Thedford refill store latest Business Boost Bundle winner

Owners of a bulk refill store in Thedford that opened its doors about a week ago are getting help with rent, renos, and sign costs, as well as other goodies, as the winners of this year’s Business Boost Bundle contest.

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Owners of a bulk refill store in Thedford that opened its doors about a week ago are getting help with rent, renovations and sign costs, as well as a few other goodies, as the winners of this year’s Business Boost Bundle contest.

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But the thing that sticks out for The Dunes Refillery owner Raquel Murray is the business planning help she and husband and store co-owner Geoff received through the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation-hosted annual entrepreneurship contest.

“It can be a little bit of a daunting task,” the Grand Bend mom of two said about setting up a business plan. “They just made it super simple to complete.”

Similar to years past, there were just shy of 30 entries in the competition, which provides entrants training in things like business planning, business law, marketing and human resources, said business development corporation general manager Don Anderson.

Three finalists made proposals to a panel of judges in the May 25 virtual finale, he said.

“Elevator pitch” videos for the businesses were also uploaded in advance for people’s choice award voting.

The Dunes Refillery won that $ 1,000 prize too, he said.

“Some great work had been done by all of them,” Anderson said about the finalists, which also included Do Better Center and Intention – A Natural Company.

Most program participants go on to open their businesses, he said, even if they don’t win the prize pack – $ 15,000 for rent, $ 5,000 for leasehold improvements, $ 2,500 for signs, free business counseling with development corporation, a one-year business banking account with Southwest Regional Credit Union, and a one-year Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce membership.

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The rent and leasehold improvement sums can also go to equipment or working capital needs, officials said.

New to the prize pack this year was $ 200 in business supplies form Manley’s Basics.

Regardless of the business type, office supplies are going to be needed, Anderson noted.

“We all need some stuff,” he said.

Bluewater Power and CR Creative are the other event sponsors.

Murray said the business has been good since The Dunes Refillery quietly opened last Tuesday.

Spices, snacks and cooking ingredients, along with oils and vinegars, hygiene items and household cleaners, are available for people to purchase and fill their own containers, she said, noting as much as possible is sourced within 40 miles of the 8575 Lakeshore Rd. store.

She and her husband were inspired to start the business to create more local options in the Grand Bend area, she said. She also described the specialty grocery store an outlet for local farmers, growers and creators to sell their items.

“Purchasing what our family needs left us going out of town for our groceries, especially since we live in a more rural community,” she said, noting they like to experiment with cooking.

“Having to go 45 minutes away to purchase what we need in the quantity that we need just doesn’t seem ethical or sustainable to us.”

Learning the ins and outs of business planning with other startups was a good experience, she said.

“I think the competition itself was well laid out,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”

tkula@postmedia.com

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