I recently had the opportunity to speak at Business Over Breakfast in Arden and was surprised to learn that the attendees were not aware of some of the novel businesses that we have in the Frontenacs.  I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of those businesses.

As a child, I loved to read Dr. Seuss books not only for his tales of faraway places, but for his whimsical illustrations.  You ask what this has to do with novel businesses in the Frontenacs! Local visual artist/ metal sculptor Stefan Duerst is creating sculptures influenced by Dr. Seuss stories that he is reading to his children.

Having always been intrigued by the creative possibilities of metal, Stefan chose the 6 year long path through the German apprenticeship/ journeyman system all the way to the official Master title, in order to learn how to shape, form and distort metal.  Stefan emigrated to the Frontenacs in early 2000 and this rural landscape has had a strong influence on his art.  The Foreign Affairs Department has purchased Stefan’s art for installations at their embassies in London, England and Rabatt Morocco.  Currently, Stefan is working on a sculpture park adjacent to his studio which is open for public viewing.  For more information, visit http://www.duerst.ca

Another creative business set in our rural community is Mariclaro.  You may have seen owner Sven Schelgel carrying your grandfather’s automobile.  Allow me to explain. The “car” is the handcrafted briefcase that Sven is carrying.  Sven’s design company focuses on fashion and accessories made from industrial waste material.  From bags made of car upholstery to jackets made from exploded airbags, and earrings from 8mm film and bike tubes, Mariclaro creates high quality items from their workspace in Snow Road Station.   For owner Sven Schlegel, the idea began in Mexico and travelled with him to Kingston, Toronto and finally to Snow Road Station where he employees up to 4 full time and 4 part-time employees.  For more information, visit http://mariclaro.ca/

Friends Eric Gryba and Ryan Reynolds were inspired by their love of outdoors to find their true calling and create a flock of goose and duck calls.  They formed Capital Waterfowling to design precision calls for hunting enthusiasts and outdoorsman.  Last year they relocated their company from Ottawa to South Frontenac to be closer to Billy Day the owner of B. D. Custom Machining, the individual who masterfully constructs the calls at his facility in Harrowsmith.   Capital Waterfowling calls can be found in select Canadian Tire stores across the country as well as many other independent retailers. The full lineup can also be found on CW’s online store at www.capitalwaterfowling.com.

As an economic developer, what strikes me from these stories is that these individuals have chosen to move to the Frontenacs for the rural lifestyle that it offers and their respective crafts are inspired and influenced by our beautiful landscape.  They could operate anywhere and they choose here.  Thank you.  Attracting, retaining and growing innovative businesses such as these is important to our rural economy.
By Anne Prichard