Leeds Grenville
Economic Development eNews | March 14, 2017
Business Profile
New Bed and Breakfast concept
getting rave reviews from happy guests
MERRICKVILLE - Innkeepers Dawn and Mike Zaversenuke like to think outside of the box.    

As owners of  the 1840 Guest House B&B, they've blended two accommodation styles with great success. Their lodgings have the quaint communal area of a traditional B&B but when it comes to the rooms they are more of a boutique guest house. Their modern rooms all have private ensuites along with super comfy beds, terry cloth robes, fireplaces, Wi-Fi, wall-mounted SmartTVs, Satellite TV, Netflix and Sportsnet.

"We offer the best of both worlds," says Mike. The "retired" couple believes travellers have specific priorities when choosing accommodations and at the top of the list is cleanliness and having your own private ensuite. In their Guest House, visitors have the option of relaxing in their own room or joining other guests in the common area and balcony overlooking the Rideau Canal Waterway.

In just 3 years, their gross yearly revenue has increased by 300%. Last summer they had an occupancy rate of more than 90%. They've achieved a rare 9.6 ranking from Booking.com and a 5-star Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor. Ontario By Bike has classified their business as "bicycle friendly." 

The front of the property is a restored one-room stone school house circa 1829 and is home to Ahimsa Naturopathic owned by Katie Weststrate. Guests of the B&B have attended exercise and yoga classes offered there so it is a good match.

Guests from around the world have been so impressed they've sent the Zaversenukes thank you cards with promises to be back.  The guestbook is filled with positive comments.  An Ontario couple called it a "beautiful, restful haven." Another said "this inn is the total package." An international traveller wrote "Wonderful stay! The shower was one of the best I've experienced on my trip in Canada which includes the Fairmont Hotels. Comfy bed and wonderful hosts. What more could I ask for?"

"We have a lot of repeat customers and guests from around the world," says Dawn. "One couple booked a day and ended up staying almost a week." The couple feels their interesting decor, with its mix of antiques, Dawn's own quilted wall hanging, historic items and maps, is an important part of the experience.
There is a great deal of time spent on making sure their guests have all of the information they need to enjoy Merrickville, its history, shops, restaurants and local and regional attractions.

Room costs are lower than some of the competition. The couple says, by providing a continental breakfast (cereal, fruit and muffins) and not a hot breakfast, "we give the cost savings back to our guests." 

Restaurants are within walking distance and guests also have access throughout their stay to a fridge, Keurig coffee maker, microwave, unlimited free tea, coffee, bottled water, orange juice, yogurt and energy bars. 

Take a virtual tour and learn more about the 1840 Guest House B&B at 223 Main Street West, Merrickville, by visiting their website, email or call 613-269-3025. 
Top feature photo: Dawn and Mike have created an eclectic area for their guests to enjoy. Below, a view from the common area and balcony overlooking the Rideau Canal Waterway. 

Above: The 1840 Guest House. 



There is a blending of history with modern conveniences.

When renovations were being done they found "Mirricksville 1840  (older spelling of the town)"  scratched in plaster of the school house. The year was incorporated into the name of their new business.
Celebrating Business

Mary Rae Knapp has been part of JB Kelly Insurance since 1978. She became a partner in the brokerage in 1988 and is an Honourary Member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario. 
Athens native Mary Rae Knapp receives lifetime business achievement award
Well-established and respected area business woman Mary Rae Knapp is this year's recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the annual International Women's Day event hosted at the Aquatarium March 9th.

The long-time co-owner of JB Kelly Insurance Broker Ltd. in Brockville, Mary Rae has achieved the highest competency level in the insurance business. She served two terms as president of the Leeds Grenville Insurance Brokers Association. She and her business partner sold the business last fall but Mary Rae continues to be involved in operations.

A mother and grandmother, Mary Rae is credited with helping put Athens and the Joshua Bates Centre on the map. She has been a driving force on the Performing Arts Committee for more than 30 years. A member of both the Canadian and Ontario Country Music associations, Mary Rae founded the Johnny Reid's Tartan Army Fan Club with Johnny in 2005.

