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Lockdown: Small businesses scramble again to counter COVID and its variants

in Business/Community/Health by
Lindsay’s Ctrl V will be one of many businesses closed during the lockdown.

Another lockdown is upon Ontario due to an acceleration of COVID-19 variants – and two local businesses are facing different realities because of it.

At 1:30 this afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the lockdown will begin just after midnight on April 3. This will not be a stay-at-home lockdown. Schools will remain open but for at least the next four weeks, various local businesses are to be subjected to the similar sort of measures already in place in hotspot regions.

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Environmental business heroes named by city

in Municipal by

During the committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 12, the Kawartha Lakes Environmental Advisory Committee presented the 2020 Environmental Business Hero and Environmental Youth Hero Awards.

Each year, the committee awards the title to businesses and students living in Kawartha Lakes who have shown a commitment to improving the wellness of the environment.

This past year saw a variety of nominations and efforts, from more sustainable products, to waste collection, to recycling and education programs. Here are the 2020 heroes:

Environmental Business Hero Awards

*   Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault (Lindsay) is a great example of a small business making many small changes to reduce their environmental impact, including: switching to “sippy” lids to reduce straws, switching to paper straws, biodegradable cutlery, products and packaging, and more. They also donate their surplus food through FoodRescue.ca.
*   Burns Bulk Food (Lindsay) has been a family business for over 35 years and has recently taken additional steps to promote zero-waste, encouraging shoppers to bring their own containers. As an incentive to shoppers who bring their own containers, Burns is providing a 10 per cent discount for everything purchased in one’s own container.
*   Country Cupboard (Fenelon Falls) has gone above and beyond trying to reduce plastics, making sure their products are produced as environmentally friendly as possible and by encouraging other local businesses to do the same. They offer a discount for patrons who use reusable containers, made the switch to compostable spoons and containers and offer sterilized glass jars for use instead of plastic bags. Owner Julia Taylor has also spoken at different events offering environmental ideas and suggestions.
*   Dive Kawartha (Lindsay) has made a massive impact on the Kawartha Lakes community by holding multiple events called Dive Against Debris, where the team dive into local rivers and waterways to remove waste. The last event saw over 700lbs of garbage removed. They also have a fun promotion where if an employee spots you using one of their stainless-steel straws you get a free tank refill.
*   Flex Fitness (Lindsay) is a fitness studio that has become more of a community hub. Owner Cathy Steffler takes extra steps to make sure the environmental footprint of her studio is as small as possible, encouraging people to use refillable containers and providing glassware for her members to use. You won’t find any vending machines filled with plastic bottles, Cathy leads by example and would rather do dishes for her members than create unnecessary waste.
*   La Mantia’s Country Market (Lindsay) has become a model of environmental responsibility thanks to the practices Owner Dave La Mantia has put in place. Before the City’s policy on plastic recycling for businesses had even taken effect last year, La Mantia’s was achieving a 78 per cent waste diversion rate and they’ve kept that momentum going. Vegetable scraps go to local farmers for animal feed or composting, the store avoids unrecyclable waxed cardboard and 144 solar panels are mounted on the roof and sides of the building. All light fixtures are being replaced with LEDs and display cases for dairy products have been upgraded to be more energy-efficient.
*   Unwrapped (Lindsay) was opened in January 2020 after its owners struggled for many years to find more sustainable options for household goods in the Kawartha Lakes. Today, Owners Jenny Connell and Jessica Moynes, sell refillable bulk items like shampoo, conditioner, cleaning products and more to reduce the amount of plastic bottles used in our area. They also offer a variety of eco-friendly alternatives to other disposable items. More importantly, they’re both committed to helping people in Kawartha Lakes make the switch to more sustainable lifestyles and are willing to chat about ways to reduce household waste.

Environmental Youth Hero Award

The Grade 5 and 6 Student Leadership Team at King Albert Public School (Lindsay) embarked on an ambitious project to support Kawartha Lakes’ voluntary ban on plastic shopping bags, by educating their school and the wider community about the impact plastic shopping bags have on the environment.

