People’s Choice Nominees

Congratulations to all of the nominees in the People’s Choice category.

Acquisti Life
All Purpose Towing & Auto Sales
Amethyst
Carousel
Costello Family Dentistry
Driveway Dave
Ewyn Weight Loss Studio
Lakeside Shawarma
Lanark County Food Bank – The Hunger Stop
Ottawa Mortgage Market – Mortgage Alliance
Taste Blooms
The Crafters Collective Company
The Marketing Station
Watersedge Massage Therapy & Wellness

Acquisti Life
“Debbie has brought to town a business that was much needed for fashion that can’t be found in big box stores. Her selection of vendors are chosen based on the environmental standards and social impact. She leads with Canadian brands and promotes shopping local including promoting many other local businesses in our town. Acquisti Life bring fashion, fun and fitness full circle as she has and out of store experience for her customers that incorporates her passion for cycling and has created a cycling club spoke junkie where her customers can join her on exploring the trails in our beautiful area. She has been a paramedic serving our community while starting this business and creating a space that is inclusive and welcoming. Debbie is a very fitting recipient of this award.”
“This store is constantly seeking to find suppliers that are eco friendly and environmentally sustainable with a focus on Canadian made brands whenever possible”
“Through the pandemic they did everything they could to support us and make us happy”
“Debbies store is a great place to shop for home decor and fashion. She goes out of her way to serve her customers and community. Through the pandemic she has even done home drop off for those that struggled with curb side pick up. Her fashions are fresh and fun while still being excellent quality.”

We asked Acquisti Life:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)

All Purpose Towing & Auto Sales
“Peter has done so much for the community with his toy drive year after year! After 20 years in business he has been the most consistent dealership in the area!”
“All Purpose Towing has excellent customer service and does an amazing job of raising an amazing amount of toys for Xmas toys honest abs realible company”
“Excellent customer service and very caring individual”
“Peter has a heart of gold. A great family man. His toy drive every year is amazing!”
“Family business – cousins who now work together providing quality service to the community they grew up in and love.”
“He gives his money and tine to the town and to people in need he should be rewarded for this no one gives more”
“Excellent customer service. Reasonable pricing.”
“Peter is selfless. The first one to give back to the community Toy drive, numerous sponsorships etc) or lend a hand while operating a successful local business.”
“All Purpose Towing has been has been giving to our town for many years supporting many organizations. His toy drive at Christmas this past year helped 635 families. This toy drive has been happening for 15 years and just gets bigger .Whatever donations brought in he matches weather it is toys or gift cards. Pete has now partnered up with another outstanding company “Driveway Dave” also known in town as “Super Dave” who also gives to our community by helping our food bank in many ways. Last Christmas he did a food drive bringing in truck loads of food and $5000. to feed the less fortunate. Each day he would park at different businesses music playing, his group of volunteer elves and Santa to make it fun for the children as well.. He requested donations to the food bank on his birthday rather than gifts. Bringing in close to $1000. I think this year these two teaming up will be dynamite for our town. They are the most selfless individuals and this town is lucky to have such a GREAT team. Anxiously waiting to see all the good this team will continue to bring to our town in the future. I believe they should both be recognized.”

1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
Our business is auto sales in towing we have been in business for 21 years here in Carleton Place where I was born and raised.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
We sell used cars boats we do 24 hour towing we provide financing and warranty on our vehichles.

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
We are a huge community supporter with hockey our huge annual toy drive etc.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for
clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
We love to go above and beyond for our customers and provide service they can trust.

Amethyst
“Evertime we go in this shop we are welcomed and it’s unique to our downtown. The customer service is top notch. Always clean, well stocked many choices for gifts and lifestyle”

We asked Amethyst:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
I run a small spiritual business. I’ve been in business for a little over a year, opened up February 2020 and Amethyst grand opening was March 14, 2020 just before the Covid19 lockdown. Amethyst is a spiritual store that offers a range of spiritual healing products and services for the mind, body and soul. We carry Salt Lamps, Incense, books, Crystal’s to name a few. I am the sole proprietor. I do however, have a few Alternative practitioners who work out of my store doing Reiki, Hot Stone Reiki, Readings in adjacent room. I myself also provide Reiki.
We also run workshops for meditation and psychic development classes.
We are definitely not your run of the mill store.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
My clients vary in age from the very young to those in their 80s. We have a little something that appeals to them all. We receive a diversity of clientele. Each customer that walks into Amethyst is on their own spiritual journey. Amethyst provides a safe space for our customers to talk openly without judgement about their own spiritual experiences and journeys. Each customer that enters our store Is special and unique with their own gifts. Our services also help our clientele with the healing process.
One of Amethyst most important achievements is staying open and making it through this pandemic. Learning quickly how to create online accessibility to our products. Amethyst grand opening was March 14, 2020 and we went into state of emergency March 16, 2020. Amethyst was a brand new business that has been able to keep the doors open throughout the pandemic and is now thriving.

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
My mission with the store is to help enlighten people to the various ways they can help themselves to grow, evolve and create peace and calm within.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
I keep my sanity by continuing to put my clients best interests first and what I feel they would look for in Amethyst.
This also motivates me as I put my best foot forward.
The feedback I receive is always positive, in that once people enter the store whether regular or browsers is the calm and zen feeling of the store.

