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Economic Development eNews | October 3, 2023

Business Profile

Top feature photo: Owners Steve and Kim Ferguson go the extra mile for a smile.

Above photos: A balloon structure for a 6th birthday party; the BGH Nurses' Alumni 100th Anniversary; a giraffe balloon cluster.

Party Spectacular Puts a Smile

on Your Face, Transforms Space


ATHENS - If you want to put a smile on a loved one's face, or transform an otherwise normal space, call Party Spectacular.


Kim and Steve Ferguson have been creating beautiful memories for people of all ages for more than 30 years and they're not slowing down any time soon. The couple love to make special occasions unforgettable - from weddings and birthday celebrations to grand openings and corporate events. They see their decorations and the atmosphere they create as something to take in with your eyes and feel with your heart.


“We are so thrilled to be celebrating 30 years in business in our community, and this is mainly due to our focus on establishing strong relationships with our long-time clients. We go the extra mile for people and this leads to referrals and ensures repeat business," says Kim.


Their services include special event decorating and party rentals. They are the place to go to book tables, chairs, linens, lighting and pop-up canopies. If it’s decorating you need, they can decorate your venue with different mediums. They are well known for their creative and stunning balloon décor, or they can make any room breathtaking with romantic organza fabric and lights. Linens and table decor are available in all colours with matching chair covers with sashes.


"We can transform a simple hall into an elegant venue," says Steve, adding today's lighting and decorating innovations have made it easier and more fun.


When they started the business in the early 1990s it didn't take long for it to snowball. In the first season, they decorated a total of twelve weddings. Ten years later they had a record of 12 weddings in just one weekend.  As young parents at the time, it was a bit overwhelming. Kim juggled two careers, and would have bridal appointments in the evenings. Times have changed and most product selection is done online and couples book, design and order everything through Kim using text and email. It is an efficient way of doing business and has allowed them more time to expand their rental line and take on more special events. 


Kim and Steve are proud of the fact that they have just booked their first third-generation customer this year on their 30th year in business.

"This family has granted us the opportunity to decorate their anniversaries, birthdays, their daughter’s and their son’s weddings and now their granddaughter is getting married in 2024," says Kim. 

"We have been truly blessed with wonderful loyal clients over the past 30 years and we want to thank them for their business. We are currently focused on expanding our event rental line for our area customers and we are excited for you to see what the next 10 years will bring.”  


Learn more about Party Spectacular by visiting their Facebook page and website. You can send them an email or call them at 613-213-2825.

Economic Development Summit

Ontario's new Minister of Labour Keynote Speaker at Ec. Dev. Summit

The Leeds Grenville Economic Development Office, in partnership with Michael Barrett, M.P., Steve Clark, M.P.P., the 1000 Islands, Grenville and Valley Heartland Community Futures Development Corporations and the Eastern Workforce Innovation Board, invite you to the region's top Economic Development event of the year. 

For this year's event, MPP Clark has invited the Honourable David Piccini, Ontario’s new Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. The Minister will give the keynote address at the Leeds Grenville Economic Development Summit on Friday, November 17th.

Minister Piccini is the Member of Provincial Parliament for Northumberland - Peterborough South. Prior to this appointment, he was Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks. Before entering public service, Minister Piccini worked for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The Honourable David Piccini is Ontario's Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

Join us for a day focused on Economic Development and Leadership and the presentation of the Bill Thake Award (Warden's Award).

WHEN: Friday, November 17, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

WHERE: North Grenville Municipal Centre, Kemptville

COST: $50 (Advanced Registration Required)

Learn more and register by visiting the Counties Invest site's Summit webpage.

To register

Business Awards

Pastry King's Princess

is Business of the Year

TOLEDO - Pastry King's Princess Owner Ingrid Van Dusen is the recipient of this year's Business of the Year Award.

She received the honour at the Elizabethtown-Kitley Township's Economic Development Committee luncheon held on September 28th at the Toledo Legion Branch 475.

"I'm still shaking," Ingrid said after the announcement was made before about 50 people, including United Counties Warden Nancy Peckford and award presenters Earl Pollack, Chair of the Committee, and Mayor Brant Burrow.

Pastry King's Princess Owner Ingrid Van Dusen, centre, with Committee Chair Earl Pollack, left, and Elizabethtown-Kitley Mayor Brant Burrow, right.

"For me this is all about my Dad. He would be so proud right now," she said. Ingrid's father, the late Roelof Hazelaar, started The Pastry King more than 60 years ago. Ingrid took it over when he became ill and has operated her bakery for nearly 30 years in the township. She continues the tradition of Dutch cookies, cakes and pastries made with European buttercream. Ingrid attended the event with long-time team member Anne Marie Ellis, who is famous for her squares and peanut butter balls.

Also nominated and honoured this year were King Arthur Woodwork Custom Cabinets and Millwork, owned by Nathan Mac Arthur, and Kitley Grocery & Service Centre, owned by Lynn Laming-Kerr.

