Stay informed and discover the latest happenings in Belleville, Ontario with the Belleville Chamber of Commerce News.
The Boathouse Seafood Restaurant has been a member of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce since 2005.
Meet Greg Annesley, owner of The Boathouse, located at 32 South Front St., along the river’s edge in Belleville.
With just 30 seats, the restaurant first opened in the spring of 2000, without heat or air conditioning, and offering a breakfast menu starting at 6:30 a.m.
His previous experience in owning a pool hall didn’t provide many skill sets needed to run a restaurant. He had to learn as he went, through trial and error and a huge helping of resilience and determination. He drove taxi at night, and slept on a friend’s couch while he pursued his dream.
By 2004, Greg knew that to grow, he needed to expand. Banks weren’t willing to take the leap with him, and a regular customer recommended Trenval. Greg got the maximum available loan at the time of $150,000, and the dream of expanding became a reality. Greg recalled that the first plan was drawn on a napkin. In 2008, Trenval once again supported this growing business in a second expansion loan.
Today, The Boathouse is the only ‘true’ seafood restaurant in the area, but ironically fish and chips weren’t even on the menu until 2005.
Earlier this year, COVID shut them down. Greg and Nancy were forced to re-invent their business. They immediately started new training, implementing new rules and technology and with barely a break, the business opened for take-out. The take-out business became so successful, they hired their own delivery staff. They are still offering take-out service five nights a week.
Recently nominated for a Quinte Business Achievement Award, Greg said the biggest success factors in his business are his staff. Greg and Nancy celebrate with their staff as milestones, both personally and professionally, are celebrated. Realizing that people need a balance between work and home, they try to accommodate lifestyles and schedules, offering a place to be a ‘lifer’ in the industry.
In Greg’s words, “Don’t take no for an answer”. When you need it to work, you will find a way.
The Boathouse doesn’t just have great food! They give back to the community in many ways, including donating face shields to every staff member at the Belmont Long Term Care Facility.
Congratulations to The Boathouse on their continued success.
READ MORE 'Meet Our Member' profiles on the 'Member's Corner'.