Carousel
“Nicole from Carousel is the epitome of the word entrepreneur. She has put her heart and soul into her business and has grown it into one of the key businesses in downtown Carleton Place attracting local customers and those from nearby towns and cities. Carousel’s business model caters to all, being sustainable from its great quality and brand name consignment, to new products and local handmade products supporting other local artisans. Nicole did not miss a beat during Covid, she was in the store everyday working hard to shift her inventory, including thousands of consignment items which were made available online. Nicole utilizes all platforms of Social Media to promote her business, her brands and those local brands. Her hard work and success story have been featured by other organizations as inspiration for women and other small businesses. I could go on and on about Nicole and her passion for her business and her willingness to support her fellow business owners. Such a humble business owner she asks for no recognition however very much deserves some.

We asked Carousel:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
Carousel is a shabby chic children’s boutique in Downtown Carleton Place. We are a family owned & operated business since 2015. We work hard to stock our store with brands families love & trust….like Melissa & Doug, Little Buck, Jellycat, Calikids, Sunbum and the list goes on!
We are huge supporters of Local makers which we feature in our Shop. It gives makers a retail setting to display all their unique and amazing items which our customers love, we love and are proud to promote!
Carousel also has a large Consignment Boutique. We only offer the highest quality of previously loved clothing from Newborn-12Y, Ladies & Maternity.
All the brands you love for Less! Our consignment is looked through to ensure the highest quality, tagged, pictures taken, posted to our online shop, then put on the racks in the store.
https://www.carouselcp.ca/
We would love for you to visit us In-Store Monday-Saturday 10-5pm or Shop Online carouselcp.ca

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
We truly have the best customers! They have supported us from the very beginning, through all the Covid lockdowns, shopping online, buying gift cards and now more than ever showing us so much love & support that we are back OPEN for in-store shopping!
Customers are THE most important key to a successful business. How you nurture & treat them is vital in the growth of your business! We go above & beyond to make sure every interaction is one our customers will remember and tell their family & friends about!
Our customers are all so special to us and we are grateful for them all

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
This year was definitely more of a challenging year with Covid-19, lockdown after lockdown, new protocols to follow….we really had to adapt & adjust our life to accommodate these changes! I’ll be honest, we had good & sad days just trying to keep our family business going! My passion & determination made me work that much harder to make sure Carousel was still here for all my amazing supportive customers to Shop!
Carousel is what it is today because for our customers who have become friends and a dedicated family supporting my dream!
Some fun things that came out of this year…
Carousel was featured in a commercial organized by the Small Business Advisory Centre Smith Falls, Digital Main St. supported by the Government of Canada. You can find it on https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=259979875830962
So much fun creating this video with Ben, the producer…just being myself sharing a few of my favorite things from Carousel.
We were also featured on the OV Boss Babes Podcast. This was an amazing experience to share my story and to inspire other woman entrepreneurs!
Another way we helped right here in our community…a fellow business owner was diagnosed with cancer. We wanted to help! We contacted one of our suppliers who graciously donated an item we were able to raffle off. 100% of the proceeds went to help him & his family to help with the costs of treatment, gas, meals, etc.
We all need to be there and support each other!

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
Carousel is a destination and an experience! Service and the rapport we have with our customers set us apart from the rest!
We love getting feedback and hearing all the positive comments.
Carousel is a Family Business, so hearing how amazing my own children are at helping customers warms my heart. Being able to share my passion with my kids and teach them so many valuable life skills along the way is truly a blessing. All of our google reviews, Facebook reviews, personal messages & cards from customers truly show our hard works pays off!
Here is just one of many examples of our customer service…
A customer came in needing a “Big Sister”onesie made to announce she was pregnant with baby #2. She needed it by the next morning before 9am. We know how important these moments are and made it happen…we even dropped it off at her home by 8:00am!
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference in someones day.
As a Small Business we pride ourselves in offering personal service, going above & beyond for our customers!
Carousel has grown so much and is the Shabby Chic Children’s Boutique everyone loves because of all the love and support from our customers, our community and Family XO
We cant wait to grow our brand and continue our story with you all.

Costello Family Dentistry
“I believe that Costello Family Dentistry deserves recognition as Business of the year because in July 2020, in the mist of the COVID-19 pandemic, Costello Family Dentistry rose from the ashes and opened their doors for the first time as a new dentist office in town and provided emergency dental services to the community while following all government regulations.

With this being the third location, we have managed to develop a great platform when it comes to customer service. Costello Family Dentistry is constantly going above and beyond for our community by offering free dentistry to the community. In October 2020, Costello Family Dentistry hosted a free day of dentistry for the community during a pandemic because they understood the rising need. Costello also understands that not everyone can afford dentistry, which is why they pushed forward to offer free services during a pandemic. They will be offering this free day of dentistry again in September 2021.

Costello Family Dentistry has also offered the community an opportunity to apply for a chance to receive a $20,000 smile. That same opportunity will be given out this year as well. Both the free dentistry day and the smile giveaway are annual events that Costello Family Dentistry will continue to have.

