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From the Desk of the CEO Jill Raycroft

At the Member Appreciation Mingle, I had mentioned how excited I was about some of our newest members and their ability to make the concept of social enterprise come alive for me...  having been academically trained in business (I get that true entrepreneurs scoff at those three little letters), we learned about Corporate Social Responsibility and the Triple Bottom Line - but these members are making it real (and I hope with our help and yours, profitable!)  Please read on for some incredible stories of resourcefulness, collaboration, product differentiation in the context of a collective and what is going to make our community grow in such incredible ways!

The Step-by-Step OMG (Orthotic, Mobility, Gait) Centre has transformed the former Build Belleville offices into a phenomenal foot clinic with the storefront of Sole Solutions + - that is so much more than what you put on your feet.  It's about what you put your feet in.  Dr. Al Ladhani is a chiropodist who came to the area with the intention of retiring but realised there were so many people in need of good foot care, he needed to continue. (I may have paraphrased the story, but that's the gist of it and he has patients from Markham who've followed him here).   Along with skin care, diabetic foot care, orthotics and on-site equipment to "fit you right" the team of Al & Sal will make your feet happy!  Sal is a frequent poster in our Belleville Chamber of Commerce Members Group and loves a visit from real people!  The space is nearly complete and they hope to add a small cafe, aesthetics and yoga to the current collective of massage, orthotics, gait care and amazing shoes.  Put those new shoes on and skip around the corner to...

She Thrives was born, serendipitously, through two best friends who had the same thought of building a wellness centre.  With other businesses thriving in Toronto and the Cobourg/Kawartha region, the two had a dream of building something different.  And different it is...  She Thrives has become a collective of 11 different practitioners who offer their unique (both traditional & non) healing methods to help women "thrive".  Walking through the door - you feel it. Sarah is brimming with ideas of how she can use the space at 161 Front St (former home of both Henry Corby's office AND the Belleville Chamber of Commerce) to support women, provide access to information through classes and workshops and open the door to the singlepreneur who often works in isolation.  You need to visit to appreciate all they have to offer and follow them on Facebook to catch an upcoming class or event (you don't have to be a woman to go, either).

The Skin Theorist with Dee is coming together but with a multitude of ideas around a series of products (the primary being the perfect receptacle) and how you can service your skin around what it needs through the help of an Ayurvedic practitioner.  She is looking for a team who can help take this vision from an online store to a full-on experience in her retreat-like home located on Airport Parkway.  The possibilities are endless.

And then we have a couple of our newest Trenval members - whose membership is supported through their participation in the program - but I'm in awe of how they've each taken a simple idea (house-cleaning and bartending) and brought these services into the 21st century.  Stephanie at Mommy Mops has almost an Uber-like service allowing both the client and the professional cleaner flexibility with scheduling - when it works (or when you've got company coming and there's no way you have time to get the floors cleaned let alone the laundry done).  You consult in person the first time and go through the a la carte service options - set it up and then the app does the rest when you're ready (or something like that).

And Keri & Mandy are the faces of The Whiskey Sisters offering full service event bar tending "so all you have to worry about is your dance moves"! No event is too big or too small for The Whiskey Sisters – and they "look forward to serving something spectacular with you".  Again, you can choose your level of service from full on, they bring it all (including the bar) or they just come and serve your friends (safely).  If you don't need them soon, they're still worth following on Facebook for their weekly Featured Drink - it might be something you want to try at home!

Our members represent so many different sectors from service, industry, retail, hospitality and non-profit and their stories are all equally as important.  Over the coming months, I hope to find a way to help showcase yours!

Enjoy this last week of summer!