News Local

Little Things opens its doors

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

It has been a busy and exciting time for Stacy Taylor.

Taylor, who took part in Pembroke's Win This Space contest earlier this year, moved her Little Things Canning Company out of her home and into a commercial space downtown, located at 96 Pembroke St. W.

She sells a variety of home canned goods and other locally produced items, as well as sandwiches, soups and other luncheon items out of her store, which includes a small cafe set up inside.

On Saturday, members of the Pembroke Business Improvement Area, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski and Mayor Michael LeMay stopped by to congratulate Taylor on her grand opening, which was marked with a ribbon cutting.

Yakabuski said he is pleased to see a new business in place, and was impressed with how it came to be, through the Win This Space contest. As part of the prize package,six months free rent was provided by the landlord Sleepwell Property Management, who also did about 90 per cent of the renovations at their cost to get the space ready.

“That's a really innovative and great way of promoting business,” he said.

LeMay also wished Taylor luck, saying it is the smaller niche stores which are so important to the vitality of Pembroke's downtown.

“Good luck and I hope things go well,” he said.

Taylor thanked everyone for coming and supporting her, from family and friends, her customers, the PBIA, the city and Pembroke's economic development officer Heather McConnell, for promoting the idea and being so encouraging.

“I never would be doing this if it wasn't for the contest,” she said.

The Win This Space contest, which ran from February to May, gave new entrepreneurs the change to get their businesses off the ground by offering rent-free commercial space in the downtown area, plus training in business basics.

The five contestants who took part attended three weekly training sessions in which they learned how to write a business plan, were taught the basics of financial planning for their business and lastly, how best to advertise and promote their business.

Each had to “sell” their business idea to a panel of judges at the grand finale held at Kerry's Place in May, and Taylor ended up being selected. As the grand prize winner, she won six-months free rent on a two-year lease along with a substantial prize pack from local businesses, including the Daily Observer.

Taylor said she had a vision and wasn't sure if it could be made to work, but the contest gave her the ability to try. She opened the business quietly a week ago, and so far things have been going well.

“I've been getting lots of positive feedback from the people popping in,” she said. “Folks are excited about how the downtown is going with all of these new shops appearing.”

Taylor said this coming week the building where they are located is going to have work done on its facade, but the Little Things Canning Company will remain open for business.

SUhler@postmedia.com