Costello Family Dentistry is aiming to change the face of dentistry from a place people dread, to a place people love to go to.”
“Amazing team!”
“Excellent customer service. Staff are very knowledgeable and deliver quality treatment.”
“I believe this business deserves the business of the year nomination because it just opened in July 2020 right in the midst of the pandemic and yet after only it’s first year it has grown to the level of production of a typical dental office that’s been in business for 20 plus years. This is profound growth especially under onerous circumstances. It should receive the team of the year nomination because it’s the incredible team that has helped achieve this remarkable accomplishment. The people’s choice nomination is because the reviews of the business have been astounding and the growth wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t due to the excellent customer service and care.”
“I believe our dental office is very unique in that it has a great interior look, great service, and we give back to the community by hosting events like free day of dentistry.”

We asked Costello Family Dentistry:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
We opened our doors in Carleton Place in July 2020. Costello Family Dentistry is under the umbrella of Yazdani Family Dentistry. We have a total of three locations: Kemptville, Kanata and Carleton Place. Our first practice in Kemptville opened in 2001, our Kanata location opened in 2016 and Carleton Place in 2020.

Dr. Yazdani’s mission is to change the face of dentistry from a place people dread, to a place people love to go to.

Dr. Yazdani’s Vision is to have 5 dental practices each contributing to $500,000 of free dentistry each year. We started this initiative in 2011, and have since raised over $495,300 and it is growing exponentially each year. We accomplish this ambitious goal with various programs such as: bursaries to local high schools, sponsorships of various community events and charities, our annual Smiles on Us our free day of dentistry and our annual $20,000 Smile Giveaway.

Between all three practices, we have a team of 75 individuals. We offer a wide variety of services as a general dentist including cosmetic dentistry, crowns, implants, dentures and sedation.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
We serve a wide variety of patients including children and seniors. We pride ourselves in our core values which are: trust, integrity, excellence, kindness and customer service. As a result of this, we provide an exceptional experience at the dental office. We believe that this is the reason our patients choose us over other offices.

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
Despite the struggles of opening during a global pandemic, we are still meeting patients expectations and helping them with their dental needs. We are constantly striving to do better than we did yesterday and always looking to grow our team with the right individuals who will help us reach our ultimate goal of creating a great experience for our patients as well as providing free dentistry to our community. In particular to Costello Family Dentistry, both dentists are currently taking courses to be able to provide implants to our patient base.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for
clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
Our core values are the driving force in everything we do. Our mission states this best with how we are changing the face of dentistry to a place people love to go to. If you look at our reviews, our patients are over the moon with the service and experience they receive with us. Everyone is impressed with how we treat children and have been successful time and time again in turning fearful anxious patients into patients that feel calm and comfortable in our dental chairs. We will go above and beyond for our patient base to ensure their comfort and safety while they are with us.

Driveway Dave
“Opened his own business to help people find their dream vehicle – locally owned and operated after leaving a negative professional experience. Already successful and fun after such a short time out on his own!”
“A young man, from our town who goes above and beyond to help his customers obtain their dreams. Honest, reliable and super friendly. He has been outstanding at promoting and supporting local charity’s and continues to do so now having taken the leap to be an independent business man. Dave is followed on his new adventure by multitudes of past clients, all of whom trust and support him as he ventures into his new business. A truly service orientated young Carleton Place business man who provides personal attention and service to past and future customers, all while supporting many local charity’s and promoting our town in the most positive light.”

We asked Driveway Dave:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
I am an independent automotive sales representative. I have over 9 years experience in the automotive business. I currently have staff of 1 (me) I sell the vehicle, provide warranty and financing options. I use other local repair shops (NV Automotive, Rick’s Glass Medic) to recondition vehicles and support local. I can also work remotely and bring the vehicle right to your location! I would love to grow to have a staff of sales people in the next few years.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
My clients are amazing! They have supported me for over 8 years while I worked at a local dealership and many have followed me on my new adventure. I’ve been told they use my services because I am straightforward, honest and always go over and above. Any new clients can look forward to a one stop shop experience when buying a vehicle from me.

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
In 2020 I started working with Lanark County Food Bank and raised over $5,000 and filled 2 cube vans worth of food. I look forward to continuing my support of the Food Bank.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
I am locally raised and love being able to live and work in the town I grew up in. I have wonderful reviews from my clients on my Facebook page. My business is unique because I’m not like a typical dealership that hands your from the salesperson to the manager to the Finance Manager. You deal with me throughout the entire process. I can also bring the vehicle to you at your convenience once we have determined it is right for you by using photos, Zoom video or other forms of social media. I’m motivated to grow because I truly love what I do and my clients over the years have become friends. I am so honored to be nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year!

Ewyn Weight Loss Studio
“Carol and her team work tirelessly to provide a fun and engaged program to their clients. They are making a real difference in the personal health of the members of our community and they all do it with commitment and energy. They believe in the program they deliver and approach their customers with empathy and understanding.”

