Leeds Grenville
Economic Development eNews | February 27, 2018
Business Profile
Top feature photo: James Budynski at the store's main counter and below at the bottled water station.

The store is located at 7 Elgin Street North (County Road 5). Photo below: Kelsey and James accepting the Ben TeKamp Award.

Elgin Street Convenience & Gas Bar 
is an award-winning stop in Athens
ATHENS  - Something happens to people stopping at Elgin Street Convenience & Gas - they become repeat customers.

Young entrepreneurs James and Kelsey Budynski have transformed an aging gas station property in this village into a top-notch, one-stop location with many services. They've grown an impressively large clientele in a short period of time and call many coming through the door by their first names.

"A lot of our customers are loyal and come every day," says James. "We're a convenience store with a big focus on friendly, old-fashioned service so people feel comfortable."

The couple purchased the business in 2016 and immediately started making improvements and adding services. It is one of the reasons they were recipients of the 2017 Ben TeKamp Award for showing a remarkable capacity to revitalize a business to meet the changing needs of a community.

They operate a bottle return depot, the only authorized Empty Bottle Dealer for the Beer Store between Brockville and Crosby. During a peak week last summer, the couple took in more than 50,000 cans.

A fan favourite is the large coffee bar with pastry specials and customers who start arriving at 5:30 a.m. You can buy everything from snack foods and dairy products to wood pellets and engine oil. You can even have a key cut. More recently, a licensed Lotto Centre was added and more additions and renovations are planned.

"We're also a full-service gas station and there's not many of those left," says James. The gas provider is W.O. Stinson and Sons Ltd. with unleaded and diesel fuel.

It is still early days in the business but James says they doubled their January sales over last year. On one Saturday, they had 60 snowmobilers. People are coming back and appreciate the service that is available. James and Kelsey are also community- minded and have a large TV where community groups can publicize their events or area businesses can advertise.

Elgin Street Convenience and Gas Bar hours are Monday to Friday 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Learn more on their website and Facebook page (5-star rating), send them an email or call 613-924-9868.

Netherlands Ambassador to Canada Henk van der Zwan, at centre and wearing an orange scarf, is joined on Big Rideau Lake by, from left, Dutch Embassy communications advisor Anna Rijk,  Dutch skate tour organizer Toine Doreleijers, Skate the Lake President John Bongers, Brian Preston of the Royal Canadian Legion,  Rideau Lakes Town Crier G. David Boyd, Rideau Lakes Mayor Ron Holman and local historian Blake Seward. Photo by Garth Gullekson.
Portland's Skate the Lake has a banner year
PORTLAND - For the first time in Skate the Lake history, 60 competitive skaters from the Netherlands joined in the event's main 100-kilometre race. Helping cheer them on was Netherlands Ambassador to Canada Henk van der Zwan. 

More than 200 competitive and recreational skaters flocked to Portland in Rideau Lakes Township February 17-18 to partake in races on the Big Rideau Lake oval.  There were 5K, 10K, 25K and 50-kilometre   events with shorter races for kids. I t was a top attendance year with skaters from overseas, Ontario, Quebec and the United States.

The winner of the Masters 100K event was Sergio Almeralla of Ottawa. He also finished first in the 25K event. The top female racer was Guylaine Larouche, of Orford, Quebec. In third place was Gert Beenes of Bedum, Netherlands.

Skate the Lake is organized by Portland Outdoors and is an event bringing new people to the region and supporting local businesses. Learn more about Portland Outdoors on their website. 

Skaters leave the start gate during one of Sunday's races.
Summer Company

Summer Company 2018 programs ramping up
Two local agencies offering the Summer Company program for budding, young entrepreneurs are now accepting applications.

  • Leeds and Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre. There are 12 seats available. Contact the centre at 613-342-8772, ext. 4471 or email info@lgsbec.com.  Application deadline: May 18th.
  • Small Business Advisory Centre Smiths Falls/Lanark (serving North Leeds). There are four seats available. Contact Nicola at 613-283-7002, ext. 107 or email smallbusiness@smallbizcentre.ca. Application deadline: May 19th. 
The program is for youth 15 to 29 years of age, in school or returning to school in the fall. It offers up to $1,500 in start-up cash to help get the business running. Participants receive hands-on business training, mentoring and coaching from successful business mentors in the community.

To learn more and complete an application form visit  Ontario Summer Company website. 
Workshops and Seminars
Search Engine Optimization

Learn the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to increase awareness of your business online. The presenter of this session is Lindsay Kavanagh of SEO Plus.

WHEN: Thursday, March 8, 
9 a.m. to 12 noon.
WHERE: Small Business Advisory Centre, 91 Cornelia Street West, Entrance B Smiths Falls
COST:  $20
MailChimp - Creating  marketing campaigns

Learn how to grow your business email list and market to your clients using MailChimp, incorporating beautiful graphics and great sales copy.

WHEN: Thursday, March 8,
1-3 p.m.
WHERE: Small Business Advisory Centre Cornelia Street West, Entrance B, Smiths Falls
COST: $20
Creating Killer Content 
for Websites

Craft web copy that gets attention by identifying your voice and tone, as well as your audience. This session shows you how to blend storytelling and website content. 

WHEN: Thursday, March 22, 10 a.m. to 12 noon.
WHERE: Small Business Advisory Centre, 91 Cornelia Street West, Entrance B, Smiths Falls
COST: $20
Learn more on our Workshops and Seminars page.