Blog Archives

Sustaining a Community takes Commitment – Raleigh, NL

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Raleigh is home to the awe-inspiring Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, boasting over 300 plant species with 30 being rare. The Burnt Cape cinquefoil is found exclusively on the Northern Peninsula, as it is the only place in the world where this species grows. The Provincial Government of Newfoundland & Labrador has failed to live up to its obligations when it eliminated all interpretation at this Reserve. It has also neglected to install appropriate signage, develop educational material such as guidebooks and panels to preserve, educate, maintain road infrastructure and make available our natural areas to interested parties. These short-sighted decisions by Government impact and harm our rural communities. Where is Government’s commitment?

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Additionally, rural communities are facing pressures from out-migration, aging population and changes to the dynamics of the economy that sustained them since their beginning all across the globe. Sustaining our small towns takes commitment and I see that in entrepreneurs Marina and Ted Hedderson  of Raleigh, NL.

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Yesterday, I was amazed by the creativity, commitment and desire to see the Town of Raleigh with a population of less than 200 survive and thrive. The current owners have been running Marina’s Mini-Mart & Gas Bar since 2001. They saw an opportunity to get into the accommodations business to compliment the neighbouring Pistolet Bay – Provincial Park, which is typically at capacity for tents and RVs throughout the season.

I was given a tour of the cottages, which include 4 two-bedroom, 3 one-bedrooms and a newly added vacation home that has the most incredible ocean view. The vacation home is very spacious and family focused with two queen and a twin bed, laundry facilities, BBQ and a view you won’t want to leave. The two bedroom cottages are very immaculate, offering two queen beds, laundry and wooden finished interior. The three one-bedroom cottages have leather furniture and laundromat access, but the best feature is that they sit with a breath-taking ocean view from a large deck to sit and enjoy your morning coffee or evening beverage. There is an entertainment area for evening fires right at water’s edge. There 4-star accommodations are priced at an incredible value, ranging from $109-169.

The Burnt Cape Cafe is a must if you are in the area. It truly understands the importance of experiential tourism. The Cafe takes lobster to a whole new level of fresh. The patrons, if they choose can go to the local wharf and select their own lobster and get their photos taken before and after. An incredible experience!

After stepping into the cafe, my attention was immediately drawn to the back which includes a comfortable seating area, big screen television playing traditional Newfoundland music and I thought was a great place to sit and relax. They also know the value of WiFi, which is provided for free.

The original six hockey jerseys are proudly displayed as in the off-season this area becomes on Monday nights, open to the dart league.  There is a wide-selection of crafts, souvenirs and other products. I purchased a Mummer’s shot glass, as I love the jannies.

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The Newfoundland tartan on the tables is a nice touch to compliment a menu that caters to those who love high-quality seafood dishes. I was treated to some phenomenal chowder, it comes highly recommended to start. It comes with generous portions of salmon and cod, great creamy flavour that is amplified with a touch of cheese melting as you eat. As a main, I’ve had pan-seared scallops and shrimp in garlic butter that would melt in your mouth with Parmesan mashed potatoes that kept you wanting more. To top the meal off, the deep-fried ice-cream was superb. The rich coating ensured the ice-cream was cold and in tact while I slowly enjoyed this treat drizzled with bakeapples. If you have not eaten at the Burnt Cape cafe you are truly missing out.

Small business and innovation is the key to dynamic growth, especially in small communities. Ted and Marina have a vision for their Town, their home. The business currently offers everything you need at your fingertips. However, they have more big ideas on how to  add accommodations, entertainment and experiential offers that appeal to locals and visitors. They are a partner with the annual Iceberg Festival, believe in strong promotion and understand the value of packaging and providing their customers with the highest in services and unique experiences.

Sustaining a community takes commitment and these two truly have what it takes to build a stronger community. I would encourage you to drop by and support this locally owned and independent business that is doing incredibly big things in a small town.

Visit their website at: www.burntcape.com

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

The Fire Still Burns – Conche, NL

The fire still burns in the small town of Conche, Newfoundland on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula East. This community has embraced its storied past, which includes early visits from the French through the migratory fishery in the 17 and 18 hundreds to their shores. On a recent visit, the French Shore Interpretation Centre had their French oven lit, in preparation for a tour group to their Centre.

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The census may list the population of Conche at 181 people, but there is much more support than that for the survival of this small Town. The people of this community are hardworking, resourceful and full of hospitality.

