Orillias Wine Experience Image 3 300x200 - Cheers: CDC helps new local owners grow Orillia's Wine ExperienceOrillia’s Wine Experience is a local craft winery in the heart of Orillia, located at 117 Norweld Drive. The business has been helping customers craft their own wine since 1998 and, with the help of the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC), will continue to help our local community craft unique wines for years to come. Through the Community Futures’ BizLink program, the CDC was able to help new owners, Skylar and Shelby Johnston, confidently and seamlessly take over ownership in September 2023.

“We were seeking entrepreneurship and had heard great reviews on what the CDC has to offer the employers of the community. In our case, it’s been focused on their amazing networking services,” Johnston said. The team at the CDC was able to help the pair find the perfect business fit through their BizLink program, which helps connect business sellers with potential buyers. The program also provides businesses and entrepreneurs with wrap-around support from inception through transition and beyond.

“We believe in strong relationships with our neighbors and love to support local. Community Futures is giving us the opportunity to dive deeper into the community of entrepreneurs and other local businesses in town,” Johnston added. “We are still new business owners; however, we have amazing things in the works to expand our services as a business and enhance each customer’s experience when they come into the store. We are excited to reach new opportunities and support other local businesses with help from the BizLink program.”

Tezza 0205 225x300 - Cheers: CDC helps new local owners grow Orillia's Wine ExperienceThrough the Community Futures Program, supported by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Orillia Area CDC offers expert knowledge and tailored on-the-ground support to rural businesses and organizations within the community. Support services include providing business counselling and access to financing.

“The support rural businesses and organizations, like Orillia’s Wine Experience, receive from Community Futures Development Corporations is unparalleled,” said the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “Orillia Area CDC’s BizLink program, for example, has helped the Johnston’s become business owners and set their business up for success. When we invest in CFDCs across southern Ontario, our Government is investing in the growth and success of rural communities.”

Not only are the Johnston’s eager to make themselves known in the community and collaborate with other businesses, they are also working hard to make their new space their own, including upgrading some of the interiors and hanging a new sign on the exterior of their building. “Although we have many amazing and fun changes happening to the look of our space, we will not be changing our amazing product,” Johnston said.

The two are looking forward to leveraging these upgrades to help offer new services, including hosting different community events similar to their recent floral and wine tasting event. For this event, Orillia’s Wine Experience collaborated with local florist, Taylor Breckles, and hosted the event at Cavana Ridge where guests had the opportunity to make their own floral arrangements while learning about and tasting a variety of wines.

“We have plenty more collaborations we would like to create with other local entrepreneurs in the community and can’t wait to share it all and have everyone be a part ofTezza 2562 225x300 - Cheers: CDC helps new local owners grow Orillia's Wine Experience it,” said Johnston. “We look forward to offering something different to do in Orillia!”

None of this would have been possible without the help of the Community Futures program and the two are forever grateful for everyone’s help at the CDC throughout this journey.

To learn more about Orillia’s Wine Experience, visit www.orilliaswineexperience.com or call 705-325-5340.

For more information on the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) visit www.orilliacdc.com or contact 705-325-4903 x 101. BizLink is a regional program assisting business owners and entrepreneurs in successful Business Transitions through connections, coaching and financing.

Special thanks to project funder, The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.

The Community Futures Program is funded by FedDev Ontario. For 14 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation, growth and job creation in Canada’s most populous region.


Source: Orillia Matters