The evening, hosted by the Leeds Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre, featured keynote speaker Hannah Gzik, manager and trainer at BizXcel, a local company providing organizational management consulting.
Job Fair

Filling summer jobs is easy through online fair
Are you an employer wanting to make hiring summer students an easier more successful exercise? You now have the chance to participate in the Employment and Education Centre's (EEC) first-ever online Virtual Job Fair.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 22nd, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Employers and job-seeking students are not required to be online for the entire duration of the fair. Employers can register their business up to March 21st.  Participating employers require a high resolution logo, a designated person to interact with applicants during the event, a short overview of your company, your workplace benefits and details of any job opportunities you would like to make available. 

To learn more or to register contact Lesley Patry-Kerford via  email or call 613-498-2111, ext. 370. View the Employer Poster   and the Student Poster for registration information.
Employment Opportunities
Create your own company this summer
If you have a business idea and want to be your own boss then this is a program for you. You can qualify for an award of up to $1,500 to help with business start-up costs and possibly receive another $1,500 award by successfully completing the Summer Company program. 

You are eligible if you are a full-time high school or university/college student, aged 15 to 29 years of age, and are interested in starting your own business. To be eligible you need to be returning to school in the fall.

DEADLINE: May 6, 2017

The program is offered through two offices in this region: 

Leeds Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre (LGSBEC) in Brockville.  Contact Jeanette via  email   or 613-342-8772, ext. 4471. 

Small Business Advisory Centre (SBAC) in Smiths Falls. Contact Cindy via  email or call  613-283-7002, ext. 109. 

To learn more about the program and see the eligibility checklist visit the Ontario Government's Summer Company  website

Upcoming Event
Learn how to start a business in goat farming

Spaces remain in one of two information sessions being held to educate interested community members about this industry, including regulations and start-up costs. Goat milk will be the foundation of a hypoallergenic product manufactured at the Feihe infant formula plant slated to be built in Kingston. The goal is to have as much product as possible produced locally. There will be five speakers, including Kingston Economic Development Corporation's (KEDCO) Carey Bidtnes providing an overview of the Feihe project. 

WHEN: Thursday, March 23, 7-9 p.m. (The 2-4 p.m. session is full)
WHERE: County of Frontenac Municipal office, 2069 Battersea Road, Glenburnie
COST:  Free

Learn more or register by visiting our Community Media Releases page. Seating is limited. 
Workshops and Seminars
Getting Started with Email Marketing

Featuring presenter Jim Wright, this session gives basic tips and steps of how to get started in email marketing for business, how to use it effectively and build your email list for your business.

WHEN: Monday, March 20, 1-4 p.m.
WHERE: Small Business Advisory Centre, 
91 Cornelia Street West, Entrance B, 
Smiths Falls
COST: $15
Marketing for Results: Growing a Business
The keynote speakers are Kevin Savoy, of ActionCoach, and Tom Graham, of TD Graham and Associates. Learn how to develop a marketing plan, to test and measure, and gain an edge over your competitors.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 22, 6-8 p.m.
WHERE: Grenville Mutual Insurance Community Room, 380 Colonnade Drive, Kemptville. Hosted by the BR+E Alliance
COST:  Free
How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan for Business

Presenters are Stephen Beamish, Entrepreneur in Residence, and Chelsea Davidson, Advisory Support Services, of the Launch Lab Innovation Centre. There will be a hands-on demonstration of popular social media channels.  Learn how to create a social media marketing plan tailored to specific business needs and goals as well as develop a content plan and editorial calendar in this interactive session. There are one-on-one training sessions available from 1-4 p.m. Email Matt Gilmer to book your time.

WHEN: Thursday, March 30, 10-12 noon
WHERE: North Grenville Municipal Centre, 285 County Road 44, Kemptville
COST: Free
Learn more about these sessions by visiting our Workshops and Seminars page.
Workshops and Seminars