Category Archives: Ontario

Linda’s Books


ALL BOOKS AVAILABLE IN CARLETON PLACE AT: WISTERIA in Carleton Place-Wisteria (62 Bridge St. – Carleton Place) and The Artists Loft in Smiths Falls. All are available at ALL Amazons in paperback and Kindle.

Linda’s recent book “The Tilted Kilt: Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place” (March 2015) , are for sale at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada–North Lanark Regional Museum (Appleton)-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books in Almonte and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.


flashbacks of little miss flash cadilac

“Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac”
(May 2015) Available at

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac (May 2015)

There once was a store on Rideau Street in Ottawa called Flash Cadilac Clothing. After so many years, its history evaporated from my mind, until Webb Dann and Lost Ottawa showed up on Facebook and jogged my memory one too many times. I started to think, and began to remember. That experience was all about the people I loved, the people I annoyed, and the people that prayed for the customers in my store.

Flash Cadilac left an impression on many people, and of all the words written about those times, I have always loved this clip by blogger, chef, and friend, Doff Doppler (aka Devin Goulden): “In the beginning there was Flash Cadilac, a store notoriously known for its apparel: leather, lace, whips, chains, tattoos, and piercings. ”

Yes, that sets the table! Bon appétit!

(March 2015) Available at

“Tilting the Kilt: Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place”
(March 2015) Available at

Tilting the Kilt: Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place (March 2015)

Gossip is the civilized version of grooming each other for fleas. You can stop gossip with a simple, “That’s none of my business,” but why would you? Somewhere in our deep past we remember when cavemen gossiped over a recent kill, memorializing the one who didn’t hold up his end of the hunt. Stories begun by gossip are a significant channel of informal communication with something like 70% accuracy.

The stories gathered here in Tilting the Kilt began life within 10 miles of Carleton Place. Linda guesses that makes them close to 50% accurate. Gossip-born stories, sharing a standard currency of human connection, will make you smile, then you can pass them along, adding your own layers to make them even more spectacular.


“Cancer Always Calls Collect”
(April 2014) Available at

Cancer Always Calls Collect (April 2014)

“It’s cancer,” he said, “and it’s not looking good.” I hung up the phone and cried because I knew there was almost nothing I could do to help — but I would see him to whatever final chapter there was, either good or bad. I would do whatever I could.

There was a pause, and then he said the word. Cancer. Immediately calling his bluff, I told him he was nuts, and probably just had ulcers. I never imagined a man of his strength being caught by vicious cancer cells — or could they penetrate the strong too? There was no way — cancer was my family’s disease, not his.

Over the phone wires, over the weeks that followed, over the thousands of miles of travel to be by his side, he told me what I had heard so many times in my life.


“Naked Yoga, Twinkies, and Celebrities”
(May 2013) Available from

Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities (May 2013)

Find out … Who is building the Titanic ll and why? Are cell phones dangerous on airplanes? Why does Linda train woodpeckers?

Linda tears apart the weird, the wacky, and the outrageous and tells it like it is. Would you expect anything different?


“Cowansville High School Misremembered”
(February 2013) Available at

Cowansville High School Misremembered (February 2013)

When former students of Cowansville High School, plus some of those who went on to école secondaire Massey-Vanier, meet up on Facebook to gossip and reminisce, this is what you get.

Fred Allen once said, “We have to document times and places as we will always have trouble remembering three things: faces, names, and — I can’t remember what the third thing is.”


“Menopausal Woman from the Corn”
(April 2012) Available from

Menopausal Woman from the Corn (April 2012)

Stories Your Mother Was Afraid to Tell You – or Forgot:

Linda attempts to find just the right dressing room to try on her life … preferably one with good lighting!

Meet Chef Dusty Pettes from Ballygiblins



Gordon Ramsay has said that there is definitely a bond among kitchen staff. The staff of any restaurant spends more time in the kitchen than they do with their own families. Dusty Pettes has a wife and daughter, yet Ballygiblins in Carleton Place is mostly called home. The former “Undocumented Mayor of Prospect” began the hard way in the old Angus Barn on Highway 29. Within a month of beginning there as a cleaner, he moved up the culinary ladder prepping, and then progressed to Prime Rib and Steakhouse selections. Similar to how Chef Anthony Bourdain trains his chefs, Dusty worked his way up in the ‘streets” of the ktichen.

