CORNWALL, Ontario – A total of 22 hopeful entrepreneurs entered to win a space with the Downtown Business Improvement Association (DBIA) this year, and the organization has narrowed down its top five hopefuls.
The finalists were announced on Monday, July 29 and include the following:
- Kelsey Lee, owner of Love and Lee, a chic bridal boutique offering trendy items and a relaxing experience for the bride.
- Bill Hallman and Kristin Davey, owners of The Happy Popcorn Co., Concession and Confectionery business offering gourmet popcorn and hard to find candy.
- Dinah Ener, owner of bathintentions, offering over 60 hand-crafted, artisan style bath products from soaps to scrubs and more.
- Christine Lapierre, owner of Fit From Within, offering one-on-one nutritional guidance, lifestyle coaching and personal training.
- Carol-Ann Breedy, owner of Till’s Eatery, Delicatessen and Pastries, offering a taste of Northern European food, including traditional dishes of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and more.
Todd Lihou, Centretown Coordinator with Heart of the City, said the selection process is reminiscent of the television show Dragon’s Den, in which locals present their business platform to a panel of judges in hopes of investment from the DBIA. The winner will be selected on September 18 this year, with the final competition taking place at ESCA. YourTV will be in attendance to film all of the action, as one entrepreneur will be given $1,000 a month for a year to help offset rent or lease costs.
“The ultimate goal is to get more businesses in our downtown,” said Lihou, who explained that the Win This Space idea originally came from another county in Ontario. Lihou said he has received calls from DBIA organizations in Windsor and Branford who are looking to adopt similar initiatives.
Lihou said that the DBIA board was blown away with this year’s applicants and were especially impressed by the top five, as they all show promise to complimenting our downtown.
“They were blown away…it’s going to be very difficult for judges to make a decision on September 18…I think any would be great in our downtown,” he said. “That’s what we were kind of looking for, unique and niche businesses…”
Staff of last year’s Win This Space winner, Fairy Sweet, told Lihou that the financial support from the competition has allowed their business to grow and develop into a real anchor in our downtown core.