Having trouble viewing this email? View as Webpage.
InvestLeedsGrenville.com header with logo and tagline Where Lifestyle Grows Good Business

Economic Development eNews | December 19, 2023

Business Profile

Clay Studio Collective Brings Pottery Enthusiasts Together

ATHENS - There's a new business taking shape as an artistic community hub in the village.

The Clay Studio Collective is an inclusive environment welcoming all levels of clay lovers to join as a studio member, take pottery making courses, or work and learn in a shared space founded and run by area potters.

"The more people we have here, the happier we will be," says Donna Haycock," Chair of the Clay Studio Collective.

The newly renovated location in the lower level of the Athens United Church is a public studio offering services, classes and 24-hour community key access to members who wish to go and spend time creating.

"We would like this to grow into the most successful pottery studio in Ontario," says Donna. "We have an amazing group of people with such a strong commitment to the art. We've come a long way in a short period of time."

Creating the Collective has been spearheaded by 17 founding members. Work started almost a year ago. Then last July, St. Lawrence College (SLC) announced it would donate all of its ceramic equipment to the Clay Studio Collective and the Gananoque Arts Network (GAN). The Clay Studio Collective received one large kiln, eight wheels, and one large wedging table, as well as a slab roller.

The donation from the college means the Clay Studio Collective can provide a learning environment that will carry on the legacy of ceramic arts established by SLC, according to Donna.

"I can come in here and within 10 minutes I can completely release my stress," says potter Dianne Richmond, who by day is a capital projects manager for a large engineering company. Dianne is a potter and executive director of the Collective.

"There are so many potters in this area and this gives them a place to go," says Dianne. Both Dianne and Donna say the founding member team is dedicated to working together to provide services and access for the greater community.

"I'm so thrilled this is the next step for people," says Krista Cameron, a well-known area potter who will be teaching classes at the Collective.

"It's such a good place to be and is really a step beyond classes. It will build a community," says Krista.

The Athens United Church helped cover the cost of upgraded electrical needs for the operation of three kilns. Many others also helped renovate and rejuvenate the now bright and spacious business.

Learn more about the Clay Studio Collective on their website, Facebook and Instagram pages. The Studio is located in the lower level at 17 Church Street in Athens beside the high school.

Top Feature Photo: Clay Studio Collective members, friends and students gather at the open house in Athens during a demonstration by potter Krista Cameron.

Above: Potter Sarah Hamelin works on an antique treadle wheel from the 1950s. Below: Potter and Facility Director Nadine Colwill at one of the wheels. Background: Potter Evelyn Leon.

Biz Bytes

Northern Cables Expanding Again

Here they grow again! Northern Cables Inc., a local manufacturer of commercial and industrial power cables, is completing a 70,000 to 80,000-square-foot expansion at its 50 California Avenue facility in Brockville.

The expansion is in response to increased demand and will help better serve the North American market. Northern Cables has three facilities in Brockville and Prescott. The company employs 275 people.

Port's Robert Dalley makes the list

Port of Johnstown General Manager Robert Dalley was recently listed in the Ottawa Business Journal's (OBJ) top 10 "Power People in Eastern Ontario Agriculture." The seaway Port handles millions of tonnes of grain and other products every year.

Mr. Dalley, who has been the GM since 2008, credits his operations manager, their team of approximately 30 full-time and seasonal employees with the port's success.

The OBJ article notes " the facility has continually evolved, diversified and expanded as a key intermodal transportation hub for Eastern Ontario." The community-owned port has generated millions of dollars that have produced substantial surpluses that are reinvested back into the port and the Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal to help improve municipal services and minimize tax increases.  

Entrepreneur Arnold Dixon, centre, with some of his staff, Mayor Jeff Shaver, left, and MPP Steve Clark, right. Mr. Dixon Is also President of the Dixon Automotive Group.

Dixon's General Store & Café

The village has a new place to eat and shop with the opening of Dixon's General Store and Café. The ribbon cutting was held on December 13.

"His intention is to revitalize Algonquin, and he is doing just that," Augusta Township Mayor Shaver said at the opening attended by a large crowd.

The new commercial hub offers local products and produce, baked goods, groceries and hardware. The cafe offers a large seating area and serves breakfast and lunch.


Call for Adventure Participants


The Leeds Grenville Economic Development Office is thrilled the first season of the self-driving Fresh Baked and Foodie Shop Adventures were a huge success in 2023. Through the Adventure series, residents and visitors alike travel to all corners of the region to visit the 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Waterways wide array of foodie shops, bakeries and cafes.

If you operate a specialty food shop or are a bakery or café that produces their baked goods on site, we want to hear from you!

To be part of the 2024 promotional materials and see if you meet the criteria, reach out to Business Development Officer Shelbi McFarlane by December 30th.