A chef is a mixture maybe of artistry and craft. You have to learn the craft really to get there. Dusty gained experience at local eating establishments like Leatherworks, and finally met Derek Levesque at the old Mississippi Hotel. From there, it was on to Ballygiblin’s where he never looked back. Bally’s is one of our local gems serving excellent food, sourced locally.

You don’t become a chef to become famous, and Dusty is all about using local produce and meats. Everything is made by scratch like it used to be. You won’t find them opening up a bag of frozen french fries at Ballygibin’s. Sure, it costs a bit more, but they support local farmers and butchers like Anderson Farms. They are known for their burgers, and the ground meat they buy locally is so good very little filler is needed. Their popular homestyle burger has seasonings, salt and pepper, and that’s all she wrote. No matter what it is, Dusty loves to push the boundaries of flavour. A home cooked meal, but with a different approach.

As a chef, you need to respect your guests and their needs. Dusty understands that, and they do a variation of food on the menu. From comfort food with a twist, to world foods, there is something for everyone. Some daily specials are featured as a testing ground to get feedback. It’s all about the customer! Dan, the baking chef’s desserts are so good he could be called “someone’s mom”. Cheese cakes are his specialties, and there is word a Tiramsu is in the works!

His work beliefs as a chef are carried on at home with his daughter being taught how to raise chickens, and his wife Jessica involved with our beloved community Beckwitch. (more about her this week) Fresh eggs, and expanding gardens, are all in the Pettes family mantra.

Dusty loves the small town feel of Carleton Place, but wishes there was more life in the downtown area. It would also be a prefect world if landlords showed some love–but then again, it is easy to say bring them in, but you can’t force anyone.

What final words did Chef Dusty Pettes have?

“You are only as good as your last plate!”


151 Bridge St, Carleton Place, ON K7C 2V6
(613) 253-7400

Pig Candy — Cooking With Chef Dr. Dusty from Ballygiblin’s

Carleton Place- The Happiest Damn Town in Lanark County

For the Facebook Group:

Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble

In Memory of Former Carleton Place Resident Bill Lim



Last week I asked Jennifer Fenwick of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum to provide me with a local restaurant picture. She sent me a photo of The New York Cafe that had been a fixture on Bridge Street from the 1930’s to late 1950’s. Neither of us had any idea that Bill Lim, (the son of Harry Lim, who ran the New York Cafe) had passed away. When I read our local paper The Canadian Gazette last night I was sad to see he had died in British Columbia.

The Lim children all went to the Carleton Place High School and Bill continued to keep in touch with several local residents. Mr. Lim is survived by two sisters, and his legacy is carried on by his three children.

I posted a detailed story about the Lims and the New York Cafe that stood next to the Royal Bank on Bridge Street this week. It was written by Terence Skillen from the Heritage Carleton Place site. Take a minute to remember him, and what their family did for the town of Carleton Place.

New York New York in Carleton Place by Terence Skillen


Shane Wm Edwards–Hi Linda, In your last article on the Lim family’s restaurant, The New York Café, you mention that it was the only place you could get Chinese food but I seem to recall both Terry Skillen and Bob Stacy saying that they did not have Chinese food on the menu. My only recollections of Chinese food being sold was the D&E Take Out (where SRC Music is now) and Mrs. Gee’s Egg Rolls located on Franktown Road where the Tim Horton’s is now. To get Chinese food, before the House of Fong opened we usually went to the Canadian Cafe in Almonte.



Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  12 Apr 1940, Fri,  Page 14

Google the Poodle and the Groomer


Google, the Standard Poodle emailed me last week and wondered if I wanted the lowdown on his upcoming grooming appointment. Since the horrendous winter was over, he thought it was time for a new look. After consulting with “his people”, Gayle and Ted MacDonald, we agreed to meet at Diana’s Pet Grooming. At first he wasn’t sure what her location was, as her postal code is Almonte, her phone number is Carleton Place, yet she lives in Appleton.

