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Economic Development eNews | November 2, 2021
Business Profile
Portolano brings style, colour
and warmth to the season
PRESCOTT - Get ready for an unforgettable array of colours in fashion, gloves and scarves when you visit the Portolano outlet store here.

The Fort Town's Portolano Products (Canada) Inc. is the only Canadian distributor and is a bonded warehouse shipping premiere quality leather and cashmere fashions worldwide. It has been a mainstay in Prescott since 1986 and is the sole remaining outlet store of its kind in eastern Ontario.

"You're going to find unique items here in colours you won't see in major retail outlets," says General Manager Sandra Shay. "We're special and have maintained our mandate to offer superior quality and service."

It is also a place where they will measure you for the perfect fit in gloves. "We feel we offer fantastic quality and amazing prices while providing excellent service," says Sandra.

"Gloves and having the perfect fit are very important here at Portolano," Sandra says.

Portolano products are admired around the world, including its cashmere shawls, wraps and sweaters for both men and women. Leather still comes from the company's tannery in Naples, Italy, and is then sent to Baguio, Philippines where there is a cooler climate ideal for making leather gloves. Products are then shipped to warehouses in Italy, the US and Canada.

"Portolano is completely vertical as a company," says Sandra, noting it does not rely on a third party to produce its leather gloves and other products.

New products have also recently been added. Sandra commissioned fibre artist Wendo VanEssen, a Prescott native who has worked with Pixar and Disney, in the creation of unique four-season ponchos. Wendo's art is beautifully printed on the four pieces - one for each season - which can be worn six different ways.

"I love the connection having a Prescott artist and the concept of unique things not being done anywhere else," says Sandra. "You see her heart in every piece."

"We are also a destination with our newly opened museum exhibit," says Karen Price, who gathered memorabilia and outlined the Portolano's 126-year history dating back to its Italian founders. The exhibit, which opened in October, is called "One Stone at a Time" and highlights the Portolano brothers as well as the Elliott and Fischl families who operated the Prescott location over the course of years.

"We are thinking outside the box to provide people a glimpse into our colourful history," says Karen of the exhibit. She has been working on it for two years and says it evolved into an amazing journey with surviving local workers providing stories and items about the history of the building and glove making traditions in Prescott.

Learn more about Portolano on their new website, check out their Facebook page and see some of their reviews on TripAdvisor. Give them a call at 613-925-4242 or send them an email. Portolano is located at 840 Walker Street in Prescott.
Top feature photo: Karen Price of Portolano is surrounded by colour in the newly expanded and renovated outlet store in Prescott. Below: On Prescott's waterfront with Ally Armstrong wearing Portolano fashions and gloves.
Above photo: Portolano scarves and gloves in a rainbow of colours.
Economic Development Summit
Advanced Agenda now available!

Be part of the 2021 Leeds Grenville Economic Development Summit that attracts business and municipal leaders throughout the region. The advanced agenda showcases this exciting virtual event that had over 250 viewers enjoy last year – don’t miss out!

Recognized as the premier regional economic development event, this year will focus on how regionally we are gaining strength from within while also hearing about the top issues of housing and workforce. The morning will feature top notch speakers, followed by Leeds Grenville Food Network featuring meals prepared with local ingredients and an afternoon of chat rooms focused on funding opportunities for businesses and municipalities, attracting employees and small business programs available. In partnership with Michael Barrett, M.P., the Hon. Steve Clark, M.P.P., the Eastern Workforce Innovation Board and the 1000 Islands, Grenville and Valley Hartland Community Futures Development Corporation join this annual event.
Date: Friday, November 19, 2021
Time: 9 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. (webcast opens at 8 a.m.)
Registration: $15. Advanced payment is required.
Economic Development Leadership is critical and the following people will be recognized as nominees for the Bill Thake Memorial Award at the Summit with the winner announced live:

David Cybulski, Township of Augusta
Silvan and Yulrick Fernetich, Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands
Cathy Sheppard, Municipality of North Grenville
Ken Watson, Township of Rideau Lakes

Local Food Packages Available to order
In support of local food products, Counties Economic Development has partnered with My Local Markets to offer customized Leeds Grenville packages with numerous local food producer items. Packages are $25, $50 or $75 (including taxes and delivery) and will be delivered to the shipping address provided the week of November 19th. Order deadline is November 16th at 3pm.
For more information visit www.investleedsgrenville.com/summit2021, and for direct assistance call 613-342-3840 ext. 5362, or email Joanne Poll.
COVID-19 Business Update
Last week, Ontario shared their reopening plan that saw capacity limits increase in the majority of business settings with proof of vaccination. On November 15th the government intends to lift the remaining capacity limits in high-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required. Additional milestone dates have been set in 2022 for gradual lifting for proof of vaccination and the remaining public health and workplace safety measures. All of these are pending on concerning trends of identifying new COVID-19 variants, increased hospitalization and ICU occupancy.

