By Andre Gagne, Jane Heintzman, Randy Mar and Tamara Miller (this article appeared in the February 2022 edition of the New Edinburgh News)
Nature’s Buzz to close forever Feb. 19
On Feb. 19, Nature’s Buzz will close its doors for the last time, ending two decades of operation in our community as a hub for organic supplies. Throughout this 20-year period, the store has been a family-run operation, launched in 2002 by Dr. Mark Patry and his family, and later purchased in 2007 by Dale Heins, partner of store associate Nancy Phillips.
Nancy’s son Eric Passmore and daughter Chelsea Passmore – the current store manager and sales associate respectively – have become familiar figures here in the Burgh. The family has worked hard to keep locals supplied with a wide range of organic products, from meat, fish, and poultry to fresh produce, dairy items, baking supplies and more.
The Passmore–Phillips’ tenure on Beechwood has been far from uneventful. In March 2011, the store’s original location at 23 Beechwood Ave. was completely destroyed by fire. For many months, the future of the business remained in doubt as the commercial community grappled with the challenges of relocation or, in some cases, closure. Happily, Nature’s Buzz was able to secure a spot nearby at 55 Beechwood Ave. (at Douglas Avenue), where it has since remained in operation.
In recent years, the store has faced another serious challenge: the roller coaster ride of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a food supplier and thus an essential service, Nature’s Buzz was never required to close its doors, but was inevitably affected by the supply problems which continue to plague all sectors of the economy. Operating a small business is not for the faint of heart at the best of times, less still in the middle of a global pandemic!
According to Nancy, the immediate trigger for the store’s impending closure was the expiry of its current lease. Of the two major options available – renew the lease and carry on or attempt to find a buyer for the business – the Passmore–Phillips family opted for the latter. “We had a few bites,” says Nancy, but the search was ultimately unsuccessful, so the store will soon close.
While Nancy looks forward to a well-deserved retirement, both Eric and Chelsea hope to devote their full attention to their other vocations: Eric is an accomplished singer–song writer, whose musical talent first came to light in our community following the release several years ago of his début solo album, Pages of the Day. He has since been composing and recording new works, some in Nashville by Direct Image Studios. (Visit soundcloud.com/eric-passmore-990261307)
Chelsea plans to employ her expertise as a personal trainer and yoga instructor. She also has notable artistic talent as a dancer, and with Eric’s help of her brother, has ventured into the musical realm in composing and performing a song to accompany dance choreography.
We sincerely thank Eric, Chelsea, and Nancy for their many years of welcoming service in our community and wish them every success in their new endeavours.
So, what’s next for 55 Beechwood Ave? On Mar. 1, next-door neighbour Chilaquiles will take over the Nature’s Buzz premises and begin renovations to refit the space for the popular Mexican restaurant. Chilaquiles’ owner Kelvin Molina anticipates about a two-month construction process and hopes to make the move from 49 to 55 Beechwood Ave. at some point in May. In the meantime, Chilaquiles will remain open at its current location. After the move, Kelvin plans to launch a new business at 49 Beechwood Ave.: the specifics are still under discussion but should be nailed down in time for the NEN’s next edition in April. Stay tuned! –JH
Natural pet-food shop opens
Chew-That, a locally owned and operated pet supplies store with two existing locations in the Ottawa area, opened a new location at 141 Beechwood Ave. (the former home of Le Suq and before that, Jacobsons) at the end of January. You may already have visited Chew-That by the time NEN goes to print.
Like their Riverside South and Almonte locations, the new Beechwood store will offer only the best selection of high-quality pet food, treats, and accessories.
Chew-That owner Renée Hamilton brings a life-long passion to her business: she comes from a farming background; bred, raised, and trained dogs and horses; and trained as a pet nutritionist. She extensively researches and scrutinizes every product’s sourcing and specifications before a it lands on her shelves.
New Edinburgh and area pet owners will appreciate a unique pet-food selection and may recognize such brands as Fromm, Boreal, Oxbow, and Champion – many not typically found at big-box chains.
“Along with the research I do, what makes us unique is that we try to source our toys and treats locally or regionally, and we appreciate working with vendors who think and operate like us” Renée told NEN. “We focus on your pet’s nutrition and overall wellness.”
To that end, Renée and her staff are excited to offer doggy training, fitness, and daycare at the Beechwood Avenue location. The Beechwood–Acacia corner will easily allow Renée to take her own dog, along with other dogs under Chew-That’s care, to the Rockeries for great romps. The shop also offers an array of home-baked pet cupcakes, cakes, and other treats for celebrations.
Chew-That understands that animals are cherished members of our households; including, of course, feline friends and other family pets. In fact, Renée and staff often hear that they treat client’s pets like their own.
Pets and their owners are sure to extend a warm, waggly welcome to the neighbourhood!