With all that confusion over, I made my way in a snow squall to Diana’s location. When I got there Google hadn’t showed up yet, so I had a chance to have a nice chat with Diana. I wanted to make sure she was as good as Google said. Would she make him more regal than he claimed he already was? One can never be too careful what you hear from a poodle these days–you just have to get the information first hand. Poodle gossip is just plain notorious!

Diana began her journey grooming pets when she was but a young lass looking after her parent’s dogs. Her father owned a gas station in Cochrane, Ontario, and one single night defined her journey as a professional groomer. A station wagon showed up with a family and all their belongings in tow. They didn’t have money for gas, and her Dad wasn’t quite sure what to do about the situation. Out of the car window a pair of hands handed him a tiny poodle in exchange for some gas. From that day on Diana groomed that poodle until her mother discovered she had turned the new family pet into a circus poodle. With that her Mother marched her and the dog down to the local groomers, and she began interning on weekends so no other dog would look like a fancy dog from the Ed Sullivan Show ever again.

Google had told me that Diana had great patience with dogs, and had even calmly weathered a horrible experience at a local animal hospital. It seems the groomer had gently placed a tiny Lhasa Apso’s head in the head noose to hold her steady. That little wee dog made an impression on Diana for the rest of her life. The dog grabbed on to her wrist with his teeth and held firm. There was no way he was letting go. So Diana had the vet sedate the dog who was still hanging on to her wrist. It was only after the dog was sedated that the dog’s toothy grip broke free.

The “Standard” almost “Regal” Poodle also told me that Diana has no favourites, no matter how he has tried to suck up. Some say “thank you” to her, and some say,”I want to get the heck out!” But they eventually learn the grooming routine, and she loves them all.

It was at that very point that Google showed up. I was already warned he was a french kisser, and leans against you with the intent of a notorious low talker. He was supposed to weigh 60 pounds, but actually comes in at a “lapdog” weight of 80. He really has no preference with “his people”, but makes sure at least one of them knows the world does indeed revolve around him. After all this Poodle has “Standards” and that’s why Diana is his groomer.

Before we left, he told me I had to meet Roxy the Poi. This small dog was rescued off the streets of Hawaii, and there is no doubt he hit the lottery when Diana found him. Instead of bringing home souvenirs and a Hawaiian shirt, Diana gave him a new home in Canada.

When we left Google reminded me that Poodles rule the world. After all, what is really left in life some days? That’s right caffeine and a poodle.


Diana’s Pet Grooming

Distributor of Raw Dog Food

Aids Shelley Dickie’s Cat and Kitten rescue when she can Cause 4 Paws

Carleton Place- The Happiest Damn Town in Lanark County

For the Facebook Group:

Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble

The Granary in Your Backyard — Dena Comley


Five years ago after a work history as a consulting engineer, Dena Comley decided she wanted control over her busy schedule. After she made the final decision to be closer to home and family, she chose Carleton Place to make a positive difference in her world and ours.

Even though Dena took over from the former owners of The Granary, she always had a passion for good health. This interest went way beyond her own to include the health of the community and the natural environment. Dena researches all their products before they hit the shelves. The staff are also educated in all aspects of mind, body, and soul. Dena is a believer that your mental being is just as important as your physical health. Balance is an important aspect of any healthy lifestyle.

She is excited about the new expansion of her store. Not only will there be new products like a higher end natural beauty line and essential oils, there will also be a special educational section for customers. There is a projected lending library, reference books, and a directory of local farmers. As she says, if they don’t know the answer to one of your questions, they will look it up. Small cozy workshops are in the works, like cooking classes similar to the popular Make your Own Sauerkraut class they had last year.

The Granary is a one-stop shop, which means you don’t have to drive to Kanata for your needs. If they don’t have it, they will try and get it for you. Just because something is not in the store doesn’t mean they can’t get their hands on it. Dena and staff offer personal and approachable service. She loves the small town aspect of her kids being able to know everyone in the community, so that mantra just naturally overflows into her business.

