Greg Veinott Spoke at the Business Pep Rally

Panel discussion delves into merits and challenges of small business ownership

TRURO - Business owners and residents alike throughout Colchester County should be more vocal in promoting all the area has to offer, members of a discussion panel say.

“Really, shout it from the roof top of what is going on here in Colchester County,” said Greg Veinott of TruLeaf, during a panel discussion held as part of a business pep rally at the Marigold Cultural Centre on Friday.

“What I feel is something we need to do, is build more relationships with people outside of Colchester County,” he said.

Veinott was one of four panelists, along with local business owners Andrea Munroe (Enchanted Forest), Cheryl MacLeod (Hub Tune Up & Repair Centre and Salmon River Collision Repair), Richard Frotten (Tipperary Café) and moderator Mark Wood (Ocean Sonics), who participated in the discussion. The rally was hosted by the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce.

MacLeod agreed that more has to be done to “take things to the next level” and promote all the area has to offer – from music festivals and other arts and culture, to the Marigold itself, the Rath Eastlink Community Centre and the varied services offered by the business community.

“If a new business comes here, we should be blasting that everywhere,” she said, as well as encouraging all newcomers “to really get involved in the community.”

All the panelists spoke of the benefits of being centrally located and the great collaboration and generally positive outlook that occurs within the business community. But they also suggested things could be better with greater outside promotion.

“I think we have a lot to offer but a lot of people don’t know about us,” Munroe said.

“We feel a sense of community here that I don’t know if you would feel everywhere you go,” added Veinott.

But there are also challenges to operating and growing a small business, the panel said.

For Frotten, who operates a family owned bakery and café in Tatamagouche, such obstacles the bureaucracy and government regulations associated with renovating an old building.

“Another challenge is getting good produce to sell to our customers,” he said.

And for Munroe, who owns a boutique that sells baby and children products, one of her greatest challenges is competing with online services.

“I can’t compete on price as an independent retailer,” she said. “So I’m trying really hard to compete with great service,” she said.

Shopping local “doesn’t just put food on my table for my children,” Munroe said, but also helps to provide neighbourhood playgrounds and other community amenities and ensures jobs for the workers of tomorrow.

“I want Truro to be a place that has a real thriving business community where people can find all those as well,” she said.

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