Chew-That is located at 141 Beechwood Ave. Contact them at chew-that.ca, 613- 695-6448 or firstname.lastname@example.org –RM
Your friendly, neighbourhood cannabis shop
Following up on our October BBB report that Munchies Cannabis had applied for a permit to open a location at 131B Beechwood Ave., we can confirm that they officially opened for business on Dec. 26.
NEN chatted with co-owner and retail manager Mary-Anne Hanna to get an idea of what one can expect from this cannabis store.
Munchies Cannabis is locally owned and operated by the Hanna family – long-time Ottawa residents. The company was a year and half in the making and is committed to three things: bringing in the best legal products; providing the best education; and creating a fun, friendly and positive environment for people from all walks of life.
What sets Munchies apart from other cannabis stores is the in-house branding and décor, as well as their focus on cannabis education and information. Local artist @falldowng created the art for the store (including an Instagram wall), all of which was inspired by the Hanna family’s vision. There is no shortage of information about cannabis available to patrons to help them make informed decisions. The educational wall features nine customised poster boards with facts about cannabis. The shop’s dedicated employees – called budtenders – were carefully recruited to provide information and guidance in a safe and respectful space.
Destigmatizing cannabis is very important to Mary-Anne and the other owners of Munchies. They opened the store because of their passion for the plant, and they want community members to know that they follow provincial and federal regulations very closely. Patrons will notice a strict age-gating protocol: cannabis products are not even visible to minors who may approach the store. Only when a person’s age has been verified will they be allowed to enter the establishment.
Mary-Anne and her family are excited to be part of the Beechwood business community and encourage anyone who is curious to come and see the store for themselves and to speak with their knowledgeable employees.
Munchies Cannabis is located at 131B Beechwood Ave. Opening hours are from 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on Sunday. Reach them at 613-748-1000; follow them on social media @munchiescannaco and view their menu online at munchiescannnabis.ca –TM
Editor’s note: As of publishing, a second cannabis shop has applied to open on Beechwood. Sessions Cannabis has applied at 196 Beechwood Ave. – the new building on the site of the former Burton’s Dive shop. The public notice period ended Jan. 19.
Orleans law firm plants new roots
Natalie Guertin and Michèle Poirier are the proud co-founders of Guertin Poirier Avocates/Lawyers, a new law firm at 203–16 Beechwood Ave. providing fully bilingual notary and legal services in real estate law and estate protection.
Although established in 2021, the roots of GP stretch back generations, and as far as New Brunswick. Natalie carries on a century-old family tradition serving Ottawa’s real-estate community. Following the client-care model established by her father Louis, Natalie focuses on providing hassle-free, knowledgeable, and responsive legal services to homeowners and their agents.
Said Natalie: “We are very excited to open our doors to the community,” to which Michèle added: “and in turn open doors for you!”
Graduates of the University of Ottawa and l’Université de Moncton respectively, Natalie and Michèle each hold a Juris Doctor in Common Law (French). The pair met while at Guertin Law in Orleans.
The decision to take over the family law practice and relocate from Orleans was an easy one. A long-time Vanier resident, Natalie lives a short walk from the Beechwood Avenue office, often stopping for coffee en route. Michèle also loves the neighbourhood vibe of New Edinburgh.
Rounding out the GP team is Marianne at reception and Ashley providing legal assistance. Natalie’s mother Julie will soon join the Beechwood-based team, proudly bringing more than 30 years of estate-planning experience. All team members support the collaborative, client-centric approach to reaching the end goal: negotiating and closing real estate transactions in a respectful manner.
Natalie and Michèle each balance the demands of running a thriving professional practice and growing families – you will see them out and about in the neighbourhood.
Welcome to New Edinburgh, Natalie and Michèle!
Guertin Poirier Avocates/Lawyers is located at 203–16 Beechwood Ave. Contact them at 613-744-4488 or visit guertinpoirierlaw.ca.
Pub brings warmth to those in need
With some of the coldest days of year upon us, many already facing tough times due to the pandemic are hard pressed to find warm winter outerwear. This is something Manny Garcia and Ottawa’s Clocktower Brew Pubs hope to rectify with their Take a Coat/Leave a Coat program.
Three years ago, Manny, the general manager of the Clocktower Pub on MacKay Street, spied a posting on social media offering free winter coats to people in need. He approached Clocktower Vice President Sean Rutherford, who agreed it was a program worth developing at all pub locations.
“We saw that there was a need for it and having seven locations spread across Ottawa, we would be able to reach more people that needed a nice warm jacket in the winter with no questions asked. It’s just a nice way to give back to the community,” Manny said to the New Edinburgh News.
New Edinburgh residents may have spied the coatrack on the patio of the 422 MacKay St. location. It is left out all day and all night for those to either donate a coat or take one if needed.
“We usually start getting phone calls in in late October and early November inquiring, but we put out the coatrack in the beginning late November or early December until we find the temperature getting warmer,” says Manny.