We asked Ewyn Weight Loss Studio:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
I opened Ewyn Weight Loss Studios CP in October 2018. I had been in the dental field for over 25 years and to make a long story short, I left because I was in a minor car accident and needed to find something a little less hard on the body. I heard of Ewyn Weight Loss Studios through a family member in southern Ontario who introduced me to some of their products which eventually lead to me following their program and changing my life! I love what I do because, as with dental hygiene, I get to help people improve their health while getting to know them on a more personal level. I started out with 1 staff member. I had thought of a few friends whom I knew might be ready for a career change and whom I felt would be an asset to my team. I did not want anyone who was not passionate about the job and doing it as a favour to me, so I just approached each friend with the intent to share my excitement and see how they respond. Two were very happy for me. Joanne on the other hand, a friend of mine since childhood, became just as excited as I was, and asked if I was hiring. It was my first major business decision after buying the franchise and is the reason we are such a success today! My next best decision came a year later when I hired Stacey, a client who along with Joanne, has been flexible, adaptable, dedicated, and loyal to me and our clients. They come in early and stay late to accommodate and are just an amazing team! We are ready to grow again and are searching for my next best decision! Lol

We went from helping 40 clients when COVID started to more than doubling that number. Not only have we supported our clients weight loss goals by providing them with real food meal plans to follow, supplements and products to support healthy weight loss and guidance on how much exercise to do for optimal results within our program but we’ve also been a safe place for people to drop in or schedule phone calls during what has been a very lonely time for many during the pandemic.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
Our clients are men and women of all ages who are feeling unhappy or unhealthy because of weight gain. From 10 lbs to lose to more than 300, the toll it takes on our mental health to not feel good about ourselves can be devastating. There are many reasons why someone may have gained more than they ever intended and getting rid of it when you don’t know much about nutrition vs exercise can make it extremely frustrating. At Ewyn Studios, we have an equation set out that makes it easy to see results. It involves 4 main pillars, a meal plan, one to one dietary coaching to adjust the plan as we see how your body responds, supplements to help the body function optimally and guidance on what type of exercise to do to see results. When you follow these 4 pillars, we can guarantee your weight loss! Our plan is a lifestyle change and it is so exciting to see clients embrace the changes necessary and watch their self-confidence grow as they achieve results they often didn’t believe were possible! It gives me goosebumps every time!

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
The last year has been a trying one for sure but through it all my staff and I have been so grateful to have been able to continue serving our clients pivoting to online when needed but continuing to grow when so many others were not able. Whenever we struggled to adjust and were tired or unsure how to make it work, hearing our clients express how much they needed us kept us motivated to find ways to improve and create systems to make it work in a more sustainable way. In doing so, we managed as a new franchise under the corporate umbrella, to remain in the top 5 monthly across Canada since part way through our first year, winning awards of recognition for second and third place overall for 2020 and 2021 respectively as well as an award for an outstanding staff member! We will be celebrating our third anniversary on October 18th!

Ewyn studios International is responsible for creating our products to assist in the success of our clients. Each year new products are added to our retail wall based on the feedback of the franchisees about the needs of our clients. For example, we have protein powder which helps for those who struggle to eat enough protin, BCAA’s to help maintain muscle mass during weight loss and help in muscle recovery when doing exercise, digestive enzymes for those with gut or absorption issues, magnesium to help improve bowel movement, sleep slimmer to help get into your recovery sleep, pre-workout, vitamins and omega 3’s and the list goes on. These are considered optional to our program and are available on an as needed basis. Anyone can come in and purchase from our retail products, but we do have a few special weight loss products reserved for our weight loss clients. Our newest product is being released this week and is Adrenal support!

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
The reason I think our business is so exceptional is because focussing on improving their health gives our clients a sense of control in at least one aspect of their lives in a time when we are overwhelmed with the pandemic. You just need to look at our Facebook page to see how inspirational and life changing this can be. Our clients thank us regularly for being a safe place to learn, for having the tough conversations they may not have wanted to hear at the time, for not giving up on them when they would have been ready to quit, for coming in early or staying late to be sure they can be coached, for calling and texting them for missed appointments because we care about their success but most amazingly for changing their lives! To hear they can now get on the floor to play with grandkids and get back up, no longer need an extender belt on an airplane, wedding bands fit again, fit back into a favourite article of clothing, to run a 10 k with fiends, improved intimacy with partner now that she’s comfortable in her skin and so many more! We have clients eager to put their journey on Facebook so they may inspire others to do as they’ve done because they realize the impact it can have. Our business has grown mainly from referrals from clients and there is no better compliment than that!

Lakeside Shawarma
“This buisness gives so much to the community.Moe and his staff are generous and friendly.”
“Extremely polite and respectful staff. Excellent product every time.”

We asked Lakeside Shawarma:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
We are a family owned business specializing in Lebanese food; more specifically Shawarma. We have been operating for 6 years and counting!

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
We take pride in our customer service and really getting to know everyone who supports us. We have many customers’ orders memorized because we truly take the time to listen to them, and get to know them!

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
It has been a tough couple of years for many… but we are thankful to have stayed afloat during this time. Before the pandemic started, we had fixed up the restaurant with new upholstered chairs, middle eastern decor and more. We did not expect for a lockdown just a few days later, until now. Through all of this, we are so thankful and grateful that we have still been in business.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for
clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
I would say what sets us apart from other businesses would be that it isn’t just about our delicious food. We have formed many friendships with our amazing customers. We have seen their children as babies eventually start school. We have seen new couples eventually celebrating their wedding. It truly feels like we are one big family and we love every single one of them!

