Rural Innovation (Part 2)
In the winter issue of our newsletter, I wrote an article on “Rural Innovation” highlighting three local innovative businesses that could be located anywhere and they choose the Frontenacs. Readers appeared interested in learning about other novel businesses in the Frontenacs, so I thought I would do a follow-up piece.
“It’s amazing what you can do from 35,000 feet in the air”, quipped Kristen when submitting an on-line order form to a shop on the north shore of Loughbourgh Lake while on her weekly business flight from Dallas to New York City. Kristen is a regular customer of Lisa and Robert Aucoin who have been married and partners in their business, Iron Art, for 33 years.
Lisa and Robert who work from home say ” the greatest thing about being artisans is we can sell to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Selling online makes that possible.” Whether it’s a custom order for a table from Kingston 20 minutes away, or an online order from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, or a buckle for a rancher in Calgary, or accessories for a business woman in California, the process is the same. Robert completes each unique piece, from concept to completion, hand forging and signing each metal creation, using hammer and anvil. Each item is an original, Made in Canada. One unique detail about their buckles that separates them from others is that theirs are hypoallergenic. Their online store is translated into French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish to accommodate their clients worldwide. To see their collection of belts, buckles, accessories and other creations, or to place an order visit www.ironartcanada.com.
Another creative business in our community is Radiance of the Ordinary. Proprietor Raphael Karem originally trained as a cheesemaker in Switzerland before moving to Canada. He then went on to learn the art of broom making in Pennsylvania. Now working out of his workshop in Burridge, Raphael is one of only four people in Canada who makes brooms by hand. Raphael begins by scouring through local woodlots to find just the perfect piece of wood for the broom handle and from there, creates a broom that is both functional and a work of art. Raphael has recently worked with American colleagues to refine a broom-winding devise based on a historical design in order to reduce the repetitive strain injury that he has sustained. In addition to the brooms, Raphael produces custom made furniture and Mongolian Yurts. Raphael may be reached at 613-273-5693.
Working on the family vineyard in Lennox and Addington, Adam Shemrock spent hours walking the fields to check on the health of crops. Years later, Adam, a licensed commercial pilot, saw an opportunity to connect his roots in agriculture with his passion for aviation with the emergence of the drone industry. AirTech Solutions was born. The benefits of using this new technology go well beyond monitoring crops for the agricultural sector. From his home based business in South Frontenac, Adam has worked with environmental consultants to observe ice-flows in northern Canada, to count bird populations using aerial photography for Canadian Wildlife Services, to monitoring invasive species along the Trent Severn Waterway for Ministry of Natural Resources. Furthermore, Air-Tech Solutions is currently part of a three-year research project with Brock University assessing the benefits of utilizing drones within the grape growing industry. This new business has taken flight and there is a sky full of opportunities. www.airtech-solutions.ca
These innovative entrepreneurs have created opportunities for themselves in our rural communities. If you have a story of a novel business located in the Frontenacs that you would like to share, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Anne Prichard