Donors can add coats for men, women, and children to the rack. Manny assures there are no questions asked of those wishing to take one of the donations, and adds that people have begun donating gloves, scarves, and even winter boots. Every little bit helps bring some much-needed warmth to those in need.
“The staff and I could not believe the number of jackets that were being taken on a daily basis, showing that we do have a problem with low-income and homelessness in every neighbourhood of Ottawa,” Manny says. Due to current pandemic and economic events, there is an ever-increasing number of those facing financial hardship.
Last year, the City of Ottawa launched a Point-in-Time count – the first since 2018 – to survey persons experiencing homelessness. While the date for this count has yet to be released at the time of this article, the 2018 count listed 1,400 participants in need.
““This is such a rewarding program…and yet so simple. If you are able to donate any item that would help, please do,” urges Manny.
The Clocktower Pub is located at 422 MacKay St. Contact them at 613-742-3169, email@example.com or visit clocktower.ca. –ARG
Amsted Design Build
Since the launch of its satellite office, or “Living Room,” at 17 Springfield Rd. in 2014, Stittsville, Ont.-based Amsted Design Build has built up a solid local clientele of homeowners planning small- and large-scale renovation projects, or in need of regular home maintenance. COVID notwithstanding, they are accepting visits to the Springfield Road office by appointment (613-836-7434; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Owner Steve Barkhouse takes particular pride in the company’s Home Care department – a service central to Amsted’s overarching goal of establishing “clients for life.” It handles what he describes as “Honey-Do lists,” including adaptations to improve safety and livability for seniors, as well as coverage for those with busy travel schedules.
With more than three decades of experience in the design–build business in Ottawa, Amsted has an impressive range of expertise, resources, and supply networks. They have won multiple awards in categories ranging from green building to heritage preservation and kitchen design. There are currently 50 full-time Amsted employees, including six designers with specializations ranging from modern and contemporary styles to traditional arts-and-crafts. Project planners and project coordinators are also key members of the Amsted team, taking the lead with designers to plan home renovations big and small.
For Steve, the beauty of the design–build model is to break down the project planning process into small, manageable increments, each of which can be fully mapped out in terms of scale, cost, and availability of resources, before moving on to the next step.
He points out that at least 80 per cent of full-scale architectural drawings are never built, in most cases because of cost. By contrast, the “baby step” model minimizes the potential waste of time and money on a no-go project, and leaves time for fine tuning. His advice to prospective renovators: “Take the time you need to get exactly what you want, and have a budget in mind.”
Amsted’s planners and builders work year-round, regardless of the weather. In that sense, says Steve, there are no “busy seasons.” But, alas, he admits, there are now “COVID seasons” with which the company has had to contend as it navigates the rollercoaster of pandemic waves, most recently the Omicron tsunami.
A major effect of the pandemic: ubiquitous supply chain bottlenecks which have had a dramatic effect on material availability, often paralyzing progress towards project completion. But over the years, Amsted has built up an advantage: strong relationships with suppliers that allow for as much predictability as is feasible in the current turbulent environment. Another “Amsted advantage” in the COVID context is its very large team, allowing for flexibility to call in replacements if needed to cover COVID-related absences.
If a renovation is on your list of tasks that can no longer be put off, Steve’s advice is to start the process sooner rather than later. If you’re working with an Amsted project planning and design team, they can help you get the plan in place, the budget established, and the materials ordered – the timing of the build is then yours to decide.
For more details, visit amsted.ca or call 613-836-7434. –JH
Shift to virtual a benefit for local therapist
When NEN last featured Soul to Soul Counselling in June 2020, the practice had just moved online, and Nur Ambreen Ihsanullah’s clients were adjusting to the new approach.
We caught up with Ambreen – mystic, teacher and therapist for more than 30 years, as well as the owner of Soul to Soul – to talk to us about her practice and how things have been going over the last year and a half.
Ambreen’s practice used to be located on Beechwood Avenue, but she shifted to her New Edinburgh home in March 2020, where she has been offering virtual counselling ever since. The move has been a positive one for Ambreen, in that she can now work with clients anywhere in the world.
A retired teacher, Ambreen restarted her counselling practice in 2017 after returning to Ottawa from overseas. She found that traditional talk therapy didn’t create lasting change for those dealing with heavy issues, so she decided to take a different approach with her work. She calls it “soul-level work” and notes that her approach to therapy has always been holistic.
The shift to virtual practice means Ambreen now works with clients across Canada, the United States and even as far away as Dubai. In addition to counselling, she also teaches workshops using a therapeutic method known as Family Constellations, which she credits with changing her practice. This soul-based approach to healing inherited trauma and negative life patterns frees clients as individuals to live their authentic lives.
Ambreen encourages interested readers to attend one of her upcoming information sessions free of charge. “If you want to deep-dive, I am your person. We can unwrap the layers of social conditioning to discover the gift that is you!”