To facilitate change, the team is also working on a project to design and produce environmentally friendly bags to replace plastic bags, with the partnership of local businesses. The project was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is still very much alive and planned to continue in 2021.

Tending the rural economy

in Business by
Tending the rural economy
Quaker Oaks, near Sebright in Kawartha Lakes. Photo: Roderick Benns.

Although the bigger communities in Kawartha Lakes — Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls and Lindsay — are often seen as the focus of the local economy, globalization means that they are unlikely ever to return to the days of large-scale manufacturing facilities such as Fleetwood or Viskase.

Economic development now means nurturing smaller operations, many of them located outside our population centres. That in turn means thinking differently about how to support these rural businesses.

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You have a choice: Save the Grand, reader tells new owners

in Letters to the Editor by

To the new owners of the Grand the citizens of Lindsay ask that you please work with owner Charlie McDonald and save our iconic restaurant.

There are few things left that reminds us of our humble beginnings.

The Grand the building and the Grand the bar are two different things to most of us.

The bar-restaurant has been here for 160 years and Charlie and his staff have made it a home away from home for over 10 years.

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Health unit updates mask use instructions as more places open

in Community/Health by

With more businesses and services opening July 17 under Ontario’s Stage 3 reopening plan, the local health unit is updating its directives on non-medical mask use in indoor public places.

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Mackey Funeral Home buys Stoddart Funeral Home

in Business/Community by
Mackey Funeral Home buys Stoddart Funeral Home
Mackey Funeral Home has purchased Stoddart's Funeral Home. Photo: Jennifer Boksman.

Linden Mackey, owner of the century-old Mackey Funeral Home in Lindsay has bought out Stoddart Funeral Home, Lindsay’s other venerable funeral institution.

Shain Fletcher, the sole owner of Stoddart, quietly sold his shares of the funeral home to Mackey this spring, after discussions of keeping the funeral home locally owned and operated.

The Mackey and Stoddart families had long cooperated throughout the years, with Fletcher even training at one time under James Mackey and the late Linden and Gordon Mackey, according to the Stoddart website.

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Economic Recovery Task Force focuses on simplifying city processes

in Business/Municipal by
Farm country, Canadian Shield…anything but “cottage country”

The Economic Recovery Task Force held its third meeting this week, focusing on feedback it has received from working groups. It also considered options to improve processes in light of limited resources and staffing due to the pandemic.

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Five decisions you can make in the age of COVID-19

in Opinion by
Wearing masks in public could mean cutting transmission rates by up to 95 per cent.

Many Kawartha Lakes residents are struggling with what to do and how to behave regarding the COVID-19 pandemic now that the curve appears to be flattening.

Everywhere people turn they seem to be getting mixed messages from government and the media regarding behaviour that will keep people safe but also help their neighbour’s businesses survive to open another day.

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Billionaires equate to failed public policy

in Opinion by
Billionaires equate to failed public policy

As our people and small businesses hold on for their lives and livelihoods, many are looking on, wondering what happened to the grand promise of unfettered capitalism.

What happened to the promise of endless growth? Of the greatness of the free market?

The sheer inadequacy of the market to respond to this pandemic, the utter weakness of big business to pull us out of this mess is itself a master lesson in economics.

It’s also an indictment of extreme capitalism.

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Two local businesses that adapted quickly to new reality

in Business/Opinion by
Burns Bulk Food owner, Dan Burns, second from left, adapted his business quickly.

Imagine that you have put years of time, effort, passion, and money into building a business. From the early years of raising capital or going the lean start-up route, through the growing pains that come with scaling from a small to medium sized business and all the new challenges that it presents.

Human resource considerations, targeted marketing campaigns, sound financial practices, and efficient operations are all challenges and obstacles that have been faced and refined on your way to becoming a larger wide-scale success.

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