Huntsville was built through the perseverance and vision of its people.
That spirit is still evident today, particularly when you look at the number of local entrepreneurs around town. Many of them are a beloved part of the local landscape. They love what they do, no matter how small or large their companies are, and they always appreciate when local residents support local business.
These were the local business stories that caught the eye of Doppler readers this year.
(Click on the link in each section to read the full story.)
Local entrepreneur strikes a deal with Dragons Den investors (pictured above)
The idea for Kim Aitken’s business, Aitken Frame Homes, came after she needed to find safe haven at a women’s shelter. The company, which launched just last year, creates high-efficiency homes for less than the cost of traditional homes, a new take on affordability. When Aitken appeared on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, the Dragons liked what they saw. She received her full $700,000 ask to further her company’s success.
One of Huntsville’s favourite delis, The Butcher’s Daughters, closed in late October 2017. Owner Kim Barnes was forced to shut down her Hwy 60 business following a flood, and began to search high and low for a suitable new location. Almost 18 months later, she found the perfect spot but Huntsville-area fans of the café’s soups, sandwiches, salads, and to-go meals had to drive a little farther. The Butcher’s Daughters reopened in spring 2019 in Gravenhurst across from the opera house.
For many years, Randy Vowels and Ashley Stenabaugh-Vowels dreamed of owning their own restaurant. They weren’t sure how that would take shape—opening a food truck, starting a new restaurant or buying an existing business—but when Spencer’s Tall Trees came on the market, they saw tons of potential in the 35-year-old beloved local restaurant and decided it was perfect for them.
The couple took over from Randy and Karen Spencer, who owned Spencer’s Tall Trees for almost 20 years, and launched under the simplified name Tall Trees on May 10, just in time for Mother’s Day weekend.
The atmosphere was a joyous one, with champagne flowing, music playing, and people soaking up the summer sun. The occasion: the grand opening of Deerhurst Resort’s new Lakeside Lodge, a beautifully appointed 150-unit building perched above Peninsula Lake in June 2019.
Friends and coworkers Jana Striezova and Lynne Reynolds made a lifelong dream a reality and opened their own shoe store. After working together for years, the pair realized that they both had the same goal: to bring affordable, elegant and comfortable shoes to Huntsville. Their solution: Majestic Sole.
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