MARLAINE BENNETT, OWNER
Tell us about your company: We are a local family-run store in Campbellford since 1926 and a newly-renovated store in Peterborough, beside Staples and Home Depot. Our stores boast the largest selection of furniture, décor and mattresses from Toronto to Ottawa. Custom furniture is our specialty. Bennett’s finds the best prices so that we can guarantee the lowest price to our customers.
What got you started in this business and what’s your role now? “After attending furniture and gift shows with my husband in the early 80s, I was hooked and took over buying the accessories, lamps, rugs and wall art,” says Marlaine. As with any family business, her role is a little bit of everything. “Mainly, I write the TV and radio ads, continue to be the company spokesperson and decorate with a floor merchandiser to ensure we have a beautiful showroom.”
Why do people shop at Bennett’s? “We are constantly bringing in the latest styles of furniture and décor from the best manufacturers. This means we have quality furniture that suits everyone,” she says. Professional sales staff can help with decorating advice and can explain how to customize most furniture fabrics and finishes. “We have attentive in-store service and our delivery department is second to none,” Marlaine says.
JENNIFER ROBERTS, OWNER
Tell us about your business: We sell all kinds of fireplaces and amazing furniture. We can provide furniture for pretty much every room of your home – your kitchen, dining room, bedroom, living room, family room and outdoor spaces. We have all the art, lighting, accessories and bedding to tie it all together and we can assist our customer with the design, colours and placement of it all. We have a large selection of fireplaces and have over 35 units on display in the store. We supply fireplaces of all fuel types and all styles for gas, propane, wood, pellet and electric. Our services provide customers a complete package including installation, finishing and annual service or repair.
What brings people back? For furniture it’s for quality and selection. We have so many options. We can provide product to suit individual styles to truly transform a room that’s uniquely a customer’s own or add that one item they have been searching for. We offer free in-store design services. For fireplaces, it’s not only for quality and selection but our turnkey solutions and customer service. We take the time to ensure you’re making a purchase that suits your needs.
What do you like about this business? I love working with people. I love design, colours and helping people achieve the end result they are looking for. We have a great group of people here. It’s a relaxed atmosphere for our customers and a fun space to be.
BRENDA PERRY & MICHAEL DAVID, OWNERS
How did you get started in this business? Brenda Perry has owned and operated Kitchen Cabinet Solutions for 17 years and has worked exclusively in retail design and sales for 30 years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design in 1983. Her first job out of design school was working for Downsview Kitchens in Toronto. This influenced her to pursue a career in kitchen design, which led to purchasing Kitchen Cabinet Solutions in 2003. “I enjoy helping clients create their own unique dream kitchens that reflect their lifestyle – all within a budget they can afford,” Brenda says. Michael David has 19 years of industry related experience. His career path started in manufacturing with NHB Industries, a Peterborough cabinet manufacturer, in the 1990s. This experience opened the door to work in retail kitchen design sales. He earned a unique opportunity to work as an area rep with Cambria, a world leader in engineered quartz countertops – knowledge and experience that allows him to to take very precise measurements. He enjoys building a relationship with his customers and he strives to understand their needs, helping to create a design that is both functional and beautiful.
ERICA SMITH, OWNER
How did you get into this business? “I noticed that the paint store was closing. With painting experience at home and friends in the industry, I thought it was something interesting for me to do, now that the kids are off to school,” Erica says. She decided to take over the store instead of watching it shut. As a stay-at-home mom, she didn’t have a business background, but had worked in retail, prepared income taxes and done bookkeeping. “I jumped right in,” she says. “I always felt I would be more comfortable running a business for myself instead of working for somebody else.”
What services or products do you offer? “Over and above the Benjamin Moore product line, we also have SamaN stains and Goudey stains. We also carry different types of lacquers and automative paint. We carry spray machines for customers to either borrow or buy. If anybody ever has an issue we can service the sprayers,” she says. The store sells a wide array of wallpapers and has an expert that offers free, on-site colour consultations. “When using consulting services, you also enjoy a 10 per cent discount on products that you buy from us.”
Your favourite part of the business? Meeting new people, having customers coming back and familiar faces.
TINA JOHNSTON, OWNER
Tell us about your business: “We do everything to do with hair – cuts, colours, perms, waxing and styling, weddings and special occasions,” says Tina. “We do kids’ cuts, from the baby’s first haircut right into seniors. In the spa, we have manicures, pedicures, facials, massage, body wraps, therapeutic wraps, tanning, waxing and makeup.”
Why do people come to fandango? “They’re getting good quality service at a reasonable price,” says Tina. Active in the community, she supports local charities and has chaired several events. “I’ve done that for 22 years since I opened. I’ve been in the public eye a lot and I think that helps draw people in. My girls help too. I get them involved in as many things we we can.”