Lanark County Food Bank – The Hunger Stop
“I joined this team in March 2020 and continue to be awed. From the network of donations pick up drivers; the warehouse workers; client shoppers; the Board members; the cleaning staff; the gardeners; the manager; the fund raisers to the client delivery drivers, this hard working team is committed and dedicated to helping many in our community. They take the time, they share a smile, a moment and lend an ear in support to those in our community who reach out to them.”

We asked Lanark County Food Bank – The Hunger Stop:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
The Lanark County Food Bank – The Hunger Stop has been in operation since October 1988.
Our Vision is short and sweet – Communities without Hunger. Our Mission is to provide safe and nutritional food assistance to persons in need through donations, fundraising events, and by collaborating with community partners.

On a monthly basis we see an average 620 clients – 38 per cent of which are children. The goal is to supplement food requirements on a monthly basis – a typical order includes enough food for five days for each family member.

The Hunger Stop covers a large geographic area – Carleton Place, Mississippi Mills (Almonte, Clayton, Blakeney, Pakenham, Appleton & White Lake), Beckwith (Franktown & Ashton), and Innisville.
We have one full-time manager, a very hands on board and about 120 volunteers who put in almost 1,000 hours per month at the storefront, warehouse and farm.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
Our client is anyone who needs food and finds their budget has run out. They are generous of heart and short of funds. Countless times we hear them say that they don’t need a certain item and would like to leave it for someone else who needs it more than them. They are part of the community and, those who can, lend a hand when the Hunger Stop puts out a call for volunteers.

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
As if managing the Hunger Stop through Covid-19 wasn’t enough – including actually moving to 84 Mill St. in March of 2020 – the Lanark County Food Bank also applied for and received funding to start our own organic farm on a two acres of donated land in Blakeney. The harvest to date tops two tons and we have yet to start weighing squash.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
What makes the Lanark County Food Bank unique is its volunteers and the huge community support we receive. Whether through time, funding or food and garden produce donations – the Hunger Stop enjoys an abundance of support that creates a strong foundation from which to serve the community. We can not say Thank You enough!

Ottawa Mortgage Market – Mortgage Alliance
“This year has been a challenging year for the mortgage industry as the need to navigate new legislation and rule changes to mortgages became difficult and the COVID restrictions called for new ways to conduct business. Many people in our community have experienced difficulties from the effects of COVID and the team at OMM has helped countless people get back on track without judgement and with tremendous patience and understanding.
This year the team grew considerably to include 7 agents and 2 full-time office administrators.
It can be an overwhelming time for many and this team continues to provide their essential service without fail.”
“Donna often works with young people and/or people in difficult financial situations and she consistently, without effort, provides the highest customer service.
Donna has always provided this high level of service, but since the the onset of the COVID economy, many families, business owners and individuals have suffered tremendous financial strain. Many people have suffered extreme anxiety, stress, and emotional struggle through this very difficult time. Donna’s ability to put people at ease given her natural character to be empathetic and patient, coupled with her true talent for financial strategy, experience and financial expertise has resulted in word spreading and her business to grow.
Donna’s expertise and experience has provided her the skills and knowledge to navigate new mortgage rules and ever-changing lender rules to find strategic and creative strategies of recovery for those whose financial survival, sometimes, depends on it.
Donna has a history of giving much of her time and financial support to her community. Her never ending support of the business community is clear with her nearly 15 years on the Board of the Chamber. She supports 100 Women Who Care of Lanark County, and countless other smaller community organizations with worthwhile causes.
On top of rating in the top 5% in all of Canada, of successful mortgage agents in Mortgage Alliance, Donna provides mentorship, training and support for 6 other mortgage agents on her team. Some who are new and others who are seasoned. She is respectfully regarded in her industry and has grown her business and team exponentially this year.
Newgate180 Addiction Solutions faced a difficult mortgage dilemma as a not-for-profit and even though we are a treatment centre, we get classified as a group home with lenders, which is not always a benefit. The demand for our services has dramatically increased during COVID and addiction, anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. Donna took the stress and anxiety away and found a fantastic solution so that we could focus on providing the service of those in need. She not only found multiple mortgage solutions, which gave us choice, but one in particular with a great rate and favourable terms.
This year, especially, Donna has earned the title of Business of the year with her company Ottawa Mortgage Market Team.
I along with my Board is tremendously thankful!”

We asked Ottawa Mortgage Market – Mortgage Alliance:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
The Ottawa Mortgage Market – Mortgage Alliance was originally a sole proprietorship and incorporated this year. The business has existed since October 2012 and began with one agent. Over the past 9 years, the business has grown to included 7 independent mortgage agents in total and 2 full-time office administrators. One administrator is a staff member and one is a contractor.

The Ottawa Mortgage Market provides sound financial/mortgage advice to all members of the community.
The team members provide counsel on topics such as mortgages for property purchases, mortgage renewals, debt strategy using home equity, credit recovery using short term alternative lending strategies, private mortgage investment, commercial mortgages, reverse mortgages, construction financing and personal financial coaching.