The guest speaker for the event was Jeanette Johnston, Small Business Development Officer with the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Digital Opportunities

One Digital Grant Ends, Another Continues

The sun is setting on Round 4 of the $2500 Digital Transformation Grant for small businesses. The portal to accept applications closed on September 30th. We are thrilled with the uptake on this program, and are happy to see how more than $283,000 has already been provided directly to businesses within Leeds Grenville and the final number has not yet been tallied.

We would love to hear your digital adoption stories. Let us know how you spent the funds and the difference it made to your business by sending Cyndy an email.


The Canadian Digital Adoption Program for business continues. Apply for this $2400 Grow Your Business Online Grant that helps small and medium businesses adopt e-commerce or boost their online shop. With the focus on e-commerce, you can create a new e-commerce-based website, or boost functionality to your existing site by adding a booking tool, ordering system, e-payments or SEO. Hire a consultant to help with your strategies, that includes social media advertising, track and manage inventory, offer discounts, maintain loyalty and more.


Connect with our Digital Specialist to see if you qualify. Call 613-342-3840, ext. 5368, or send an email.

Connect with Us Today

Kemptville Campus

Greenhouse Rental / Community Kitchen Study, Public Meeting


KEMPTVILLE - Kemptville Campus Education and Community Centre (KCECC) is a non-profit corporation created by the Municipality of North Grenville (MNG) to maintain and renew the lands and buildings of the former Kemptville Agricultural College. Building on the site's agricultural and culinary heritage, the Campus seeks to contribute to the local agri-food system in new ways: These include:


1. Greenhouse space for rent: request for proposals (RFP)

Kemptville Campus is now accepting proposals for short-term and long-term rentals in the Campus Greenhouse. This facility offers a unique and versatile space, well-suited for a range of activities including food production, agricultural research, education and more. The Campus is keen to collaborate with tenants to foster sustainable agriculture, promote community engagement, and support our local food economy.  See their Greenhouse RFP and Greenhouse Presentation for floor plans, current and possible uses, and how to submit a proposal. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

2. Community Kitchen: Survey and public meeting

Kemptville Campus is investigating the possibility of creating a community kitchen. The proposed project would support small food businesses, farmers and community groups by retrofitting an existing building into a shared kitchen rental facility. Users could access licensed commercial kitchen space and equipment on a user-fee basis. Specialized training and business supports would further support growth and collaboration in the local food system. As part of the feasibility study, their consultant has launched a short survey to gather input from potential kitchen users. If you are a local food producer, processor or vendor, or a community organization interested in accessing kitchen space, they want to hear from you!


Complete the online Community Kitchen survey here

Public meeting: Learn more about the proposed project and provide input. 

WHEN: Monday, October 16th from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

WHERE: WB George Centre on campus.


For more information on either project, please contact Leela Ramachandran, Project Manager, Training and Local Food, via email.

Small Business

Starter Company Plus Final Information Session

The next cohort of Starter Company Plus starts in January 2024, with the application process beginning this month. This program, which is free to participants, offers a comprehensive package of support and resources to help you navigate the challenges of running a business successfully.

Watch the Video featuring Starter Co. Plus testimonials.

In order to receive an application for Starter Company Plus, you must attend the online Information Session. The session will help you determine if this program is right for you and your business. You will learn more about the program, eligibility, dates, and any other requirements. At the end of the session, you will be able to request an application.

Dates and information you need to know about the program will be given to you at the Information Session.

Deadline for the application will be at the end of October 2023.

Online Information Session Date: This Thursday, October 5, 4-5 p.m.

Register Here

For more information contact Carol Hardy via email or call 613-342-3840, ext. 5367, and visit the website.

Igniting Growth Conference

Mark your calendar for Thursday, October 26th and join Leeds Grenville - Small Business for a time of inspiration. Learn from industry leaders, connect with fellow business owners, and gain actionable strategies to propel your business forward.

The theme this year is "Igniting Growth Through Community" with keynote speakers Ruth and Lisa Lockett, owners of of Tim Hortons franchises in Prescott and Iroquois. They will be sharing insights into the steps they have taken to grow their business through the power of community. They will inspire you to think creatively and dream big for both area businesses and communities.

Build bridges to success and create a thriving business community. Don't miss out – reserve your seat now!

Learn more and register

Business Award

Augusta Township Calling for Business Award Nominations

Augusta Township is looking for nominations for its upcoming Business and New Business of the Year Awards event. Now is your opportunity to recognize a deserving business and be entered into a draw to win one of two gift cards.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, October 13.

For more information and the nomination forms, visit the township website.

