January 2020 - Nadine Kelly 

Meet Nadine Kelly, Founder/CEO of the fast growing meal service business Breakfast Lunch & Deener and Co-Founder of The Cook Nook.

Nadine moved to Thunder Bay in 2015 after completing her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at the University of Guelph. Nadine came to Thunder Bay to help her mom and after some research decided to start a personal training business. As her business grew larger, she realized the lack of services available to help busy people with their nutrition, beyond just advisory services. Nadine was, and still is a firm believer that nutrition is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, and grew increasingly frustrated as clients struggled with nutrition, simply because they just didn’t have the time or the desire to cook. Breakfast Lunch & Deener was established in May 2016 as Thunder Bay’s premier prepared meal service. It is intended for individuals who are busy and would rather not spend their valuable time grocery shopping, cooking, and doing dishes. Breakfast Lunch & Deener is designed for individuals who value nutrient-dense, minimally-processed, whole foods. In early 2019, Breakfast Lunch & Deener started re-positioning itself in the market: They are no longer just a meal service, they are now your one-stop-shop for Everything #MealPrep.

"We are establishing ourselves as the premier healthy prepared-meal manufacturer in the region, with a production team of 8 individuals, and an additional 3 jobs coming in 2020." Says Nadine, "At Breakfast Lunch & Deener, we strive to support the local economy by purchasing ingredients and materials from local businesses as much as possible. We believe whole foods are the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. We pride ourselves in using simple and pure ingredients, avoiding processed and preserved foods. Our meals are created from scratch: we peel carrots, chop onions, roll meatballs, mix salad dressings, etc.! Our unique distribution model promotes the local economy by driving additional foot traffic and awareness into their establishments."

Nadine most recently helped establish The Cook Nook in partnership with the Nor'Wester Maple Company. Businesses in the food manufacturing and processing industry are often faced with the challenge of growth between starting-up and scaling. Breakfast Lunch & Deener and Nor’Wester Maple Company both rented shared kitchen space locally, designed to help start-up companies. It was a great temporary solution for their part-time space needs. By 2018 both businesses reached production capacity at these rental facilities and therefore were faced with a tough decision: Allow the business to plateau or take the leap to grow by moving into their facility.

Sean and Nadine connected in late 2018 at events hosted by the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre and the Community Economic Development Commission, and decided to explore the option of partnering to establish a shared production facility. This would allow for a permanent home for both businesses, allowing for the cost of this type of expansion to be shared.

In March 2019, renovations started for The Cook Nook. The Cook Nook is designed to house a small number of proven businesses looking to expand, but who do not require a brick-and-mortar location of their own. The Cook Nook is the new home for Breakfast Lunch & Deener, Nor’Wester Maple Company, and Canada West Maple Products as anchor-tenants. The fully-licensed and A-rated facility will be available for rent to other proven businesses over the next few months. The Cook Nook offers a unique long-term solution to a part-time space need and will help grow and sustain the food manufacturing sector in the Thunder Bay area.


Q & A with Nadine:


1. What drew you to entrepreneurship?
I started my first business because I wanted to work for myself, without the commitment of working
specific hours or days. I wanted to be able to spend time with my mom, whenever she needed me. I
just wanted the freedom to work for myself.
But now, almost 5 years later, it’s become so much more than that.
On a personal level, my businesses allow me to live my day-to-day life in a way that I genuinely
enjoy. I really value personal growth and development, and being an Entrepreneur allows you to
develop yourself almost daily. I love creating some kind of structure out of chaos, solving problems,
and being able to truly see the effects my efforts have on my businesses. Most days, I don’t feel like
I’m working. I feel excited to seize the opportunities that I’m presented with, and I love knowing that I
am building something from what used to be nothing.

2. What is your most memorable moment being an entrepreneur?
When I moved to Thunder Bay, I knew less than a handful of people. I found it extremely challenging
to build a service-based business, in a local economy that was heavily based on who you know. I
think my most memorable moment would have to be winning the Chamber of Commerce Young
Entrepreneur of the Year Award. It felt like a full-circle moment, going from knowing almost no one
and struggling to get the business off the ground, to standing in front of a room full of Thunder Bay’s
business community recognized for my efforts.

3. Who was your biggest inspiration/mentor?
My biggest mentor locally has been, without a doubt, Jim Stadey. A friend of mine introduced me to
Jim in May 2016 while I was struggling to figure out what I needed to launch my business. Right
away, Jim agreed to meet with me, and less than a week later Breakfast Lunch & Deener was
officially launched. Jim has been an incredible ally to myself and my business for almost 4 years. If it
wasn’t for Jim, I don’t think I would have overcome some of the major obstacles I’ve been faced with.

4. If you could go back in time what piece of advice would you give yourself?
People matter. The people you meet and the people you choose to bring in to your business can
have a profound impact on the direction the business takes, and the relationships you have with your
customers and your audience as a whole define your brand, and therefore your entire business.
The realization of the profound effect people can have has been challenging to navigate, especially
because I only truly realized this mid-way through 2019… and I can’t really say that I have it figured
out, or that I’ll ever have it figured out, for that matter.

 February 2020 - Natalie Carrier

Meet Natalie Carrier, Owner of Lullaby's.


Natalie is originally from Thunder Bay and when she had the opportunity to open up a baby boutique here in the City, it was a no brainer. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs Natalie had always dreamed of having her own business and after her son was born in 2015, she quickly realized that there was a lack of options in Thunder Bay when it came to baby clothing & accessories. Therefore, when the opportunity to open a baby boutique presented itself, Natalie could not refuse. Lullaby’s was established in March of 2019, opening its storefront a couple months later in July 2019.  Lullaby’s features unique and high quality baby, children and maternity clothing. With a knack for keeping up to date with the latest trends, Natalie prides herself on providing the best of children’s fashion. Natalie also runs an online store where customers can see the latest trends in children’s fashion. Lullaby’s boutique is located at 21 Cumberland st. S and online at lullabysboutique.ca 


Q & A with Natatlie:


1. What drew you to entrepreneurship?

My parents both owned businesses while I was growing up, so entrepreneurship has always been something I was interested in. I've always dreamed of having a business of some kind. When I became pregnant with my son, I realized that my dream of owning a business became a dream of owning a baby boutique. There was one that I often shopped at when I was in the city, and when she decided to close her doors, she offered to sell her inventory to me. Because I had been dreaming of my own baby boutique for nearly four years at that point, it was an offer I couldn't turn down.


2. What is your most memorable moment being an entrepreneur?

My most memorable moment as an entrepreneur was probably the Grand Opening for the storefront. It was an amazing day with lots of positive feedback. I was lucky enough to have my friend, Melissa of Little Dulcina's, join me for a pop up that day with all of her yummy treats.


3. Who was your biggest inspiration/mentor?
My biggest inspiration is my son. I do everything in order to make sure he has the best life and opportunities possible. He inspires me to chase my dreams and follow my heart.


4. If you could go back in time what piece of advice would you give yourself?
If I could go back in time, there is very little I would change, so the advice I would probably give myself would be: everything falls into place in due time. Be patient. Be positive. Focus on relationships (with customers, with distributors, with friends, and with family). Ask for help.




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