A serving of culinary and agri-tourism speakers
A generous helping of knowledgeable participants
A handful of collaboration and a pinch of networking
In a warm and congenial atmosphere
Wednesday, March 20, 2013, Maranatha Church, Belleville
As Enterprise Facilitator each month I write about how entrepreneurs can assess their business strengths and limitations based on the Trinity of Management. Product, Market and Finance. What are you good at? What do you know about? Where in the business, do you like to spend your time? Faced with the challenge of starting a hospitality venture with no experience or knowledge of the industry I decided to get help from the vast array of resources in the County. In other words, I facilitated the Facilitator.
B&B or Vacation Property? Never knew there was a difference till I spent an hour with Rick Caruso of the Chamber. Rick is a wealth of information about the different types of accomodations available, strategies on marketing, payment options and more. The Product was a two story house, so Vacation Property it would be! With the goal of inexpensive but tasteful decor, I relied on County Traders and Dead People’s Stuff for ideas and furnishings. John, from Traders even let me bring back chairs when I found ones I liked better on the next visit. The walls are decorated with beautiful County scenes thanks to an amazing sale at Paper Images and my specialized guest soaps are hand crafted at Big Tub Botanicals. Gano Excel Coffee from Legendz in Rossmore will give guests the healthy boost they need.
How in demand would a property in town actually be? Richard Barrett from Sandbanks Vacations and Wayne Carruthers of 57 Mary Street gave me tips about using the shoulder seasons to creat a niche market, as well as ideas about amenities wanted by in town visitors. A last minute opening in a BIA publication allowed me to place my first ad! Beyond Parallel Design created a professional ad to fit the space – timely help, thanks.
As for finance, I talked with several local hosts who generously shared advice about fees, downpayment, cancellation and damage policies. I have settled on a payment system that looks easiest for a working host. After much free creative advice and patience on the part of Anne VanVlack of InfoLink, my site is up and we are ready for business!
If you would like free, confidential help with a business idea, why not give me a call? Let’s see what we can do together! 613-476-4240
Contributed by Karin Desveaux-Potters, Gastronomy Cluster, Economic Development Office
As I was cruising Facebook’s newsfeed this past week, I stumbled across a status update of Petra Cooper’s (founder of Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company) that really highlighted the growing (rising?!) culture of Gastronomy here in the County.
“Are their any eco-food entrepreneurs out there? FT is looking for someone to set up/build/operate a stone/wood fired pizza oven on our site for next summer. The idea is that this person operates it as own little business on FT site. Only catch is you have to use FT cheese on the pizza and also other local ingredients …” asked Petra.
When I take a step back and observe how our food community here is growing and evolving, this cyber-ask makes perfect sense.
Local businesses are recognizing new opportunities to increase and add new revenue streams, mostly by creating additional “value add” products that will make a difference on the bottom line. If they have a captive audience at their place of business already, the logical next step would be to sell those folks anything and everything they might need during their visit.
Grant Howes at the County Cider Company is a fabulous example of gastronomy value-add production, making everything from hard, non-alcoholic and iced ciders to wine to (you guessed it) wood-fired pizzas, served on a patio adjacent to his pig-barn-converted-into-a-tasting-room!
“Rounding out” our pizza theme, Norman Hardie is another flame warrior out in Hillier, having constructed a wood-burning pizza oven in his winery this past summer (which I had the pleasure of cooking in a couple of weeks ago with chef Michael Smith of PEI). Norm will also be filling a need (and bellies) in his sub-appellation, offering the masses who pass through his winery every year heavenly thin, crisp morsels of local goodness.
One might ask “how many wood burning pizza ovens does this County really need?” and the answer is, actually, all of them. When “clusters” of similar businesses begin to emerge, the identity of a destination ensues. When we consider varieties of culinary tourism, our memories always return fondly to the authentic experiences- especially those that touch as many of our senses as possible. Let them eat ‘za!