The Government of Canada announced its targeted COVID-19 support measures to create jobs and growth. The Canada Recovery Hiring Program is proposed to continue until May 7, 2022. They are also proposing support measures for Tourism and Hospitality and Hardest-Hit businesses.
Business Awards
Paul Taggart and his mom Juanita Taggart accepting the Elizabethtown-Kitley Business of the Year Award at the Brockville Country Club on October 28th.
Taggart's Welding named
E-K Business of the Year
Taggart's Welding Inc. has earned the Elizabethtown-Kitley Business of the Year Award.

The award is presented by Township Council and the Economic Development Committee to recognize outstanding businesses within Elizabethtown-Kitley.

"My father Bill started this business over 50 years ago. It's a true family business. Without him, we wouldn't be here today," said Paul Taggart, who accepted the award along with his mother Juanita Taggart. Paul has led the company for the past 20 years.

Bill Taggart founded the company in 1968, first working out of his Spring Valley home before moving to the township's Business Park. Taggart's would soon become known as a premier welding and design company in Eastern Ontario with the motto "Built to Last."
Taggart's Welding specializes in stainless steel and aluminum welding, as well as customized and structural steel items, including railing types, for both residential and commercial projects. The company, which has even shipped work overseas, has completed many large projects at Parliament Hill and the Ottawa International Airport. They are located at 4505 Ferguson Drive.

Also nominated and recognized at the business luncheon were Kitley Grocery & Service Centre, owned by Lynn Kerr; Cedar Valley Golf & Country Club, owned by Rick Carr; and Dad's Barber Shop, owned by Michelle Papatzimas-Cowan. The awards were presented by Mayor Brant Burrow and Economic Development Committee Chair Gord McFarlane.
Prescott Business Owner earns Immigrant Entrepreneur Award
PRESCOTT - Marc Gomez Segu of El Rebost de les Mil Illes (The Pantry of the Thousand Islands) is the winner of the 7th Annual Leeds Grenville Immigrant Entrepreneur Award.

Marc was recognized at the Bridges to Better Business Conference hosted by the Leeds Grenville Small Business Centre on October 28th. The award is presented by the St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigrant Partnership Program to recognize and celebrate hard work and dedication within the business community.

Marc came to Canada seven years ago with minimal English. Owning his own business had always been a lifelong dream. Marc’s wife is also an entrepreneur with the shop Bonita Bold in Brockville and as a team they manage both businesses while raising two small children.

Marc has a background in Finance and Industry and showed great flexibility and dedication to switch into a Hospitality career in a new country.
Marc Gomez Segu is this year's recipient of the Immigrant Entrepreneur Award.
The pandemic created many challenges for Marc and he had to remain creative to keep his doors open. He changed his showroom into a gourmet food shop and developed a small outdoor patio for dining.

Marc's efforts have paid off and he is now receiving five-star reviews from customers from Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. Stocked with different olives, meats, cheeses, peppers, almonds, olive oils and other goodies, his store has become very popular with travelers on Highway 401. He offers plant-based options as well. Marc also continues to operate his import and distribution business European Quality Foods. Both businesses are located at 991 Industrial Road, Unit. D.

"Coming to Canada with minimal English, experiencing culture shock, raising a family, and running a business requires stamina, positivity and dedication and we applaud Marc for all of these things," said St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigrant Partnership Program Manager Melissa Francis.
A St. Lawrence College teacher reviews the results of a virtual reality (VR) welding test with a student at St. Mary Catholic High School at the special launch in October.
Mobile Skills Labs bring
Training right to Students
St. Lawrence College's (SLC) Mobile Training Labs pilot program with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario this fall was a success.

High school students had training aids brought to their schools. The first focused on the trades with welding, carpentry and electrical training. Students had a chance to use a stick welder, VR welding simulation and construct their own chairs using a number of power and hand tools.
The second Mobile Lab focused on wellness, including teaching about independent living, cooking and meal planning with simulations of food handling, nutrition, introductory cooking skills as well as cyber security. The trailer comes fully equipped and prepares students for future study and work in hospitality, manufacturing, cyber security and more.

"The two labs can be used to transport the equipment necessary to do a number of different training programs in remote areas," said Jamie Puddicombe, SLC's Manager of Skills, Training and Economic Development. "We can support workforce development projects for municipalities, upskill current staff right at an employer's place of work, train job seekers looking to gain new skills and work with the next generation of trade workers to develop skills and interest."

To learn more about the Mobile Training Labs contact Jamie via email or call 613-345-0660, ext. 3317, and visit the SLC+ website.
Digital Service Squad
$2,500 Digital Transformation Grants Available until November 30
Over 100 businesses in Leeds Grenville have received the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant to go online or improve their online presence. If you operate a brick and mortar business and pay commercial property taxes you may be eligible for the Grant that can be used for:
  • Developing or improving an existing website
  • Digital Marketing and assessment
  • Digital training
  • Purchasing graphic design, social media and security software
  • Digital accessibility compliance (AODA)
  • A point of sale system
  • Hardware (maximum $1,000)
Skyward Active Health Centre in Mallorytown is owned by Shannon Morrison. It offers a variety of services including physiotherapy, massage therapy, sports medicine, yoga and nutrition coaching.

