Ontario village becoming desired place for small businesses

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Orono becoming desired place for small businesses
Orono lost a couple of key drivers in the community last year, the bank and LCBO. But several new shops are starting to take their place and it's becoming a desirable place to start a small business. – Oct 10, 2019

Orono has faced some recent economic troubles with a couple of important businesses shutting down.

However, several new shops are starting to take their place. The municipality is becoming a desirable place to start a small business.

Kelly Addison is getting ready to open Kelly’s Green Lounge next week in Orono. In addition to selling cannabis-related products, she’s also offering information on how to use all parts of the plant.

“I wanted to create a space for people to feel safe and learn about cannabis,” said Addison.

The workshops and seminars focus on growing, harvesting, cooking and consuming cannabis.

It’s a new business idea that’s helping revitalize the local economy.

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Last fall, Orono lost its LCBO and the CIBC bank closed. Despite that, the long-time resident wanted to open a storefront on Main Street.

“I was not afraid of opening up in Orono. I love Orono. I got married here on New Year’s Eve in the Orono church, my son goes to the Orono school, my dog gets groomed across the road, I get my hair done down the road as well,” said Addison.

Kelly’s Green Lounge is one of six new businesses planning on opening in downtown Orono over the next two years.

It’s welcomed news for Heather Maitland, who’s owned a hair salon on the four-block stretch for almost three years.

“It’s nice to watch a town that’s usually a bedroom community with not a lot of action, and now we’re expanding and now we’re growing and there’s lots of opportunity for new businesses to come in here,” said Maitland, owner of Strands Hair Studio.

“Six years ago I would have been running for the door, with the legalization of marijuana,” Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster said. “Clarington is a willing host community. Cannabis will likely be the second largest component here in a couple of years.”

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Dr. Ashfakuddin Rubel, Ontario Tech University economics associate professor, says a community like Orono can be a desirable place to start a new business.

“One of the biggest incentives for a smaller community is the overhead cost, the rent that would be cheap,” said Rubel.

Back at Kelly’s Green Lounge, Addison hopes this new venture in downtown Orono can be the spark needed to get the village booming again.

“This is the right spot,” said Addison.

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