Blog Archives

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

The Giant’s Causeway…part III


Pillers 12 meters high

In mid-November Live Rural NL author, Christopher Mitchelmore spent two weeks on vacation with some time in Ireland exploring Irish roots.  The Giant’s Causeway is a magnificent space to spend the day. I recommend to plan ahead and bring a snack to have a picnic by the sea.          

Posing on the trail with the hills and water in the background

Posing on the trail with the hills and water in the backgroundthe hillside green and beautiful orange glow, takes me back to a simpler time – a time when nature ruled and development was from human interference was far away.

A lonely walker on the trail at sunset

We stayed almost until sunset, climbing to the top to get a great aerial view of the 37,000 basalt columns.


The View from Above

Upon reaching our car, we decided to stop by a coffee shop in a small neighbouring village before driving to Dublin, Ireland to meet Marcel. The Giant’s Causeway has been a big highlight of my last European vacation.

Find your highlight here –

Live Rural NL 0 Christopher Mitchelmore 


Newfoundland & Labrador Announces: Young Entrepreneurs & Innovators Program

It is a great time to be a youth (35 and under) or youth-oriented non-profit in Newfoundland & Labrador as the Government announces its Young Entrepreneurs & Innovators Program. More opportunities are now available for youth, especially in Rural NL.

Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
Human Resources, Labour and Employment
October 29, 2010

Entrepreneurship Program Targets Increased Contribution of Youth

Launched today, the Provincial Government’s latest youth initiative, the Young Entrepreneurs and Innovators Program, is a flexible and creative program designed to support youth and their contribution to Newfoundland and Labrador’s business community.

Announced by the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, at Clarenville High School, the new program provides young entrepreneurs with financial capital, as well as access to mentoring and advisory services to ensure the long-term success of business start-ups. Minister Skinner was accompanied at the announcement by the Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Business and MHA for Trinity North.

“Young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have incredible opportunities to become successful entrepreneurs, employers, and leaders,” said Minister Skinner. “This new program works in conjunction with other recently launched youth-specific initiatives such as the ExportAdvantage Internship Program and youth innovation activities. Together they take aim at creating awareness of the possibilities that exist in local industries and improving the ability of youth to capitalize on them.”

Minister Skinner added that engaging youth introduces fresh perspectives and new ideas to the province’s traditional and knowledge-based industries.

“In addition to increasing activity across a wide range of industries, the participation of youth is required to fill an entrepreneurial void as existing entrepreneurs retire from the workplace,” said Minister Skinner. “As youth become the next generation of business owners, they will bring new energy, enthusiasm, and an approach to business that strengthens the province’s economy.”

The Young Entrepreneurs and Innovators Program was developed under the Provincial Government’s Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy, Creating a Province of Choice: A Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy marked the beginning of a bold, new partnership with the young people of the province and represented our shared commitment to ensuring Newfoundland and Labrador fulfills its potential for a bright, prosperous future,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Minister Responsible for Youth Engagement. “The strategy brings together a wide array of initiatives and policy directions that are firmly grounded in the values, priorities and ideas of youth. Today’s announcement is yet another fine initiative from within our strategy supporting young entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and become contributing members to our provincial economy.”

Minister Wiseman supports providing the province’s youth with the tools and resources they require to expose themselves to the vast opportunities that are available to them.

“Youth in our area have demonstrated their creativity, ambition and innovative talents through many aspects of their lives,” said Minister Wiseman. “This program will build on their natural talents and give them tools necessary to become successful entrepreneurs.”

Delivered in partnership between the Provincial Government and its community partners – the Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC) and the Entrepreneurs Forum – the program targets individuals up to age 35, youth-run ventures, and not-for-profit organizations with youth-oriented projects to advance entrepreneurship. Community partners will provide market knowledge and support essential skills development by combining academic training with practical projects development.

“CBDCs recognize the critical role youth play in developing a strong business climate in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Gerry Burke, Chairperson, CBDC. “Our staff have been working to create tools and resources to meet the specific needs of youth entrepreneurs. This new program will help to provide the skills to operate a business and act as a means to build self-confidence and leadership. By empowering youth, we are developing the groundwork to ensure the growth and sustainability of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

For further information about the Young Entrepreneurs and Innovators Program, please visit or view Fact Sheet here: YEIP_Factsheet

Live Rural NL – CCM

Hurricane Igor causes severe damage to Rural Newfoundland

Hurricane Igor hit the island portion of the province, namely the Burin, Bonavista and Avalon Peninsulas on Tuesday, bringing record rainfall in a very short period of time, reporting over 230 mm in some areas. This, coupled with high winds washed out a number of roads (including the TCH), damaged infrastructure, knocked out communications/utilities – leaving more than 50,000 without power.

The provincial government describes the magnitude of the infrastructure damage from Hurricane Igor as severe. The impact of the storm was unprecedented in this province. Regional emergency management and planning officials, fire protection officers and provincial engineers are advising on issues of temporary bridge and road access, water and sewer repairs, and other infrastructure repairs. More permanent repairs will take longer.

One death has been reported. Condolences are extended to the family of the 80 year old man of Random Island, who was slept out to sea after a driveway gave way underneath him.

Despite, more than 50 communities still remain isolated, there has been progress on improving conditions as power has been restored to more than 40,000 customers. Utility crews are working around the clock to restore power. As well, temporary bridges are being installed to enable transportation or goods and emergency services to assist people in the area. There is still a lot of work to be done to make the situation more comfortable for many residents of Newfoundland. It may be many weeks or even longer before some people’s lives are back to a more normal state.

It is during trying times like this when we rely on our sense of community. It is during times like this when we need our neighbours to extend help each other through difficult times. As Newfoundlanders & Labradorians, we are known for our hospitality, often extending a helping hand in any way possible.

For photos, videos and updates visit:

We can not plan and be prepared for all natural disasters. However, we can certainly learn from this situation to become better prepared for the future. The province has received more tropical storms and natural disasters in recent years. We must as citizens become better prepared in times of emergency. We should ensure we have a supply of food and water for a minimum of 72 hours, a radio, batteries, flashlight and other necessities. How about having trained regional volunteer response teams? What about our armed forces? Are they able to place a greater role in the future with assisting in bring building, bringing supplies as they are well trained to deal with dire situations?

My thoughts are with my fellow Newfoundlanders & Labradorians that are experiencing ramifications as a result of this tropical storm.

Live Rural NL – CCM

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