An active fish plant, Conche Seafoods Ltd., employs dozens of people from across the Great Northern Peninsula and parts of Western Newfoundland. This fishing Town is bucking the trend and seeing increased activity and additional employment, not less. A recent tender was called by DFO for wharf expansion and improvements in the range of up to $1 million. All signs of a strong economy. Each year hundreds of commercial trucks travel over a 17.6 KM gravel road. It is long overdue the provincial Government live up to its commitment and pave Route 434.

The community is supported by a strong local business community and amenities for residents and visitors to engage.

Museums and Heritage Facilities include:

  • Casey House Artist Retreat, the French Shore Interpretation Centre
  • A traditional harbour lighthouse
  • Remains of a World War II Boston BZ277 plane crash
  • The Casey Store, a Registered Heritage Structure – one of the oldest fisheries buildings remaining on the French Shore, and Martinique Bay, the site of a 1707 confrontation between English warships and the trapped French fleet – a designated Site of Historic Significance
  • Chaloupe Exhibit
  • Crouse Beach – a half-buried flat pebble beach that was the site of a vast French codfish drying operation in the 19th century. The beach offers a view of picturesque wharves in Southwest Crouse
  • Boat tours can be arranged upon request

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Recreation Facilities:

  • Conche Ball Field
  • Conche Playground
  • RV and Camp site
  • Beach Volleyball area
  • Array of walking trails

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Religious Institutions:
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Parish Hall
Schools:
  • Sacred Heart All Grade
  • Northern Peninsula Family Resource Centre

Business:

  • Bits-n-Pieces Cafe
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Convenience Store
  • Lounge
  • Fish plant

Municipal:

  • Town Hall
  • Volunteer Fire Department

The community also has unique vernacular architecture you basically wont see in other communities on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula. Traditional stick homes are still fashionable here and  full of colour!

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Artists and artisans can thrive in Conche. They have talented painters, authors, storytellers, dancers and folk signers that will gladly put on a performance. Summer is when Conche truly comes to life. In 2013, Conche celebrated a successful Come Home Year bringing hundreds of residents home. The committed volunteers truly make amazing things happen in small communities. The Annual Garden party is certainly a wonderful experience for anyone wanting an authentic rural experience.

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Only a few kilometres away in Roddickton-Bide Arm is a 24/7 health centre, banking, Government services and a suite of retail, manufacturing and other small businesses. Partnerships have also been established with the Mayflower Inn & Adventures to provide zodiac tours and cross-promote regional tourism.

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Conche benefits from strong organization (especially from their Town Council past and present), an ability to embrace their past and ability provide the services any small community would want and ensure their local businesses are supported. This is the only way in which our small communities will survive and thrive. It must be through local innovation and a strong will to give back to your friends and neighbours to ensure the services we want and expect can be provided. Small business is certainly a means to rural communities growing.

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Conche is one of those towns that has incredible potential to be further developed. More than 2,000 tourists go out of their way to trek down this gravel road on the Great Northern Peninsula East to visit this picturesque town. It has worked hard to establish itself as a destination. Conche is on the map for so many reasons.  The establishment of the French Shore Interpretation Centre has truly helped accelerate this growth.

A 222-foot tapestry on Jacobian linen depicts the history of the French Shore. It is proudly on display, designed by J.C. Roy and made by the women of Conche. This summer there centre spent close to a year developing 9 new exhibits that remember the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. This now has the potential to travel the province or other parts of the world as a touring exhibit to further promote the community of Conche. These initiatives are building blocks to growing a rural community.

 

Conche is truly a destination on the Great Northern Peninsula that must be visited an experienced by residents and visitors alike. There is potential for new business endeavors in town and more development. Their success can be replicated! Let’s keep working together to build stronger communities.

Rural success is occurring! The fire still burns…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Have you been to the Hut?

The Hut is en route to L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site on Route 436 in the tiny community of Noddy Bay. This local craft shop offers a wide selection of Norse and Newfoundlandia – from pins, jewelry, jams, an assortment of clothing, handmade quilts and knitted mittens and stockings like grandma use to make.

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The Hut is the only stand alone seasonal craft shop in the region and is supported by an influx of tourist visiting L’Anse aux Meadows Viking Settlement, Norstead Viking Village & Port of Trade, Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve and various other walking trails and local businesses in the area.

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I chatted with the owner and some customers about the region and checked out the wares. I purchased a Christmas ornament carved from moose bone and made by local Viking re-in-actor Mike Sexton of Goose Cove. We have so much talent and I like to support local artists.

