CORNWALL, Ontario – The third edition of Win This Space came to a close on Wednesday, Dec. 9 with a Dragons Den style pitch show at Esca in Cornwall.
The contest offered an entrepreneur $12,000 to go towards their first year of rent for a downtown storefront.
The final two contestants this year were “My Vintage Soul” by Jessica Lamarche and Mike’s Printing & Apparel by Mike Petrynka.
Judges were impressed by both businesses and offered their feedback.
“You are your brand,” said judge and Cornwall City Councillor Eric Bergeron to Jessica Lamarche. “I think you are a legitimate star in the making.”
“You know where you’re going and the market you are going after,” judge Brenda Campbell told Petrynka. “Your business would be an excellent addition to the downtown, especially if you are catering to tourists.”
Ultimately, judges chose Petrynka as the winner of the third annual Win this Space contest.
Mike’s Printing & Apparel started as a hobby for Petrynka in 2015, but he explained how the growing business has now necessitated that he find a storefront.
“This program is fantastic, second to none,” Petrynka said of the contest. “We learned what businesses have to do before they get started.”
Event MC Dan Allaire stated that nobody was a loser at the end of the contest, pointing to past contestants who did not win, but who went on to find success anyway like the Happy Popcorn Co., Crushed Lane, and Tilley’s Diner, all of whom now have storefronts in or around Cornwall’s downtown core.
Additionally, the Cornwall & Counties Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) offered both Petrynka and Lamarch a $5,000 grant to access their Technology Innovation Program, which will help both businesses become more dynamic in an increasingly technological world.
The Win This Space contest is organized and run as a partnership between the Downtown Business Improvement Association (DBIA) and the Cornwall and Are Chamber of Commerce.