The Granary’s prices are very comparable to those in the city. If people will pay 5 bucks for a Starbucks drink why is the same amount for a dozen of organic eggs too much? With the Easter holidays approaching, delicious sweet edibles have hopped into the store. Fresh chocolate, and jellybeans are just a start. Don’t forget The Granary is once again participating in “Taste of Maple” in Carleton Place. Check out their selection of local maple products including syrup, butter, candies, sugar and even chocolate.

Ready for Spring cleaning? The Granary has put together a list of ways to clean using Castile soap. Castile soap comes in solid and liquid forms and is made with vegetable oils such as palm, coconut, hemp, jojoba, and olive.  The list goes on, and frankly, I could barely keep up with what Dena has to offer us all in Carleton Place. I was gobsmacked!

As an active member of the local business community, Dena sits on the board of directors for the Carleton Place Business Improvement Area (BIA) and is a member of the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) and the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB). The Granary is a proud supporter of local groups, schools and organizations. This year that list includes but is not limited to the CP Canadians,  the Mississippi Mudds and the Carleton Place Museum.

She would like to see future business owners set up a 5 year plan before they open an establishement so they don’t find themselves in a pickle. Do your homework she insists, and I agree. Dena would also like to see local landlords co-operate more with their tenants.

When I was there an older gentleman was buying a product called Osteo-Move by Natural Factors. I asked him if it helped his joint issues. He told me he had been in great pain and after one bottle things were really getting better. Dena proudly nodded her head as he spoke. What she sells is really good for us, and visiting The Granary will make your body be around a lot longer than that expensive handbag.

107 Bridge Street
Carleton Place, Ontario
(613) 257-5986


Parents Night Out
March 27 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Flora Flyer Sale Ends
March 29 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Taste of Maple
March 29 @ 9:00 am – April 7 @ 6:00 pm
Free Comic Book Day
May 2 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Carleton Place- The Happiest Damn Town in Lanark County

For the Facebook Group:

Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble

The Statue of Liberty of Carleton Place


The Liberty statue is an icon of freedom of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad. Jodie who is portraying Miss Liberty in front of Liberty Tax on 119 Bridge Street in Carleton Place is demonstrating the freedom we have to pay taxes. I know most of you are groaning at that statement, but we are lucky to live in a wonderful town in a free country.

My Great-Grandfather docked on Ellis Island as an immigrant to become a song writer. My Grandfather said he always had a strong feeling for the Statue of Liberty, because it became the statue of friendliness and personal liberty. Well Bill Knauert of Liberty Tax Service wants everyone to know that everyone should come have their taxes done by him because he is offering friendliness. Plus you get a bonus of seeing a local Lady Liberty herself.

What some newcomers to the town don’t know is that we have a Cairn on Emily Street that signifies early freedoms in Carleton Place.

The Cairn above placed on the property now owned by The Bell Telephone Company, which was the original burying site for the Morphy Family, first settlers of this area. In 1819 Edmond Morphy, his wife Barbara Miller and their eight children, the first residents on the site of Carleton Place, emigrated to Upper Canada from Ireland and settled here.

Their land grant, Lots 14 and 15, Concession 12, Beckwith Township, was divided east and west of present-day Bridge Street. Comprising 400 acres was officially deeded to Morphy and his three eldest sons, John, William and James in 1824. By then a village, one of the earliest in the vicinity of the National Capital Region, had begun to develop at “Morphy’s Falls”. Although the first Morphy house, a small log shanty stood on Allan Street, an acre of land was reserved for a family burying ground at this site. Edmond, his wife and several descendants rested here until the 1960’s, when their remains were re-interred.

Erected in 1982 by the Corporation of Carleton Place in appreciation of the efforts of Inez McCoy to have the historic site marked and in co-operation with Bell Canada. Take your children and show them that we too have a permanent memory erected to those that that arrived from abroad.

