PERTH—Although only in business for a few months, at a second location of Manitoulin Chocolate Works, Heather McKeen of Perth Chocolate Works has been awarded with the Perth and District Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneur Award.
“To be selected for any of the Chamber awards you have to be nominated, which means other business members. I’m honoured our business was nominated for this award, despite not being in business here for very long,” stated Heather McKeen. Perth Chocolate Works is a branch of Manitoulin Chocolate Works owned by the McKeen sisters, Heather and Brenda and their parents Louise and Keith, in Kagawong.
Perth Chocolate Works opened earlier this year, after a process for seeking out and finding the location for the second store, which took a few years in the making.
“We opened our second location earlier this year, in June,” Ms. McKeen told the Recorder. “It has been good; there is a different kind of atmosphere here than Manitoulin Island, and it’s been good. It’s fun and interesting in figuring out what customer likes and favourite tastes are. But it certainly seems our Bear Claws are winning.”
“The business community works well together,” said Ms. McKeen. She pointed out the Chamber of Commerce takes in all of Perth and area, and there is a business improvement association for the downtown area, “which we are also a part of. The two groups work separate, but together. It is a good place to own a business.”
“Right now we’re gearing up for the Christmas season, it seems to start early in Perth,” said Ms. McKeen who lives in Perth with her husband Adib El-Khoury. “We will be holding our first Christmas open house next weekend, and there is a festival every weekend in November.”
Valley Heartland nominated Perth Chocolate Works for the Young Entrepreneur Award, which was presented at the Perth and District Chamber of Commerce annual awards night Thursday, October 19.
The Smith’s Falls Record News reported that Ms. McKeen was presented with this year’s Young Entrepreneur Award by Valley Heartland’s board chair Diane Adshead. Perth Chocolate Works moved into its home on the main floor of the town’s historic Code’s Mill, earlier this year.
“Everyone was so welcoming and helpful,” said Ms. McKeen of her move to Perth during her acceptance speech. “It made February in Perth feel less lonely.”
The Record News reported that Ms. McKeen said as part of her speech, “this award is as much my sister Brenda’s and my mother Louise’s as it is mine,” she said. “Without them this award would not exist.”
Ms. McKeen also thanked Valley Heartland for their support, acknowledging that with their help they were able to buy a piece of chocolate making equipment from Italy.