It is our mission to guide our clients to a better financial position by leveraging their investment in their homes and income properties.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
Due to the vast and varied list of services we offer, our clients really are everyone in the community. We have coached many first time home-buyers in a strategy to get into their first home; provided aging seniors with an option to stay in their home; assisted countless buyers to upsize; saved clients from losing their homes; relieved the stress of over-extended credit and avoided the risk of bankruptcy; and provided many people with alternative options for investing in private mortgages.
Our clients do business with us because we are transparent and communicate in plain and clear language easy to understand. We are patient and understanding, empathetic, non-judgemental and knowledgeable.
Our team of agents is made up of varying years of experience, but when there is one of us, there is all of us working on a file.
Our clients will report that we respond quickly and we strive to have every client feel like their file is our only file. Our clients appreciate being kept up to date on the progress of their file and in return our clients are very responsive to work with.
We feel that providing our service to our community is to give back to those who give to us.

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
This year was a pivotal year in our success. The business incorporated, grew in agents, doubled the number of clients served and has achieved Regional President’s Club status with year to date results in the top 5% of Mortgage Alliance – the largest brokerage of mortgage originators in Canada.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
The Ottawa Mortgage Market is unique in their approach to finding solutions and engaging with clients. We are highly responsive, and relentless to find the best, most economical solutions for our clients. Other mortgage agents/brokers often find the easiest solution which is not always the best solution. We don’t quit until the best solution is found. We tirelessly search for lenders for difficult cases.
The members of this team are motivated by the satisfaction of our clients.

The smiles, the relief, the achievements that our clients feel; we feel. We earn a living doing our job, but we are fulfilled by what we do for the lives of our clients.

Client Google reviews:

‘I connected with Donna in 2016 to see about becoming a home owner. She told me exactly what I needed to do, was honest that it would take some time. She explained everything in great detail and always made herself available to talk and answer question. 5 years later, I am a home owner. Without her help I wouldn’t be able to say this. There is so much involved, so many hoops to jump through, and all in an immensely competitive market. She helped get me here AND she got me the best mortgage rate.’

‘I have 2 sons that recently purchased properties and we were referred to Donna McDonald from a friend of ours. We were extremely pleased at the level of service which we received. The mortgages took a lot of time to secure and finalize due to the nature of the properties but Donna and her staff were there with my son’s best interests in mind. They are extremely knowledgeable in the mortgage business, and I would not hesitate in referring them to anyone that I know.’

‘We were tremendously impressed with our experience working with Donna and her team- in the process of renewing our Mortgage. Donna secured a favorable interest rate and terms, she and her team were professional, engaging, responsive and effective in all aspects of their respective roles. Very quick to respond to questions, patient with explaining process, strategic in dealing with institutions and on target with all commitments. As a business owner, I value this type of professionalism and have a keen eye for competence and excellence. Donna and her team exemplifies the very best of business excellence. Support local businesses! Particularly when they offer superior service over the larger competition. Obviously, we recommend Donna and her team highly.’

‘Donna is theeee BEST!!!(and her assistant Christa is awesome too!) As a first time home owner it can be a very overwhelming time. Donna has the knowledge to put that stress at ease and reassures you of any insecurities you might have. She treats you like family and always has your best interest at heart. I have and will continue to recommend Donna.’

Taste Blooms
“The service and products produced at Taste Blooms are top-notch.”
“Great products and amazing customer service.”

We asked Taste Blooms:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
The Pastry Shop & Eatery was opened during COVID on June 11, 2020 (the business came into existence in 2017, catering, Farmer’s Markets, teaching, and working with individual clients. I have always been a “foodie” (trying most foods, at least once) and like the idea of having a small business in a community that offers delicious, quality, and varied items. Our products reflect my “foodie” nature, a Le Cordon Bleu education, and nostalgia items from a variety of contributors.
Our shop is staffed by me and Mark (husband), and we have had an amazing team over the short while that we have been open (Cassidy, Shelley, Madison, Shayla, Morgan, and Deb). Our staff numbers will increase or decrease depending on supply and demand.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
Our clients are everyone who accesses our shop; they are the cornerstone of our business, and they are all important to us. They range from a coffee/treat on your way to work, lunch on the go/meeting a friend, meals for lunch/dinner, cupcakes/cakes/specialty items for gifts, birthdays, no reason, showers, weddings, COVID events, or just a chance to get a moment to themselves. They are important to us because they are people (ok, well some are dogs…we love dogs! but unless they are service dogs, we do ask them to wait outside).

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
This year, we won the Reader’s Choice Platinum Award in two categories (Best Cakes/Cupcakes and Best Bakery) and have been nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year and People’s Choice Awards (we are so appreciative of all this support!). Our other super important achievements are that we are still in business (amidst the craziness of COVID and building a house since May 2021) and supporting the community where possible (Annie Ferguson, James Patchell, local hospitals (staff appreciation), Cookies for Johnny (with Country Ridge), Gift Certificates – charitable events, Cupcakes for LAWS on National Cupcake Day, Hanging Coffee Program, Carleton Place Youth Centre, The Hunger Stop).

