The Bridge to Prosperity
When Elise Boyer first moved to Bracebridge it was for love – not for the town, but for a man who came into her Huntsville store VERANDA shopping for white wicker furniture for his Bracebridge home. Months later, they eloped in Vancouver and once back in Muskoka, she sold the business she had operated for more than a decade, and moved to Bracebridge.
After six months running her design services business on-line but missing the physical presence of the bricks and mortar store and the interaction she enjoyed with customers, she bought a heritage building on historic Manitoba Street in Bracebridge. Her retail and design business VERANDA was re-born and Elise hasn’t looked back.
She restored the 1904 building, including wood panels and high tin ceiling of its second story. After only one year, she bought an adjacent building to bring its empty storefront back to life, too. “Why not” Elise asks, “when there is so much opportunity?”
The enthusiasm of Bracebridge officials for revitalizing the downtown core has contributed to her accelerating business. A combination loan-and-grant program is helping fund façade renewal and other upgrades to her buildings and others in the community.
Bracebridge, she has discovered, has extensive market pull. Former customers from Huntsville and north Muskoka readily make the half-hour drive, while new customers arrive from other communities for something they can’t get elsewhere.
Her clients for home design are a mix of longtime locals, summer residents and new arrivals relocating or retiring from city jobs to the easier pace of life in a setting of scenic splendor
For Elise Boyer, a love in Bracebridge has turned into a love of Bracebridge where she is building her business and rejuvenating the downtown core at the same time.
View Full Article Here