The Hut has some pretty remarkable Norse style jewelry too! It is worth dropping by if you would like to take a Norse memory or something from Newfoundland & Labrador as a souvenir home with you from your visit.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Coffee in the Cove Serves Only the Finest and Fairest Brews

Coffee in the Cove, Hay Cove is literally located in the backyard of L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Site. This bright orange homestead offers fresh, friendly and fair specialty coffees, teas and authentic homemade treats. It is also home to Radio Quirpon (www.radioquirpon.com).

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure to drop by this brightly coloured and welcoming local business in which I’ve wanted to visit for some time. As I walked up the stairs some customers greeted me. They were in fact distant relatives visiting from Stephenville and Ontario. It was quite an exciting feeling as we exchanged hugs, took photos and also talked about seeing each other again at the Family Reunion planned later in July.

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We are so fortunate to have such a cool and groovy coffee shop with the perfect atmosphere and ambiance to enjoy freshly brewed coffee beans. I had a delicious almond flavoured latte and date square. I hear there cinnamon buns are a must try too!

Proprietor, Cheryl McCarron took time to have a friendly chat with me about how her business got off the ground,  exciting new additions such as the on-line radio station and the nifty Newfoundland sayings that are written all around her establishment. She has big ideas, is optimistic about our small rural communities and the promising future we have if we tap those opportunities.

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The back deck or a table by the window presents the most perfect viewing area for the icebergs, which dominant her backyard. The experience simply can not be matched by any city shop or cafe.

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Coffee in the Cove is to be enjoyed not only by tourists, but the local market too! It was positive to hear so many local residents are dropping by to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and support a local business.

One can sit down with one of the shops books, such as the Treasury of Newfoundland Humour and Wit by J. Burke, listen to the traditional music of Radio Quirpon, get lost in conversation or the tranquility and beauty of the view.

Coffee in the Cove is one of our newest gems. I encourage you to embrace this social space and enjoy their offerings. You simply could not be disappointed. Eagerly looking forward to my next visit.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Scenic Hay Cove – Your Northern Coffee Experience

Hay Cove is a tiny fishing village on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, located just minutes from L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO site, where the vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America.

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The population is not large, the census notes just 32 residents. However, these are likely not year-round livyers. Yet for a tiny community, there are three Bed & Breakfasts (Marilyn’s Hospitality Home. Viking Nest B&B and Viking Village B&B), walking trails, icebergs and a newly opened coffee-house that offers freshly brewed coffee, espresso and other drinks from flavored beans and at times entertainment. I look forward to getting a fresh cup of coffee when next in Hay Cove.

During my last visit, I was pleasantly surprised by freshly baked cinnamon roles at Mrs. Hedderson’s house when visiting residents. They were delicious.

It is great to see local residents of Hay Cove create small business and expand local opportunities. This region is supported by a strong local independent business community. Let’s build stronger communities and create new opportunities.

Plan you trip to the Great Northern Peninsula today!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

I finally found my way to King’s Point Pottery, you can too!

It may have taken several years and travel over a bumpy highway, but in 2013 I found myself in King’s Point, NL. It is a community that should be on everyone’s To Do List! There are scenic viewing vistas of both mountains and coastal areas, colourful fishing rooms and wharves, walking trails, rattling brook, humpback whale pavilion, heritage home, cafes, restaurants, accommodations and of course, Newfoundland’s famous King’s Point Pottery.

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In 2002, I became an entrepreneur by starting-up Flower’s Island Museum and was profiled by the Getting the Message Out (GMO) program. In 2006, I ended up working as an Intern promoting that very program at the now Department of Innovation, Business & Rural Development across the province. One of the businesses profiled was King’s Point Pottery.

In 2013, the owner’s, Linda Yates & David Hayashida received the “Outstanding Retailer Award” at the Atlantic Canada Craft and Trade Show gala event in Halifax, Nova Scotia after being nominated by the Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador. This is the show’s highest honour.

I had written the owner’s commending them on their accomplishment and noted how I hoped to visit their storefront in the near future. I was greatly impressed when Linda told me how they turned her father’s old service station into their current retail outlet, adding a triangular rooftop. I am a fan of re-purposing local buildings.

Inside, there were all sorts of pottery, ceramics, prints, jewelry, wooden items and even local jams from the Dark Tickle Company of St. Lunaire-Griquet on the Great Northern Peninsula. They support more than 180 artists with a goal of supporting and retailing 365 artists from all over Atlantic Canada.