What about trends? “Every year they change somewhat, but it’s probably every three years that you see a major change. This time women’s hair has become a little more relaxed. Women are looking at a little more loose look, like you just woke up, whereas men have decided they like their hair styled now. Now we’re doing nice, classic men’s cuts that James Dean would wear or Humphrey Bogart – those classic short sides, long wavy top. It’s fun,” she says. “If you want to know what’s going to be in, watch the Oscars, the Emmys, the Country Music Awards. That’s where you see a lot of the trends surface.”
NANCY NICKLE, OWNER
What do you provide clients? Birchview Design offers full design services, interior design and decorating and full build services on a complete home or cottage or renovations. I work with a number of builders and their clients and together we pull together the design dream for our clients and make the whole process a lot less stressful.
What are the advantages of using a professional designer? A lot of decisions need to be made in a short period of time when people are building. Because it should be an exciting time for them, we take the pressure off when those decisions need to be made. We actually make the decisions for the client, based on their vision and we present them all in one sitting so they can get a feel for how it’s going to completely look. It’s really nice. It’s relaxing. We make the process easier for them because we can show them the end result in front of them.
Does professional design save clients time and money? It saves them time. It’s convenient, but quite often it will save them money because of the pricing I can get. Quite often I will pay that forward to my clients. There’s also a cost in making a bad decision so, for clients, that’s their biggest fear. We help them with their furniture plans so they know when they’re out shopping they’re going to pick the right pieces, the right size and the right durability, based on their lifestyle.
ANN SPIVEY & KEN WOOD, OWNERS
Tell us about your business: “We’ve been in business for 35 years and we have a very loyal customer base,” says Ann. “It’s a generational thing. Grandparents, parents and now their kids are coming back to our store. Contractors are a large part of the clientele. We have a fine complement of them,” she says. In the paint business since 1961, Ken has an exceptional knowledge about products and started the store in 1982. “I joined him in 1985 and we worked as a team until recently when Ken semi-retired, doing the finance side of Charlotte Paint,” says Ann.
What draws people to this store? Ann: Good quality paint and staff that, over the years, have been really helpful to customers, so we get a lot of repeat business. My strength is colour expertise. Ken: Ann can read customers, everyone from an elderly homeowner to a newly-married woman, and very quickly understand what they like. She takes the worry out of the choice.
What’s your favourite part of the business? Anne: The people. We have fabulous customers. We’ve met some wonderful people over the years. Ken: Looking after people – that’s our thing. You develop a friendship and they trust you, your ability and your expertise. Readers of both Peterborough newspapers have rated Charlotte Paint the city’s best decorating store.
BILL BRUCE, CO-OWNER
What’s your business all about? “We’re general fabricators – some steel, some aluminum, some stainless steel,” says co-owner Bill Bruce. “A lot of it is what people bring in the door. Lots of repairs.” Bill and his brother Bob are partners in the family business, operating since 1979. “We build docks, we build pontoons, trailers, tanks and anything that might be fabricated out of steel.” The dock behind him in this photo at Chemong Lake is an example of their basic leg dock design. “We custom build docks. We also sell a brand of docks built in the States – Wahoo Docks. They’re a floating dock. A lot of them are covered docks with a roof on them.”
What are the advantages of using your shop? “Part of our name is custom, so if you want a trailer, for instance, you can buy a mass-produced trailer, a 16-foot trailer or a 14-foot trailer,” says Bill. “If you need one 14-foot-eight, you probably have to come to us. We cater to private individuals as well as businesses. If they need something specially made, we can do it. We make jigs and fixtures for businesses and awning frames for companies that sell awnings.” The company also makes trailer hitches, boat ports, spiral staircases and standard staircases.
FRONT: TRACY, DOUG, LYNN, ROMAN & DAVID
MIDDLE: LINSEY, TARA, CARLEY, PATTI, JOSEPH & CHRIS
BACK: ALEXIS, BILL, MATT, AMY, COLIN, ADAM, NICK & DALE
(MISSING FROM PHOTO: KEITH, SUSAN, ROBERT AND AL)
Tell us about Normerica: Since 1979, Normerica has created the highest quality timber frame structures across North America and around the world. We have a simple philosophy: to marry traditional craftsmanship with the latest engineering and building science, delivering nothing less than our customers’ ultimate dream homes.
Why are your homes in demand? Stunning beauty and exceptional quality are what Normerica homes are renowned for, but our commitment to our clients – past and present – and an industry leading warranty are what truly set us apart. Over the years, thousands of discerning customers have trusted us with their vision – most of those customers come from referrals.
What does every Normerica home have? Every Normerica custom home or cottage is unique, with two important similarities – an airtight, energy efficient building system and a timeless design that delivers harmony and warmth. Whatever your taste, our expert in-house design team will work with you to create a home that surpasses your expectations, today and for years to come.