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Economic Development eNews | February 21, 2023

Business Profile

Rideau Fit Co. Hitting its Stride

SEELEY'S BAY - It's such a perfect fit for the community, you'd swear it's always been there.

Rideau Fit Co. only opened last summer yet it has already reached 80+ in membership and is growing by the day. What's more, people are praising both the self-serve aspect of the gym and the specialized one-on-one training offered by owner Karen Lowry.

"People started signing up right away," says Karen of the first weeks in business. Even though it was summertime with lots to do outside, and not the ideal time to attract interest in a gym, locals started joining. Now, after seven months, it's a mainstay for many.

"It was as though people had been waiting for something like this because the village hasn't ever had a gym before. It was very satisfying to know people were feeling the same as I was about the need to have this," says Karen.

Rideau Fit Co. (RFC) is a boutique style gym specializing in functional fitness for everyday living. RFC provides a wide range of high-quality, commercial-grade strength training and cardio equipment in a clean, safe and friendly environment. Karen welcomes beginner exercisers and seasoned fitness enthusiasts. Her slogan is "Fitness for Life." Members have a fob so they can do their workout at a time that suits them.

One client said she previously drove to Brockville to work out. Another said she went to a Kingston gym. Both are now thrilled to have a place to work out and train in their own community. "It's been a lifesaver for me," says one client who benefits from following some of Karen's online coaching videos and hybrid training.

Karen was a personal support worker who suffered a debilitating back injury 10 years ago. She turned to fitness to combat her chronic pain. Karen trained for almost 4 years and became a Certified Personal Trainer and also went into bodybuilding, winning the 2021 Overall Bikini Masters Championship at the Cobourg Naturals.

"I'd never run a business before. I just started putting things together. I wrote a business plan and I was very determined. You have to believe in yourself," says Karen. She valued support she received from the 1000 Islands Community Development Corporation and the Digital Main Street program.

Top feature photo: Rideau Fit Co. owner Karen Lowry in her new gym and below consulting with a client.

Photo above: Karen works with Mark Jamison, a Leeds and the Thousand Islands Councillor.

"My hope is that people will use my gym as a resource to help them toward becoming the healthiest, strongest version of themselves that they can be," Karen says.

Learn more about Rideau Fit Co. by visiting the website, Karen's Instagram and Facebook pages. Rideau Fit Co. is located at 108-106 Drynan Way right off Highway 15 in Seeley's Bay.

Digital Services

Shop Local for Digital Support         

The Leeds Grenville Economic Development team has put together a comprehensive list of local businesses who are ready to make your digital ambitions come true. 

From graphic design and photography, to web design and search engine optimization (and much more!), there are many local businesses who can help you achieve your digital goals.

Whether you have recently received grant money through any one of the digital grants that are currently available, or are just looking to invest in your business, our list of digital vendors will help you grow your business while keeping your hard earned dollars in the local economy.

The list clearly lays out the services each company provides to save you time and helps connect you with the right service provider.

Businesses within Leeds Grenville have received well over $500,000 to date through grant programs to spend on digital improvement services. Some of the funding programs that are currently running will continue until 2025, so expect to see this regional investment continue to grow. 

If you are a Leeds Grenville business who offers any of the services listed on the vendor list and would like to be added, please reach out to Shelbi McFarlane, Business Development Officer via email or call 613-342-3840, ext. 5361.

See the Vendor List

Still interested in applying for a digital grant or have questions about the programs available? Local digital support staff can walk you through every step of the process. Visit the Leeds Grenville website, book a free consultation, call 613-342-3840 x 5368 or email Cyndy Bolton.

Connect with us now


New location - Same Great Service

The Leeds Grenville Small Business Centre is now located at 32 Wall Street, 3rd Floor, Brockville as the Counties Economic Development Office now oversees the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade contract to deliver support to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

These support services are provided to businesses within the municipalities of Athens, Augusta, Brockville, Edwardsburgh Cardinal, Elizabethtown-Kitley (southern portion), Front of Yonge, Gananoque, Leeds and the Thousand Islands, North Grenville and Prescott. Businesses located outside of these municipalities in Leeds Grenville can connect with Cyndy James, Small Business Enterprise Centre – Smiths Falls | Lanark County | Northern Leeds Grenville via email Cjames@smallbizcentre.ca

Team members for the Leeds Grenville Small Business Centre remain the same with the following updated contact information:

Jeanette Johnston - Business Development Officer - Small Business

Email: Jeanette.johnston@uclg.on.ca

Tel: 613-342-3840 ext. 5363.