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The hooked rug style coasters of the iconic clothes lines are quintessentially aspects of rural living. These are unique and show the creativity of our artists. I had a great conversation with one of the students employed that is also gaining experience in the craft and making specialty products.

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I purchase a ceramic cup and saucer, as well as this colourful bowl. After leaving the shop, I visited more attractions, which I will write about in a later post.

There are many opportunities to support our local artists and craft producers. King’s Point Pottery is a 21-year-old success story. We can do more to buy local, help create local jobs and build stronger, vibrant rural communities.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

BUY LOCAL: Why not wake up to local coffee and teas from Dark Tickle Company?

Waking up to local coffee and teas from Dark Tickle Company in St. Lunaire-Griquet is the perfect way to begin your day. This morning I perked some of Dark Tickle’s finest partridgeberry coffee. The pleasant aroma when brewing boasts berry flavour, as it circulated around the room. My locally produced “mummer’s mug” was filled with the wonderful black liquid as I began to think about our local economy.

I am a supporter of this local company that is truly unique. Their bakeapple, blueberry, partridgeberry and crowberry teas a divine. A wonderful gift to give any tea lover as  thank-you, on a special occasion or just every day gesture of kindness. They have an array of products and make jams, jellies, vinaigrette, chocolates and other products directly on-site. You can watch them at work in the small commercial kitchen through a wall of glass windows. Their products can also be purchased on-line at http://www.darktickle.com. They even have Iceberg chocolates! I certainly look forward to tasting those soon.

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Supporting the local economy in rural regions is critical for success. Small businesses, like Dark Tickle Company employ local people, re-invest in their business and also support other ventures, the community and spend dollars as well in the local economy. The more out-shopping we do for goods and services at Big Box Stores, the more  money is funneled out of the local economy.

If we are to keep our communities from becoming “ghost towns” we must spend our money at the corner store,  co-operative and independently owned businesses. Keeping local dollars exchanging as many hands as possible before it is lost from the region is a way to maintain wealth and expand new business opportunities and employment.

Can we produce more locally? Can we buy more locally? I believe we can!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Mitchelmore calls for discussion and development in seal industry

NDP Fisheries critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits – White Bay North) says he and his party fully support the commercial seal hunt and he is excited about the potential for the industry as a whole.

“The sealing industry has always been an important aspect of the rural economy and I believe there is still tremendous untapped opportunity,” said Mitchelmore. “Value added business opportunities exist for rural residents, and indeed we already have successful businesses in the industry.”

Mitchelmore stated that when he meets with residents of his district there are ideas for new products but government will need to work with industry stakeholders to help these ideas develop into reality.

“The people I talk to haven’t given up on the sealing industry, and I haven’t given up on the industry. If we work together innovation is possible and good years will lie ahead for sealers and everyone who wants to make a living in the industry,” he said.

Mitchelmore says that while we must continue to work with the federal government to develop new foreign markets, we must also look to developing local markets. “I would really like to see discussions on developing the local markets. Government assistance is needed to help the industry create a plan to build on our humane and sustainable hunt,” he said. “We have to consider all ideas; for example can we reduce regulations for seal buyers in this province which would allow small scale production for untapped niche markets, such as for canned seal meat and bone fertilizers? Can we make it easier for restaurants to feature seal meat?”

The sealing industry has declined in value from approximately $40 million in 2003 to $1.5 million in 2011, largely due to declining export markets. “If we have strong markets here at home, local businesses will be better situated to develop markets around the world. And the one thing we know is that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians support the seal hunt,” Mitchelmore said.

 

Craft Industry Development Workshop – Take 2

Many local people have ideas and skills to provide unique products and services to be offered and sold on the Great Northern Peninsula and the world. Often what is lacking is knowledge and information about running a successful business. It is essential to provide entrepreneurs, local businesses and hobbyists with opportunities to learn. Government agencies, colleges, non-profits and for-profit businesses all offer courses and seminars. CBDC Nortip has arranged to have seminars run in local communities on a regular basis on topics of customer service, marketing, bookkeeping, business planning, social media and accounting. 

There is an additional opportunity to attend a Craft Industry Development Workshop – Part II. Please see below:

Nordic Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with CBDC Nortip & INTRD, will be hosting a one day Pricing & Etsy Workshop from 10am-3pm on Wednesday, June 15th at the GNP Crafts in Shoal Cove East!