Files from: The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Photos by: Linda Seccaspina

Text: Roots Ancestry- Lanark

Carleton Place- The Happiest Damn Town in Lanark County

For the Facebook Group:

Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble

The Symphony of the Louisville Slugger and Sam Bat

The Symphony of the Louisville Slugger and Sam Bat

Tucked away on Industrial Avenue, in Carleton Place lies Sam Bat, The Original Maple Bat Corporation. Did you know about it? Did you know the president is a woman?

The Original Maple Bat Corporation was founded by Sam Holman, inventor of the patented Sam Bat, who introduced the first approved maple wood bat to the Major Leagues. The company is privately owned by Holman and 3 other individuals, including Arlene Anderson who is President of the company. It is located in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada, just outside of Ottawa, Canada’s Capital City.

Are you kidding me? This is happening in Carleton Place?

Their mission is to craft the highest quality wood baseball bats available anywhere. They use only one quality of wood for game bats, and that is pro, making SAM BAT the standard by which all other maple bats are measured. I have used the odd baseball bat, but not for the game of baseball.

Read on….

The Louisville Slugger shown in the photograph below is the 180 Paul O’Neill model. It is one hundred percent American made, and yes, that is the same Yankees player that Seinfeld’s Kramer had to get to hit two home runs so he could get the Steinbrenner birthday card back for George.

This baseball bat has been used in a few sporting events, but mostly it has been used for self protection. It is always handy to have a bat in hand living in the hood. The bat has been dormant for a few years and sits quietly in the corner beside the computer.

Last week it was taken out for noise control down the hall and was quite effective. Tonight I brought it out because I had hit my limit. I am one of the easiest going people you will ever meet. I can take a lot until you push my buttons one too many times. When that happens you had better move because I can create a path of destruction so wide your head will hit a homerun. I bet you Arlene Anderson, the president of Sam Bat in Carleton Place, Ontario can do it.

Our TV suddenly started issuing out the “searching for satellite” from time to time. I could deal with that until it started going off around 9 am every morning. Then it got to the point that I could no longer watch The Young and the Restless at 11am. That concerned me as they have now cancelled All My Children and One life to Live. If I cannot support my soap it is going to be next on the chopping block.

I was able to watch the Hallmark movie Sunday night without a hitch. If they had messed with that this little woman would have really given them a Hallmark moment. Today it went off and basically never came back on. When Dancing with the Stars came on I saw blips of a rumba here and a pase doble there. Criminal Minds was non existent.

Armed with my baseball bat, I went outside and immediately realized that I was not going to reach that man’s dish. I was far too short, and the dish was too high. I tried to climb on top of the dumpster, but that did not work either. Setting the tip of the bat on fire and project it  was an option, but then I noticed it was flame tempered.

What to do? Where was Arlene Anderson, president of Sam Bat when I needed her?

Of course! I hit the Louisville Slugger site for some tips.

“You want to be comfortable and confident with your bat before you swing it in a win-or-lose situation, so take it to the practice field or batting cage and get in a few hits. Confidence can only come from one thing: batting practice. Whatever bat you choose, put in plenty of practice time, so you’ll be ready when the pressure’s on at the plate.”

I felt comfortable and damn confident as I swung at some tin cans and plastic bottles while standing on some broken ceramic plates.  I started to hit the objects towards my goal and I kept missing.

My red button had been pushed but there was nothing I could do. I have to tell you I really liked the feel of that Louisville Slugger. I brought it up beside my bed and it makes a wonderful companion. It does not argue with me, or tell me that I am wrong. Linda is going to have the following words printed on it:

“Never doubt the words of a woman or she is going to go batty on you!”

I  guess I should have subbed the Louisville Slugger with a Sam Bat! I hear it’s a real “little devil”. And I bet Arlene Anderson, president of Sam Bat is too.:)

Sam Bat, The Original Maple Bat Corporation
110 Industrial Avenue, Carleton Place, K7C 3T2
Products and ServicesManufactures Original Maple Baseball Bats used by 90 Major League Players



Longing for Spring — Poutine— C & D’s Fresh Cut Fries


Just saw on the Carleton Place Restaurant Review Page they have ended an era..

