Local businesses make the best of COVID-19
While the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the economy negatively, a number of local business people are stepping up to give the community something to smile about.
---Postcards for people
Hoping to make a positive impact on the community through a locally-inspired artistic project, owner of Aylmer-based post card shop PRIOS, Suzanne Fortin, is inviting residents to support her most recent initiative.
Titled Postcards and Priorities, Fortin explained that the purpose of the initiative is to contribute to important causes by donating some of the profits from her business to local charities and non-for-profit organizations. In effect since the first week of August, half of the proceeds from PRIOS’ postcard profits or $1 per card sold (whichever is higher) will go back to the community for the rest of 2020, Fortin said.
Featuring just an online shop for now, PRIOS sells postcards with pictures of Aylmer’s eye-catching sights and actions - all snapped by Fortin. The short form for “priorities” PRIOS is intended to support important local causes, from donating to local charities to helping out individuals.
Fortin is an Aylmerite and she believes that selling postcards is a great way of showcasing the community and a great way of connecting with locals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Noting that community support plays a significant role in the growth of her operation, Fortin said she looks forward to expanding her selection of postcards in the near future.
She’s also excited about launching a priority management service in 2021 called Le Secretariat PRIOS aimed at helping people make progress with challenging projects and solve complicated conundrums. A start-up company launched in 2019, PRIOS is all based on Fortin’s desire to give back to the community and her love of Aylmer.
---Farm to table
At the Ferme l’Éco des Champs, Mélanie Varin-Lacasse and her business partners, Remi Vaillant, Patrick St-Hilaire and Jean-Philippe Tremblay are delighted to be able to make Aylmer a better place one vegetable at a time. Opened in late July, the Ferme l’Éco des Champs is a seven-acre vegetable farm located on 482 chemin d’Eardley, at the intersection of rue Terry-Fox and Hwy. 148. Varin-Lacasse explained that the business originally hit the ground in July 2019, when she and her associates purchased what looked like the ideal property to operate a farm in the region.
Providing all types of vegetables – including beets, zucchini and carrots – the farm grows most, if not all, of its products on site and features a wooden kiosk where people can purchase goods farmer’s market-style. The farm’s chicken coop has also been a popular destination for visitors, especially the little ones, Varin-Lacasse said.
While the farm is mostly run by volunteers and part-time employees, Varin-Lacasse said they’ll likely need to hire a few employees next year. “This year has been exceptional,” Varin-Lacasse said. “A lot of people have come out to support us.”
With buying local promoted as much as ever during the pandemic, Varin-Lacasse said the farm has likely benefited from it financially. The farm is open on Thursdays and Fridays between 9 am and 2 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays between 10 am and 4 pm and COVID-19 safety measures must be followed.