There is an Invitation and Agenda by clicking the following: Pricing Etsy Workshop Invitation 2011 & Pricing Etsy Workshop Agenda

Everyone is welcome, but space is limited, so please confirm attendance by June 13th to confirm a space for you and/or anyone else you may know that is interested in learning
more about selling their unique craftwork.

Please forward to anyone who may be interested!  Have a great day!

 Take care,

Andre Myers
Economic Development Officer
Nordic Economic Development Corporation
Flower’s Cove, NL
P.O. Box 160, A0K 2N0
Ph:(709) 456-2840
Fax: (709) 456-2846
amyers@nf.aibn.com
amyers@nedc.nf.ca

If you are a crafter, hobbyist or interested individual come out and participate in this one day workshop.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

 

Revitalizing Rural Communities by Being Reasonable

Rural Communities are in dire need of revitalization. It may come in the form of many activities that once fueled the local economy and enabled the household to function.

Reasonables, Kinsale, Ireland

There is an abundance of small business opportunity in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador, including the Great Northern Peninsula. We just have to be Reasonable as the small business from Kinsale suggests.

The Town of Kinsale has 5,000 people, yet has an abundance of small business. Beyond the influx of tourists, the residents support their local entrepreneur. Today on CBC Radio‘s Morning Show restaurant owners were discussing the difficulty of obtaining quality product locally. They discussed the importance of buying local and trying to establish a network to bulk purchase the goods they need, so that each business can benefit. Although, they offer food services, they are not competitors when it comes to obtaining the basic need, as all have the same request for high quality product. Without it, they may all fail.

There are benefits to establishing stronger networks with current businesses. Co-operation can help reduce ever rising transportation costs and increase the quality of the product. As well, current business can extend services themselves or work with upcoming entrepreneurs. They may wish to lease space at their storefront that could be better utilized to create more in-store traffic.  This reduces the operating and start-up costs of both. There are creative ways to increase sales and new technologies to help facilitate this process. It would be wonderful for more communities of the Great Northern Peninsula to get access to Broadband Internet.

Some of these opportunities would be ideal for part-time workers, even those semi-/retired or a senior wishing to earn a subsistence income to combat rising living costs on a fixed income. They may include facilitating workshops by passing on traditional skills to locals and tourists, training a team to create unique products. The creation of bulk products could establish small cottage industries that can sell enough volume into a global niche marketplace, gaining higher yeild for product.

We are surrounded by a pool of entrepreneurs, from fishers, farmers, foresters, crafters and hobbyists. There is a vast skill set that exists with those who live on the Great Northern Peninsula and those who are not residents. We are able to create new businesses based on these opportunities, thus in turn, would be able to support others and buy local – because the opportunity now exists.

A Reasonable idea has the potential to start Rural Revitalization. Let us consider our current offering, evaluate the opportunity and take action today!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

 

The Loss of the General Store

 

John Reeves Ltd., a family run enterprise may have closed its post in the Town of Conche many years ago, but there is still a place for the General Store in many of our Rural  communities. These businesses thrive to supply the local consumer with all their essential wares from dry goods, hardware, fresh produce to rubber boots. Without their presence, many goods would be more difficult to obtain.

 

John Reeves Ltd., Conche

My community like many others see the loss of the general store.  There were five small businesses that aimed to fill that  market, pre-1992 cod moratorium. Green Island Cove at that time only boasted  a population of 209 people (according to Stats Canada, 1991 census) today we have only one General Store with a population of 164 people. It currently is all that the community can support.

 
Today the General Store faces many more challenges than just concern for the local competitor. Transportation networks have made local consumer’s more mobile. Currently consumer’s demand lower prices and greater variety which places pressure on the local small business. Additionally, the small business is faced with the added cost of transportation for shipping goods (fuel surcharges), credit card/debit fees, minimum wage of $10.00 per hour, increasing electricity rates and high-levels of taxation. Beyond these factors, the local General Store now competes with on-line retailers, sometimes in an unfair climate – as they do not have access to Broadband Internet. Investment in Tele-communications and Broadband Internet is required to enable communities to advance the current business community and serve the people.
 
I commend those who endeavor to operate a General Store in a rural setting. One of the reasons the General Store has been successful, is their ability to provide a high-level of customer service. They listen to their customers and bring items in upon their request. Another service offered is grocery delivery to local customers. This simple idea is a benefit of shopping local, as you would never get this from a Big Box Store. There are innovative ways to continue to sell in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador.
 
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
 
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