SHEGUIANDAH – The changing of the guard at Sheguiandah’s Green Acres Tent and Trailer Park (and restaurant) was anything but abrupt, as the new owners, Jeff and Jacqueline Kavanagh, spent several weeks last year and earlier this year getting hands on with the ropes of running a popular tent and trailer park and restaurant.
Customer service is job one with the couple and their children, daughter Sidney and son Drew, and their business philosophy was germinated in both the recent and distant past.
“We have always been involved in volunteering,” said Ms. Kavanagh who, although she grew up in Toronto, her Island roots run deep. “My family is from here,” she said, supplying that her mother’s last name was Allen and that she still has family here. “I have a couple of sets of grandparents buried in Gore Bay.”
Mr. Kavanagh is from Toronto, where he has served 25 years with Toronto Fire Services, but the Island isn’t all that much of a change for him. “She’s been bringing me up here for years,” he said. His family is originally from Newfoundland and the similarities between the two topographies and culture has helped him meld into the community.
The Kavanagh children have spent their summers growing up on Manitoulin and have made many friends in the neighbourhood with whom they are reconnecting.
Daughter Sidney’s chosen vocation is baking, having studied culinary arts and baking in school. Her passion is the Island’s gain and it has not taken long for Sidney to make her mark on the business.
“We changed the front to make it a bakery more than a store,” said Mr. Kavanagh. “She even has a name for it, ‘The Green Acres’ Sweet Spot’.” The assortment of cookies and other items in the display case lure both young and old into that part of the store. “Both children and elders seem to be drawn to the sparkle,” laughed Mr. Kavanagh. “It’s popular with all ages.”
Ms. Kavanagh said that the decision to purchase the resort was a tribute to her mother. “She used to bring me and our family to Pepper Point Road every summer,” she said. “We would come here (Green Acres) for ice cream. The owners at the time were very nice and they left a lasting impression on me.”
The new owners are planning on maintaining the menu that customers have enjoyed over the years. “We are keeping things the same,” said Ms. Kavanagh. “Over time we will add a few things of our own.”
The resort is very definitely a family concern, with everyone pitching in on all fronts. Mr. Kavanagh said that he has discovered his inner Jack-of-all-trades, finding himself engaged in widely divergent activities on any given day.
Taking over a long-established Island business in itself creates a bit of a buzz, but doing it in the midst of a pandemic has provided an unlooked-for bonus. Not having the hectic addition of serving tables in a popular restaurant has allowed the family to settle in with a bit more elbow room in the busy day than might otherwise be the case. But the family is confident that once the shackles of COVID-19 have loosened, they will be well up to speed in the restaurant as well.
Hours for Green Acres Restaurant, currently for takeout only, are from 11 am to 8 pm, serving fresh baked goods daily, weekly dinner specials and, of course, the aforementioned Sweet Spot and its weekend delights.The restaurant will be opening for indoor dining soon. Check the business’s Facebook page for updates. The attached store is open from 3 pm to 8 pm.