Workshops, Seminars and Webinar Library

Employment Standards Act - What Employers Need to Know

Jason Bouchard, Acting Regional Program Coordinator for the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, Employment Standards Program, will deliver a presentation on Employment Standards for employers. This session will include a review and discussion of the major standards of the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the responsibilities of an employer, and the role of an Employment Standards Officer in an Employment Standards investigation and/or inspection. The webinar is hosted by the Small Business Advisory Centre (Smiths Falls/Lanark County/north Leeds Grenville)


Some of the topics covered will include:

  • Minimum wage - termination of employment
  • Hours of work limits
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Vacation
  • Public Holidays

WHEN: Thursday, October 12, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

COST: Free

Learn more or register

A Checklist of Things to Make Your Business More Accessible

This session hosted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce explores how to create accessible and inclusive workplaces with Canadian Workforce Innovation. Accessibility is how customers, clients and employees are able to access or reach services and workplaces. Making your business accessible is critical to reaching more clients, offering better service, and expanding the talent pool of potential employees. But what does this mean in practical terms? As a small or medium-size business how you will identify, and then accomplish your accessibility goals? Are the considerations for staff and patrons different, or do they overlap? Explore how accessibility can be improved throughout the hiring and employment process to interactions with customers, physical spaces, and communication in print and digital media.

WHEN: Thursday, October 12, 12-1 p.m.

COST: Free

Learn more or register

Brand Mastery & Social Strategy: Bringing Your Brand to Life on Social Media

This two-part workshop hosted by Leeds Grenville - Small Business features local marketing experts, Ryan Gencarelli and Lyndsay Bigley, will have you feeling re-energized about your online presence.

Build a Strong Brand:

Ryan leads this hands-on session to shed light on what branding is all about and will help you clarify your ideal customer. This is a must-attend session before sharing your brand with the world. There will be time allocated to actively work on your brand.

Social Media Content Planning

Building upon Ryan's branding session, Lyndsay Bigley's social media content planning session will help bring your brand strategy to life on social media. Create a library of engaging social media content ideas and unleash the power of AI to help streamline your social media processes!

WHEN: Thursday, October 12, 8:30-11 a.m.

WHERE: Grenville Mutual Insurance, 380 Colonnade Drive, Kemptville

COST: $25 per person

Learn more or register

Small Business Week Kickoff - Let's talk solutions for today's Business Challenges

Small Business Week is October 15-21. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is hosting online workshops. The kickoff event features BDC Chief Economist Pierre Cléroux and a panel of experts. They will discuss how low unemployment, an aging population on the brink of retirement and rising costs are just a few of the factors complicating today’s business environment. Canada’s entrepreneurs will need to modernize the way they work and develop key skills to succeed in a world where qualified workers will continue to be hard to find. You will be given four key skills you need to succeed today, the proven strategies to help your business hire and hang on to employees and the first step you should take to relieve understaffing.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 17, 2-3 p.m. Online

COST: Free

Learn more or register

Thinking Big, Supporting Small: Navigating Business Decisions with Data

Join BDC and The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Chief Economists as they explore the evolving business landscape and equip entrepreneurs and small businesses with the knowledge and confidence necessary to not only survive but thrive in this new era. Speakers include BDC Chief Economist Pierre Cléroux, Canadian Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Stephen Tapp and Senior Research Director Marwa Abdou.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 18, 12-1 p.m. Virtual

COST: Free

Learn more or register

Elevate Your Entrepreneurial Skills

Futurpreneur presents "Spark Your Entrepreneurial Skills: A Fireside Chat" in collaboration with BDC. Join in for an engaging conversation about the critical skills young entrepreneurs are required to have in the earliest stages of starting a business. Moderated by BDC Senior Business Advisor David Girolami, this fireside chat will feature a successful, young entrepreneur and their mentor, discussing the most important skills during the early stages of running a business.

Attend this event to discover:

  • How experienced business owners navigated the pre-launch and early stages of their business.
  • How to built the necessary skills
  • Leveraged mentorship in your entrepreneurial journey.

WHEN: Thursday, October 19, 1-2:30 p.m.

COST: Free

Learn more or register

ChatGPT & You - How to Leverage AI for Your Business

In a world increasingly driven by AI (Artificial Intelligence), it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to harness its potential. Speaker Adam Gibeau of Digital Dorsal will equip you with the knowledge and tools to revolutionize your business strategies. It is an eye-opening exploration into the power of AI. The session is hosted by the Small Business Advisory Centre (Smiths Falls/Lanark County/north Leeds Grenville).


What’s in Store:

  • Deep dive into applications and significance of AI
  • Practical insights into integrating AI for content planning, customer engagement and more
  • Expert guidance on leveraging the ChatGPT engine effectively
  • Uncover the potential of AI plugins, add-ons and other enhancements

WHEN: Thursday, October 19, 9-10:30 a.m.

COST: Free

Learn more or register

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 October 17th edition should be received by this Friday, October 6th.
  • Submissions for the October 31st edition should be received by Monday, October 23rd.
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Ann Weir
Economic Development Manager
Deanna Clark
Economic Development Officer
Joanne Poll
Administration / Communications Support
Shelbi McFarlane
Business Development Officer

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