Carol Hardy - Small Business Program Assistant

Email: Carol.hardy@uclg.on.ca

Tel: 613-342-3840 ext. 5367.

Visit our Website

Upcoming Events

Women's Day Event March 8th

The theme for this year's International Women's Day is #EmbraceEquity with a celebration of entrepreneurship and diversity in the Leeds Grenville community.

The popular semi-formal event will feature the Brockville Women in Business Showcase, the Lifetime Achievement Award, dinner by Brockberry Café, door prizes, gifts and more.

Keynote speaker Karla Briones will share her immigration story and entrepreneurial journey. Karla is an example of the passion behind every small business. She is proudly a Mexican-Canadian serial entrepreneur with retail, food and online businesses, including Global Pet Foods and Freshii. She is founder of KB Consulting, a business consulting and network agency for immigrant BIPOC and under-represented entrepreneurs.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, introduced 10 years ago to recognize and celebrate a longtime businesswoman who is a leader in her community, will be presented.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 8, 4-9 p.m. (Showcase 4-6 p.m.)

WHERE: Brockville Memorial Centre, 100 Magedoma Blvd.

COST: $99

Learn more or register
Showcase table rentals

Above photo: 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Cheryl Mackie, founder and owner of the Brigadoon Restaurant in Oxford Mills. Cheryl opened her eatery more than 32 years ago.

Gananoque has Top Line-up for Women's Day Breakfast

The 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual International Women's Day Breakfast once again in person at the Firehall Theatre. The theme is Embrace Equality.

The keynote speaker is Tanya King. She will be joined by panelists from the community with all generations represented. Panelists include Gretchen Huntley, Melissa Kramer, Kara Aldrich, Katie Fletcher and Annick Rousseau.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 8, 9-11 a.m.

WHERE: Firehall Theatre, 185 South Street, Gananoque

COST: $45 members ($60 non-members)

Learn more or register

Vendors in the spotlight at LG Small Business & Trade Show

A sold-out slate of 62 vendors, along with 16 Approved Professionals, will be at the upcoming annual LG Small Business & Trade Show showcasing local small business and skilled trades.

The Town of Prescott, the Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal, the Ontario Approved Professionals Program and major sponsors are working together as supporting partners for the 2023 Show.

Take time to help us celebrate the local individuals and families that make up the Small Business Sector within Leeds Grenville. These are the men and women who live, employ, donate and support the place we call home!

WHEN: Thursday, March 2nd, 3-8 p.m.

Friday, March 3rd, 3-8 p.m.

Saturday, March 4th, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: Leo Boivin Community Centre, Prescott

COST: $3 per person. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free

Donations to the South Grenville Food Bank are encouraged.

Learn more

Attention Employers: Job Fairs

CSE Consulting is inviting employers to their annual Spring Job Fairs, being held in person this year. The first is in North Grenville followed by the second in Prescott. 


Employers who choose to participate in the Job Fair will have the opportunity to meet with potential candidates in a more casual setting, without the pressure or anxiety of an actual interview. The Job Fair provides employers the space to pre-screen job seekers in a one on one, face-to-face situation. It will also give employers the opportunity to speak with applicants about why they should apply to their business and what kinds of individuals become successful employees in their line of work.

The time spent meeting with potential candidates may reduce the time that would usually be required for the conventional means of recruiting new hires. Participating in the Job Fair also provides a venue for the employer and the CSE Job Developers to discuss Labour Market Information and current issues, with the intent of determining how best to offer continued support and assistance. 

You will be able to set up your booth 30 minutes prior to the start of the job fair. Light refreshments will be provided (coffee/drinks/snacks). When committing to reserving a table, please be prepared to remain for the entirety of the event.

