Small Businesses Adapt in Stone Mills

Susan Moore & Katherine Burrows

Recently, small businesses have been challenged to adapt to restrictions that are unprecedented in our lifetime. However, flexibility and creative problem-solving are nothing new in the life of an entrepreneur. Small business owners know that making regular adjustments to the way they do things is crucial to survival in any economic or social environment. Here are some examples of Stone Mills businesses flourishing through adaptation.

Lakeview Tavern

The Lakeview Tavern has been a local Tamworth/Erinsville landmark since 1878, and the current owner, Tanya Maiurro, has presided there for 13 years. The Lakeview was focused originally on the bar crowd and has now become a family restaurant with a great location on County Road 41 near the shore of Beaver Lake and Lions Park.

With the recent COVID-19 pause, Tanya has adapted from a sit-down restaurant to a take-out business. She continues to offer their complete take-out menu. The response has been very good, with lots of customers taking Lakeview food home, especially on Friday nights for the ever-popular wings, and Sunday nights for beer-battered fish and chips.

Big changes have been made. Take-out meals require specific packaging, and condiments must be in small containers: these both add cost to the overhead. In the kitchen, a set number of meals are prepared in 15-minute increments. Timing is everything! At the entranceway, one customer at a time is allowed into the vestibule for contactless pick-up and payment by credit card.

Customers have been highly supportive and patient. Patron Mike Elliot says, “The Lakeview is doing so well, and we love the food. What keeps us coming back are the exceptional service and the friendly staff.”

Stone Mills Family Market

The Tamworth Stone Mills Family Market is an independent store that has been serving the community since 2000. Helen and Dave Yoo took over as owners in 2016, and they live just down the road.

This grocery store is a one-stop-shop, offering a wide variety of products. There is a fresh produce section, with local choices in season. Ask the butcher in the meat department for those special cuts. Visit the deli/ bakery for fresh bread and cookies, and custom-sliced meat and cheese.  Just ask for made-to-order subs, sandwiches and party trays. Look for Gramma Lilas Tarts, a locally homemade delicacy for any true fan of butter tarts.

Local specialty items are cheeses, honey, maple syrup, and handmade soap. Gluten-free foods are also available. In spring and summer, the Garden Centre is open with flowers, vegetables and herbs, plus mulch and soil. Fresh flowers are always in stock.

The newest acquisition is a Lotto Centre including 649 and scratch tickets. You can find ATM service, propane, and worms for fishing.  Try out the self-serve Van Houtte coffee counter. A nice novelty are the dish scrubbies (in the photo) lovingly handmade by Helen’s mom!

COVID-19 adaptations include plastic shields at the cash, card readers sanitized between customers, and extra in-store cleaning. Free grocery delivery is always available for seniors and those with disabilities living in Tamworth: simply call the store.

Having a full-service grocery store in Stone Mills is a luxury. Helen and Dave welcome your support.

Yarker Lucky Dollar

Massive renovations were completed at Yarker Lucky Dollar in late fall 2019, long before anyone had heard of COVID-19. Owner David Chang had the entire retail space gutted to significantly reduce the store’s carbon footprint.

It turned out to be great timing. Aisles that had already been widened to three feet for accessibility, easily accommodated additional shelving and products, social distancing space, sanitation stations, and directional floor arrows.

“Without the renovation, we couldn’t be doing what we’re doing. We wouldn’t have survived this without it,” says David.

He also wouldn’t have been able to provide such extensive services to the community without the help and long hours put in by his family Sue (mom) and Chong (dad) Chang, as well as staff Lee and Judy, whom he also considers family.

Recent additions include more local vendors, some from Yarker Farmer’s Market. David reliably stocks fresh vegetables, baking supplies, cleaning products, and bottled water. He receives regular deliveries from Detlor’s Maple Syrup, Quinn’s Meats, Reid’s Dairy and Weston Bakery.

Staff also deliver to local residents. David wants to ensure that no one goes without the basics and provides a safe place to get groceries without going to Kingston. It reduces community risk when one person goes to the city for supplies, and then the rest of the residents can purchase locally.

“Truth be told, although people are saying what a great job we’re doing, it’s really the community that’s stepping up. That’s what the article should be about. I couldn’t be more thankful. It’s the least I could do,” David confides humbly.

McCormick’s Country Store

McCormick’s Country Store owners Lindsay Noyes and Justin Martin demonstrate their dedication to the Stone Mills community through several modifications to improve customer experience.

During the widespread power outage in 2003, the siblings added a huge generator, assuring power to the store. Their 2005 expansion added Country Style to provide high-quality coffee, donuts and muffins. They expanded again in 2009 with Square Boy Pizza, giving customers the option of prepared food.

“Small businesses don’t really thrive unless they adapt,” Lindsay emphasizes.

Repaving the parking lot and installing new fuel pumps in 2014 reduced wait times for customers. Last October, a new cooler was purchased to add LCBO and Beer Store stock. A further expansion is planned to increase LCBO and beer space.

COVID-19-specific adaptations include plexiglass at the cash, hand sanitizer stations, using only one cash register so customers can keep six feet between them, limiting the number of customers in the store, ensuring only attendants pump gas, providing a payment machine at the car if people don’t want to come in, and contactless deliveries.

The most difficult decision they’ve made was the removal of the back table that served as a gathering spot for locals. “We have great staff, great customers – we’re one big happy family,” Lindsay explains. It’s clear how much they are looking forward to the time when the table can return, and that family can gather together again.

Our small businesses play a huge role in shaping our township personality. They support and promote our rural lifestyle and encourage us to find common ground in our small rural community.

When you add the unique character of Stone Mills to the natural resiliency of our local small business owners, you get a community where residents connect with each other. We know the value of supporting our own.

Lakeview Tavern
5771 County Road 41, Erinsville

Stone Mills Family Market
672 Addington Street, Tamworth

McCormick’s Country Store 
2561 County Rd 4, Camden East

Yarker Lucky Dollar
4255 County Rd 1 East, Yarker