Email your interest today

Funding Opportunities

Eastern Ontario Development Fund

Ontario is now accepting new applications for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund. Applications will be accepted from December 7, 2023 until January 25, 2024. Registration on the Ministry site and consulting with a Ministry Advisor should occur by January 11, 2024.


The Regional Development Program supports business growth in Eastern Ontario by providing support to eligible small- and medium-sized businesses investing in new equipment and training to expand operations in these regions. Applicants are eligible to receive financial support and advisory services to help navigate government programs, such as guidance on compliance approvals, assistance with skills and talent.


Business Project Eligibility Requirements


  • Have at least 3 years of operations/financial statements
  • Employ at least 10 people (or five if located in rural Ontario)
  • Commit to creating at least five new jobs (or a 30% increase for companies with fewer than 15 employees)
  • Invest at least $500,000 in a project (or $200,000 if located in rural Ontario)
Visit the Website

New Tourism Growth Funding from FedDev Ontario

Tourism businesses and organizations across southern Ontario and Canada offer a variety of exciting new experiences to visitors. They can now enhance those experiences with funding from the new Tourism Growth Program.

Eligible applicants include:

  • incorporated small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the tourism industry
  • Indigenous-owned businesses (including Indigenous sole proprietors) or Indigenous tourism organizations
  • not-for-profit organizations (including tourism associations and economic development organizations)
  • governments (municipal/provincial/territorial and related entities)

Eligible projects should provide added value to existing activities in the tourism industry and focus on business and economic growth. Priority may be given to projects that:

  • support the Indigenous tourism industry
  • increase tourism benefits for communities by driving visitation from urban areas to rural areas
  • support economic, environmental and cultural sustainability
  • support active outdoor experiences
  • extend the tourism season (e.g., new or expanded tourism offerings outside of the traditional high season)
  • complement support provided through provincial programs

Applications are being accepted until February 29, 2024, 8:59 p.m. EST

Learn more

Festivals and Events Experience Ontario Program Now Open

Ontario is investing $19.5-million to provide funding to eligible in-person festivals and events taking place between April 1, 2024 and March 31, 2025.

Applications now being accepted until January 11, 2024.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) supports destination and product development and investment in Ontario’s tourism industry. Experience Ontario 2024 provides support for festivals and events, with a tourism economic impact, to motivate visitors to discover Ontario, connect people with local experiences, and increase tourism spending. Experience Ontario is a competitive program. Applications will be measured against program criteria and, as such, there is no guarantee of funding, including to past recipients. The ministry will only consider one application per organization and one application per event.  

Program Objectives support in-person festivals or events in Ontario that will:

  • Offer programming that encourages people to travel, experience events in-person and celebrate Ontario.
  • Draw tourists and increase visitor spending through innovative programming in partnership with businesses and community partners.
  • Provide job opportunities for Ontarians in the tourism, culture, and entertainment sectors.
  • Increase Ontario’s profile through various media channels. 

Regional Tourism Advisors are available to assist with questions about the application process.

Learn more or to apply

Workshops, Seminars and Webinar Library

Improve your Social Media Game

The South Grenville Digital Squad is hosting a free webinar to improve your social media skills.

This webinar will cover topics on:

  • The importance of social media for your small business
  • Best practices for running your social media pages
  • Tips on creating content
  • How to analyze your social media pages to give you insight on how to improve them

WHEN: Monday, January 8, 11 a.m. to 12 noon

COST: Free

To register contact Taylor at [email protected]

Teeny Tiny Summit: Understanding Community Economic Development in Teeny Tiny Places

Are you looking to support and grow the economy in your community? Community Economic Development (CED) is the process of fostering an environment that results in the creation of wealth and well-being for the benefit of the community.

This Teeny Tiny Summit will explore the CED 101 program and asset-based community economic development tools. The workshop is designed for communities that want to understand what economic development looks like in their small community.

It is for municipal councilors, local groups or organizations and volunteers with community development interests and responsibilities; where they will learn and take away practical tools to help their community develop and implement an effective strategy, building from within. The workshop will help you to learn the basics about community economic development and how these concepts can be applied in your community.

Topics include:

  • Why CED is important to your community.
  • The value of planning in your community
  • Collaborative roles of individuals and organizations
  • Tools and resources that are available and how they can assist you.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 10, 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

COST: Free

Learn more or register

Leeds Grenville eNews Deadlines for submitting information:

If you have an upcoming workshop, seminar, or business-related event, please email it to us in advance.

  • Submissions for the January 9th, 2024 edition should be received by Tuesday, January 2nd.
  • Submissions for the January 23rd edition should be received by Monday, January 15th.
Subscribe to our eNewsletter

www.investleedsgrenville.com | www.discoverleedsgrenville.com | youtube.com/leedsgrenville

32 Wall Street, Suite 300, Brockville, ON K6V 4R9

613-342-3840 | 1-800-770-2170 | [email protected]