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, the feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
What motivates us is that get-togethers, holidays, celebrations, special events keep life in balance – they require us to socialize, to celebrate and appreciate life, and to create memories for ourselves and others, and food is often a big component of that. We have been overwhelmed with (mostly) amazing feedback…ranging from how we saved someone’s wedding event (the previous caterer is no longer in business) to gratitude for a last-minute cake for a gentleman’s wife, who is now in care. Enough said! Good food is important!

The Crafters Collective Company
“The Crafters Collective Company has a vast array of local handmade crafts in Carleton Place She opened up during a pandemic to help LOCAL makers due to the pandemic there was not any crafts shows or markets The Crafters Collective helped.them by not taking a.commission or charging any rent during the holiday season 100 percent went directly to the makers to help during the pandemic That deserves my vote”
“This cool , trendy, collective store offers everything different and locally made to residents near and far. I enjoy their pop up Christmas event.”
“The owner’s name is Jennifer Lang. I have personally watched her build this business and put her all into it. She is an incredibly hard worker and always puts everyone’s needs first – including have proceeds donated off her new line. She would be the perfect candidate for this award.”

We asked The Crafters Collective Company:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
The Crafters Collective Company began as A Holiday POP UP SHOP last November. We spotted this little space for rent on Bridge St, and decided to rent it and set start- up a little holiday shop to support Local Crafters and Mompreneurs as the pandemic had cancelled all handmade markets and craft fairs. We volunteered our time for six weeks and had so much fun meeting and greeting so many lovely people. What started as a way to give back to our community and support local makers by giving them 100% of the money made on their sales during a very difficult year in business. Has emerged into fun, friendship and the true spirit of kindness and community. We met so many amazing, talented artists. Had the pleasure of serving many local families and was sad to see it end after Christmas. But then the community spoke and we listened, they wanted us to stay. So The Crafters Collective Company was born.

We sell local handmade goods, apparel, condiments,baking and tea. This fall we are launching our own brand of apparel Hometown Clothing Co, a line of casual apparel representing our home town of Carleton Place and its history. I am a hometown girl, having left Carleton Place for a year to live in the big city. Coming back to my hometown was like a big warm hug. That is the feeling that you get wearing our high quality Hometown apparel. My goal is to become a must stop shop when exploring our downtown and to continue to offer local makers a space to highlight their creations.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
We have the greatest clients at The Crafters Collective Company. We offer both storefront and online shopping, so our customers come from many locations, it is so exciting to ship out a maker’s creations to another town, city or province. We get the warm fuzzies when a client sends feedback about how excited they are to receive their package. It is always nice to have locals pop in to the shop to pick up a gift or restock soap or hot sauce, it always ends up to be a 20 minute chat session. We have the pleasure of spending our days learning about their families, kids, travels, stories and so much more.

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
One of our biggest achievements was to open a shop during a pandemic, it had its challenges with shut downs and lack of sales during the shutdowns. However, we did learn how to get our maker’s goods online in a timely manner. An unexpected learning curve of sorts. Financially the first year of business is always a bit of a challenge but the pandemic added to the challenges, but we survived. We were blessed to find the perfect staff at the perfect time. Allowing me to spend some time planning and launching our Hometown Clothing Co brand. Being recognized by our community with the nominations for Entrepreneur of the year and People Choice is the highlight of the year, I am full of gratitude.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
What is exceptional about our business is the makers and mompreneurs that we have the pleasure of working with every day and supporting them to achieve their goals. We often hear feedback from our customers about the quality and workmanship that our makers put into everything that they create. Our motivation and what makes me excited to come to work everyday is to promote their hard work and to work with our makers to provide a space that they feel supported, promoted and appreciated. One of the greatest strengths of any business is the quality of the goods and the customer service excellence of the staff, creating a shopping experience for our valued customers. We love to chat about how this maker buys old tshirts to create teddy bears and the veggies to make this sauce were grown in Ashton and so many other stories. I think that The Crafters Collective Company is blessed to have both and we are so grateful.

The Marketing Station
“Lisa does so much to promote local events and business. Dispite the pandemic, she was able to keep her business and the businesses she promotes alive and relevant.”

We asked The Marketing Station:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
I am an experienced marketing professional with a passion for helping businesses connect with their customers. I started my company in 2014 after spending 14 years marketing the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club. I am a sole proprietor but often collaborate with my trusted and talented pool of sub-contractors to help complete projects.

The Marketing Station specializes in social media management and marketing consulting. I assist business owners by ensuring that responsibilities related to advertising, promotion, branding, customer relationship management and communications are dealt with effectively so they can concentrate on operating and growing their business.

Building a brand and reputation using social media requires knowing how to build relationships with an audience, targeting those most interested in your service or product, and encouraging engagement with the brand. The Marketing Station has the experience and resources to develop and maintain the presence your business needs and to create a positive and active community for your brand.

My short-term goal is to engage in more local networking events and my long-term goal is to increase my market share in the Lanark County area.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
I continue to grow the popularity of clients like the Waterfront Gastropub, Absolute Comedy, Your Credit Union, Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care Inc., Victory Travel & Events and Tiffany Fisher Real Estate.

Most of my business comes from referrals or word of mouth which is a true compliment to the quality of my work. I take great pride in building relationships with my clients and I am totally committed to helping them achieve their goals.

