Our story begins in 1921 when a family owned general store opened in a rural farming village in Ontario. Through the next 90 years, this store has provided many products and services required to support farmers, local trade’s people, cottages, homeowners and seasonal residents.
The store has changed hands a few times over the years, and was nearly driven to closure years ago after a few poor decisions drove the customer base away. Our family purchased the store in 2012 after each of us were “downsized” from our long term career jobs. We developed a 3 year business plan and self-funded the entire investment using our savings, a line of credit and eventually a second mortgage.
Our business goals are simple; provide a home town choice, support local charities and keep essential goods & services available at a fair price to a rural population. Our personal goals are simple, too; pay our bills, keep our house, send our son to college, put food on the table and keep the centre piece of a small tight knit community, in the centre of the community.
Although we’ve managed to bring life back to the store and downtown area, it’s been a labour of love as we’ve maxed out lines of credit and savings to keep it alive.
We’re now 33 months into our 3 year plan and sales have grown as predicted and the customers have returned, but we’ve fallen behind on our lease and our mortgage. A federal tax bill of $18,000 has moved from a “request” to a “demand”. Our lease is up for renewal this month, but we can’t renew while in arrears.
The business has taken every penny of our savings, we’re unable to borrow anymore and creditors are calling daily.
We’re a month away from being back in season and the local lakes will fill with anglers, campers and cottagers.
We truly believe this is a vital centre piece to a rural community and we’re proud of what we accomplished so far.
We can't keep it alive without being humble and asking for some help from non-traditional sources to get us through the next couple of months and to clear our “baggage” that is holding us back.
If you have taken the time to read this and understand the importance of supporting family, small business and community, then please share our story with your friends. If you could offer a donation, we would be forever grateful. $20,000 would solidify the future, but we’re not reaching and we’re not greedy. Our goal is only $10,000 and when we achieve it, we’ll pay it forward by providing our local food bank with a donation funded from this campaign.
Thank you very much for taking the time to learn a little about us, our struggles and our dreams.
The Main Street Hardware Family
Doug, Julie, Brenden & Cheryl
Main Street Hardware
139 Main Street
Seeleys Bay, On
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