude of the vendors in the hall, “the rest will take care of itself”.

Photo right: Tracie Goodberry (L) presenting a cheque to Brenda Piat from the North Frontenac Food Bank, as Carol Belanger and Jocelyne Steeves hand over some of the food that was collected at the Sharbot Lake Health Fair.

From healing to pampering, the Sharbot Lake Natural Health Fair offered Reiki, foot massage, healing creams, meditation, organic coffee, bath and body products, aromatherapy, crystals/stone nutritional products, massage physiogamy, Intuitive Card Readings, and more to a very appreciative public on a sunny Saturday in Sharbot Lake.

The fair came about two years after a similar event had been held. This time the fair was organized by a core committee, headed up by Tracie Goodberry of Dewitt's Corners, who is originally from Parham, along with Carol Belanger of Tichborne and Jocelyne Steeves of Sharbot Lake. All three work in the field of Therapeutic Touch, but rather than competing for clientele they are working in a collaborative vein.

One of the people who stopped in at the fair said she had only planned to stay for 15 minutes or so, but found herself intrigued by so many of the offerings that she stayed for over two hours.

Central Frontenac Mayor Janet Gutowski, who helped out with the door prize draws in the afternoon, said it was a “great example of the vibrancy of the local business community”.

The stated goal of the event was to “support and develop our community” and in that spirit, food was collected for the North Frontenac Food Bank, and over $100 was raised from voluntary donations in place of an admission fee to the event.

“At the end of the day, people were already asking about signing up for next year,” said Tracie Goodberry.

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