“The Digital Transformation Grant has given me the opportunity to explore new avenues of marketing for my business. Through working with the Digital Main Street program, I have learned a lot about the digital world and how it can help to expand my business," says Shannon.

"The grant is providing me with some necessary funding to work on a promotional video about Skyward that will highlight the specialized services that we offer. Without this grant, I would not be able to explore this area of marketing. I am excited to see the positive growth that comes from this experience."
To discuss the Digital Grant and other services, contact:
Jim Hutton, Business Development Officer
Leeds Grenville Economic Development
32 Wall Street, Suite 300, Brockville, ON, K6V 4R9
Ph: 613-342-3840 ext. 5361 | Toll free: 1-800-770-2170; ext. 5361. email
Funding Opportunities
Ontario Tourism Recovery Fund deadline November 10th

The Tourism Recovery Program assists for-profit tourism businesses. These include hotels, inns, resorts, boat tours, breweries / wineries, motor coaches, sight-seeing tour operators, public golf courses, farm-based tourism attractions, live performance venues, cinemas, museums, and Indigenous attractions. The program funding will help businesses retain and create tourism jobs, and help them reopen and safely welcome back visitors.
Applicants must have experienced a decline of at least 50% of qualifying revenue in the reported 2020-2021 year (COVID impacts and related losses), compared to the fiscal year end of 2019 (pre-COVID baseline year) .
Full program details are available on the Ontario funding webpage.
Winter Experience Partnership Funding Applications Now Open

RTO9 is providing interim program funding for the creation or enhancement of winter experiences in the South Eastern Ontario region.

If you are an individual business operator with a great idea that will bring visitors to our region between November 2021 and March 31, 2022, you may be eligible to receive funding to help with your initiative.
This is a 50/50 fund that is matched by RTO 9 to assist with eligible costs associated with bringing these experiences to market. Costs can include (but are not limited to): equipment rentals, facilitator & performer fees, venue rental, and social media ad purchases.

To find out if your business or initiative qualifies, please contact Lori McIsaac at RTO9.

The online application deadline is November 19th. Winter initiatives must take place before March 31, 2022.
Workshops, Seminars and Webinar Library
Let's Talk About Branding

Your brand is not just your logo. It’s your voice, your story, your colours, even your business plan. Find out what you might be missing and how to tie it all together. This session takes the overwhelm out of filling in the blanks and helps you understand and love your brand! Who’s it for? Anyone in the planning stages of starting a business and businesses new or established.

You will learn the component and importance of a brand and why putting pen to paper helps brands succeed and grow. You will also review the Brand Anatomy Guide, use a brand checklist worksheet and learn how to to build your own collection of brand assets and brand collateral and the importance of using the right colours and typography. There will be a Q+A session. The session is hosted by the Small Business Advisory Centre (Smiths Falls / Lanark County / northern Leeds Grenville.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 16, 10-11 a.m.
COST: Free
Facebook Business Suite

Join the South Grenville Digital Service Squad and learn how Facebook Business Suite can save you time and optimize your customer reach for your business.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 17, 11 a.m. to 12 noon
COST: Free
Travel Trade for Tourism Operators

RTO9 hosts Destination Ontario's Sandra Rice on a session for operators that have worked in the travel trade and those who are interested in learning more. Sandra will cover how the pandemic has affected travel trade, and what to expect regarding demand for travel, group travel and FIT’s as the industry moves into 2022.

WHEN: Thursday, November 18, 10-11 a.m.
COST: Free
Hiring the Best People

This is part of the "Three on Thursday" Seminar Series presented by the Eastern Workforce Innovation Board. This session will focus on practical steps to hiring, training and retaining top performers. Presenter Dianne Reichenbach will review simple, actionable strategies that can be applied to any business during this one hour webinar.

WHEN: Thursday, November 18, 10-11 a.m.
COST: Free
Bookkeeping 101: What Business Owners Need to Know

The speaker for this session is Lynn Marsh of HealthyBooks. It will cover the difference between an accounting firm and a bookkeeper and how both are essential. The session is hosted by the Small Business Advisory Centre (Smiths Falls / Lanark County / north Leeds Grenville).

WHEN: Thursday, November 25, 9 -11 a.m. Online
COST: Free
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 November 16th edition should be received by Monday, November 8th.
  • Submissions for the November 23rd edition should be received by Monday, November 15th.
32 Wall Street, Suite 300, Brockville, ON K6V 4R9
613-342-3840 | 1-800-770-2170 | econdev@uclg.on.ca