When emailing to reserve a table, please indicate:

  • Name of your business or organization
  • How many tables
  • Is a power source needed
  • Any other accommodations you may require


To register call or email: In North Grenville: 613-258-6576 or Tracy@cseconsulting.com: In South Grenville: 613-925-0222 or Brittany@cseconsulting.com

Business Awards

Nominations open for Rideau Lakes Business Recognition Program

The Township of Rideau Lakes is seeking nominations for the 2022 Business Recognition Awards.The application is simple to complete and staff can provide assistance. Learn more by contacting Marie White, Economic Development & Cultural Heritage Coordinator, via email.


  • Business of the Year Award,
  • Business Innovation Award,
  • Young Entrepreneur (under 35) Award.

Winners will be celebrated at the Business Awards Breakfast, scheduled to take place on Friday, April 14, 2023 at the Newboro Community Hall.

NOMINATION DEADLINE: Friday, March 3. Place your nomination online at rideaulakes.ca

Nomination form
Workshops, Seminars and Webinar Library

How to Edit Photos & Images with Canva

This webinar features speaker Jennifer Baker of JBC - Pushing Digital Boundaries. It is hosted by the Small Business Advisory Centre (Smiths Falls/Lanark County/North-Leeds Grenville). It will focus on furthering knowledge of the photo-editing tool, Canva. 

By the end of the webinar participants will:

  • Understand how-to-use background remover
  • Discover basic editing tools like brightness, contrast, and saturation
  • Recognize advanced filters, including shadows and smart-mockups

WHEN: Wednesday, February 22, 9-10 a.m.

COST: Free

Learn more or register

Hiring Immigrants: Building a Culture of Belonging

Are you struggling to find staff? Do you want to diversify your workforce, or are you interested in making international connections? Then check out this workshop focused on the needs of Leeds Grenville employers and hosted by the St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigration Partnership.

WHEN: Thursday, February 23, 9-11 a.m. (online)

COST: Free

Learn more or register

Facebook and Instagram Advertising on a Small Budget

Whether you have $5, $50, or $100 a month to spend on Facebook and Instagram advertising, you can still reach your target customers and clients. Discover some creative ways to do so in this fast paced, intermediate-level webinar.

You'll learn:

  • The options for advertising on Facebook and Instagram
  • How the Facebook and Instagram algorithms work, so your content can cut through and be seen even without spending money
  • How to decide when to boost a post, and how much to spend
  • How to target your ads to your ideal customer or client based on demographics, geographic area and more
  • How to create successful written copy and imagery for Facebook and Instagram ads

WHEN: Thursday, February 23, 7-8:30 p.m.

COST: Free

This workshop is a free online webinar for small businesses in Ontario. Participate online for free, using your preferred device (laptop, smartphone or tablet). All you need is a fast internet connection and free webinar software. Download details will be provided after registration.

Learn more or register

EV Charging and Your Business - Where to Start?

New federal regulations will require that at least 20% of new vehicles sold in Canada will be zero emission by 2026, moving to 100% by 2035. As Electric Vehicles (EVs) become more prevalent, how can local businesses proactively ensure they are prepared for the increasing demand for EV charging infrastructure?


Join local industry expert James Darrach of 401 Electric as he explores what business owners need to know in order to strategically prepare and welcome EV charging. James will cover topics such as how to get started, levels of chargers, price implications, electrical servicing requirements as well as incentives available to businesses.


WHEN: Friday, March 10 at 9:00 am via Zoom (provided upon registration)

COST: Free 

To register, email Shelbi McFarlane at shelbi.mcfarlane@uclg.on.ca

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 March 7th edition should be received by Monday, February 27th.
  • Submissions for the March 21st edition should be received by Monday, March 13th.
Ann Weir
Economic Development Manager
Deanna Clark
Economic Development Officer
Joanne Poll
Administration / Communications Support
Shelbi McFarlane
Business Development Officer

32 Wall Street, Suite 300, Brockville, ON K6V 4R9
613-342-3840 | 1-800-770-2170 | econdev@uclg.on.ca