Leeds Grenville
Economic Development eNews | March 28, 2017
Business Profile
Top feature photo: Cindy Healy and Derek Ouellet enjoy opening their shop to guests Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The built-in cabinet was once part of the village doctor's office.

The shop, affectionately called the 'chocolate factory,' is located at 159 Main Street, across from Sweet's Freshmart in Seeley's Bay. 

Centre photo: Derek with a tray of chocolates. Bottom photo: Youngsters watch how chocolate molds are used.
Village chocolatier nearly doubles business
after opening old-fashioned showroom
SEELEY'S BAY - Prepare to be an instant fan and repeat customer when you discover the Belgian chocolates, brittles and barks handcrafted at Ridgway Confections Inc.

At this time of year, the Ridgway chocolate shop on the village's Main Street is bursting with colourful, handpainted chocolate eggs just in time for Easter. These amazing, one-of-a-kind boxed delights mimic Matryoshka dolls with smaller and yet smaller eggs inside.     

"We're having a lot of fun," says co-owner/chocolatier Derek Ouellet of his Easter egg creations, bunnies, squirrels and the assortment of year-round fan favourites -  chocolate covered sponge toffee, pecan butter crunch bark, specialty bars as well as "select your own" artisan bonbons. 

"This is our little chocolate shop and I tell people if you don't see something you like, let me know," says Derek, adding customers have suggested new ideas and he has obliged. He likes to create interesting flavour combinations. 

Their creations are made with only fresh ingredients, like butter and cream, and are locally sourced when possible. For example, a 'bean to bar' chocolate is sweetened with local maple syrup. No preservatives are used.  Chocolate is not available locally but they ensure purchases are made from 100% sustainably grown cocoa beans. 

Derek and partner/co-owner Cindy Healy began their adventure into chocolate quite unexpectedly in 2012. They were asked to make fudge for Dale Moore, owner of the Seeley's Bay Shop The Nest Egg. Sales blossomed at Dale's shop so within 18 months the couple decided to start their own business.  They installed a professional kitchen in their Victorian-era home - the landmark MacPherson House - with a plan to run a wholesale operation. 

Sales have been great but they have nearly doubled since 2015 when the couple decided to open a showroom in their home. 

"I think there's a trend with people searching out places like ours as a destination point," says Cindy. People look for uniqueness, quality and local food connections, she says. Their shop has all of the above.  Visiting the candy shop is an experience in itself with its interesting antique display cases, lights and cash register. The name Ridgway is after Derek's grandmother's maiden name. Her photograph hangs in the shop.

Derek and Cindy, who are both triathletes, are very community minded and host the Truffle Shuffle Fun Run or Walk to raise money for the local food bank.

Learn more about Ridgway and shop online by visiting their website, send them an email or call them at 613-532-4468. 

You can find their creations locally at  Wendy`s Country Market in Lyndhurst,  Savoury & Sweet in Elgin, Westport`s  Rosie Yumski`s Fine Foods as well as five other locations. 
Regional  Marketing

Canadian Garden Council Executive Director Michel Gauthier, left, presents the Canada 150 Garden Experience designation certificate to 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail co-chairs Ann Weir, United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Economic Development Manager, and David Cybulski, Maitland Garden of Hope.

Region's Garden Trail makes 'Canada 150 Garden Experience' list

The 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail is being awarded the 'Canada 150 Garden Experience' designation in celebration of Canada's sesquicentennial. The certification was presented at a Canadian Garden Council event in Toronto earlier this month. 

"It's an outstanding example of public and private sectors working together to create a garden experience that we are proud to recognize with a Canada 150 Garden Experience designation," said Michel Gauthier, the Canadian Garden Council's executive director. 

In 2015, the Leeds Grenville Economic Development Office launched the 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail initiative linking six private and three public gardens. It has now grown to 14 gardens throughout Leeds Grenville. The inaugural year of the trail captured national media attention that resulted in attracting visitors from around the world plus additional travel writers who have continued to promote the gardens in the region. 

The official launch of the trail and the announcement of its newest member is being held on May 12, 2017. Gardens on the trail will be opening mid-May and will remain open until September.

Learn more about this area's Garden Trail and visit Canada's Garden Route website to see the locations of all of the winning garden experiences in honour of Canada's 150th birthday. For additional details see our Media Releases page.
Job Opportunities
2016 Tourism Representative Shannon Bleakney.
Economic Development Office hiring for summer
Watch for tourism job postings on the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Job Opportunities Page starting on Thursday, March 30th at 4 p.m.

The Economic Development Office is hiring three Tourism Representatives and one Tourism Representative Supervisor.
The positions are for visitor kiosks located at the ONroute Mallorytown Travel Centres.

The job postings close on Monday, April 10th.
Celebrating Business
Rideau Lakes launching new business awards
A business recognition breakfast honouring local business is being hosted by the Rideau Lakes Economic Development Ad Hoc Committee.  

WHEN: Friday, April 7th with registration from 7:30-8 a.m.
WHERE: South Elmsley Municipal Complex, 441 Highway 15
COST: Complimentary. Registration is mandatory. Donations to the Friends of the Rideau Lakes Library are appreciated

The first-ever Business of the Year; Business Innovation and Young Entrepreneur (Under 35) Awards will be presented. Nominees for Business of the Year include: Bayview Yacht Harbour, Country Roads Community Health Centre, Delta Country Market, Miller's Bay Farm, Rideau Lakes Golf and Country Club. Nominees for Business Innovation are 2Low and Larry Cochrane. Young Entrepreneur nominees are Sara Foley of Howling Designs, Joel Weber of Rideau Lakes Chiropractic and Scott Blair of Scott Blair Construction.

Learn more about this event and how to register on our Workshops and Seminars page or email Alison at the Township office.

Workshops and Seminars
Why Learn About Intellectual Property (IP)

Featuring Jeff Leushner and Andrea Kroetch, IP practitioners with the law firm Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh, who will explore how IP may help reach your business objectives. Highlights of the various forms of IP are Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Industrial Designs and Trade Secrets.

WHEN: Thursday, April 6, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
WHERE: 91 Cornelia Street West, Entrance B, Small Business Advisory Centre, Smiths Falls
COST: Free
Marketing and Advertising for Small Business

Featuring Jim Wright of jamesdavidwright.com, this session is for small business owners interested in how to make the best use of their marketing and advertising budget. Topics will include how to evaluate which media to use, testing and tracking your advertising, grassroots marketing, to name just a few.

WHEN: Thursday, April 27, 9 a.m. to noon
WHERE: 91 Cornelia Street West, Entrance B, Smiths Falls
COST: $15
Learn more about these sessions and how to register on our Workshops and Seminars page.
Workshops and Seminars