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
The Covid-19 crisis turned our world and work upside down but even with the new frustrations, I managed to survive and thrive during this new normal. I kept to a routine that kept me focused, motivated, and de-stressed. I examined the opportunities available and pivoted my focus, putting more energy into connecting with fellow business owners and digital transformation. I set small, achievable goals at the start of each day, and some long-term goals too, like researching how to adapt and grow my business. I had fun connecting with fellow Carleton Place Chamber members through the 26 coffees program and ultimately kept busy and positive.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
I take great pride in being resilient, professional and resourceful. I secure mutually beneficial business and personal relationships, understanding that without such arrangements, nothing productive can be achieved over the long term. My business relationship choices are important to me and I make sure to not only meet but exceed client expectations.

My clients have described me as impressive, focused, a great investment for their business, reliable, trustworthy, professional, observant, innovative, creative and a pleasure to work with.

Watersedge Massage Therapy & Wellness
“The team at Watersedge are outstanding, each one offering a different expertise.
Reiki, reflexology, prenatal massage, acupunctured, hot stone. and deep tissue massage are just a few experiences that they offer. The clinic has work hard during the pandemic to make their team and clients safe and keep them healthy. The clinic offers online booking which makes it easy for everyone to book. The team has many years of combined experience and are constantly upgrading and learning. Watersedge is a community player raising money over the year for local charities and people in need. Watersedge team will help you relax, get some balance or relieve muscle pain the team! They are awesome!”

We asked Watersedge Massage Therapy & Wellness:
1. Tell us about your business (what do you do, how many years, how many staff, what are your products and services, goals and ambitions)
WatersEdge is definitely the little clinic that delivers big! We have been open for 3 1/5 years now, although we collectively have over 40 -some experience between us!
We offer a vast array of Registered Massage Therapy services,as well as Reiki/Reflexology and Indian Head Massage. We also offer WatersEdge bath and body products ( bath salts & bombs, muscle balm, lavender eye pillows etc) as well as RockTape and Yoga Balls for working out those muscle knots
There are 3 RMT’s on site Michele Eno RN, RMT; Dawson Webb RMT, Brittany O’Brien RMT ( she’s also a Doula !) and Linda MacFarlane who is a Reiki Master and Certified Reflexologist.
Our goal is to provide a safe and welcoming environment and the best, most effective treatments possible.

2. Tell us about your clients (who are your clients and why do they use your services, what makes them important/special for your business?)
Our clients come from far and wide; many from Kanata, Smiths Falls and Almonte. We even have a couple from Renfrew and several who arrive from the UK to visit family and their visit is not complete without at least two trips for massage with us
The majority of our business comes from referrals, which is the highest compliment we can imagine. Not only are these personal referrals, but as well we get some from local family doctors, chiropractors and dentists ( TMJ treatment)

3. Tell us about your important achievements this year (ie. awards, recognition, new products, job creation, community involvement, keeping your sanity)
This past year we were nominated for and received the Readers Choice Award, Diamond Level in 3 categories !! Best Massage Clinic, Best Massage Therapist Dawson Webb and Best Alternative Health Practitioner Linda MacFarlane.

4. In your opinion what is exceptional about your business and what do your clients say/tell you about your business? (what makes your business unique, how do you go above and beyond for clients, feedback you get from clients, what motivates you to continue, milestones and achievements)
Clients have told us that they love coming to see us and refer us because we provide a warm, safe and welcoming environment. That they feel comfortable and not judged and feel a sense of calm and relaxation upon entering the clinic They like the fact that we offer so many different types of treaments; both relaxation ( Hot Stone, Specialty Spa) and Injury related, along with Reiki and Reflexology. Also that we provide lots of Complementary treatments, such as ultrasound, acupuncture, taping and cupping. Some clients have also mentioned that they love the fact the fact that you can see any of us, we are not “proprietal ” in our care. Having a mix of ages and both male and female therapists has also been mentiond and that we all offer something unique in our treatments.
Our extremely easy to use ONLINE BOOKING system is also a big hit! We offer Seniors and Verterans Discount, Gift Certificates and Dawson offers Direct Billing. One of the hallmarks that sets us apart is that you will receive the treatment and the pressure that you want, not what we decide you want. We truly prefer you to get immediate benefit from your treatment, not spend two days just recovering from it!

We are continually upgrading our skills and thinking of new, exciting treatments. We hope that within the next few months to be able to offer Aromatherapy Massage and early next year, have an onsite Registered Aromatherapist ( Michele). Linda has recently added a 2 hour Total Zen treatment that is hugely popular and once the Covid restrictions ease, we will able to proceed with the 30 minute Stress Buster Massage that we were working on pre-pandemic..

Twice a year we run campaigns to raise money for the Lanark Food Bank, The Hunger Stop. Last December we were able to donate more than double the previous campaigns, something we are very proud of.

Except for the first lockdown for 10 weeks, we have been open during the Covid pandemic. Despite being open 7 days a week, most weeks, we have a long waiting list, which is why we hired another therapist, Brittany O’Brien this past July to help us keep up with the demand. Each therapist brings their own unique talents, experience and personality and it works beautifully. I feel very blessed to work with such fabulous people and we all appreciate our wonderful clients so very much

Our Motto is … relax…renew…revive…and we look forward to having the opportunity to offer it to you!