April 18 2017

Happy Spring time everyone
I would like to thank all the customers that have passed under the portals of my red roof for their burgers and fries A Happy Easter .
I also am announcing that C & D Fries has closed , we will miss the many faces that appeared at my window. many good friendships were made.
I would like to thank all the staff members that have work for me over the many years, a special Thanks to Miss Claire she always has went above and beyond to help me from day up to day end, and still helping me clean up.
A big thanks to Junior, Bud, Kent and Jason for moving and cleaning up my site.

Take care folks
You will see my smiling face as a Cashier at the local Freshco store.



Just in case you can’t wait, there is a recipe at the end





1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1 (10.25 ounce) can beef gravy
5 medium potatoes, cut into fries
2 cups cheese curds
Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy skillet to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). While the oil is heating, you can begin to warm your gravy.
Place the fries into the hot oil, and cook until light brown, about 5 minutes. Make the fries in batches if necessary to allow them room to move a little in the oil. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Place the fries on a serving platter, and sprinkle the cheese over them. Ladle gravy over the fries and cheese, and serve immediately.
Add cut up cooked chicken or hamburger.
Use shredded mozzarella cheese in place of cheese curds.
Italian Poutine: Substitute marinara for gravy.
BBQ Poutine: Substitute a light BBQ sauce for gravy.

Ken Findlay Fatally Shot on High Street



Today I was taking pictures of where the old Findlay home was demolished on High Street. Next week there will be a story about the Newfoundland stone building. It was built in 1910, and demolished way too soon. Jennifer Fenwick Irwin, from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, said she recalled an incident about the home, and went searching. I was shocked with what she came up with.

Kenneth C Findlay, age 28, who lived in that very home, was fatally shot outside the family residence at 10:30 pm on December 30, 1939. He and his wife were on their way to Almonte, as he conducted his business from there, and also had a residence. As Mrs. Findlay locked the door she heard a shot. Tragically, there on the driveway, lay her husband with an automatic pistol beside him. It seems he was used to carrying around the weapon in his car during his travels as a bond salesman in the Ottawa Valley. As he jumped into the open car, his gun went off in his pocket.

Kenneth, of course, was the son of David Findlay, who operated the well known Findlay Stove Factory also on High Street. More on the stone home that no longer exists next week. This was one of the sadder tales of Carleton Place.

Written with information from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum

Read a local crime story that happened just off of Townline in Carleton Place

Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble

Carleton Place- The Happiest Damn Town in Lanark County

For the Facebook Group:

Meet Jeff Mitchell from Mitchell’s Independent Grocery Store


No one likes change. My aged mother-in-law was horrified when she heard ownership had changed at our local Independent grocery store. Each Sunday since the new owner, Jeff Mitchell, took over our Carleton Place, Ontario store, she has grilled me about the status. Is that nice butcher Glen still there? Is the iconic Brian still working in the store helping everyone?

Others asked, and wondered, what the newcomer and new owner of Mitchell’s Independent had in store for our little town. Mitchell is no stranger to the Independent Grocer family. Even though there is a great story written about him somewhere online, I knew I had to find out for myself what Jeff Mitchell was all about.

In the back of my mind I expected to meet someone quite different. Even though he claims he can retire, he could have fooled me. Along with his youthful appearance, his attitude is, that grocery shopping shouldn’t be considered a form of punishment. Not only is customer service at the top of his list, customer awareness, and education, are key components of success for the store.

I had noticed the changes a few weeks ago. There seemed to be more simplified language, and clearer signage in the store. Even the produce at the front was displayed in a more attractive way. Just by a few changes, I immediately understood, that Jeff ensures that every kid who comes through the door knows the way to the fruit section. He already knows the inner workings of our grocery store having been a district manager for our Carleton Place location for years. Jeff has over 40 years of experience in the grocery business, beginning his employment as a humble buggy boy.

There are big plans for the store, with the downsizing of the “general merchandise dept.” to make way for a 5000 sq foot Joe Fresh store. For anyone who has not seen their catchy television ads, Joe Fresh is a Canadian chain created by Loblaws featuring hip, trendy apparel and accessories for men, women and kids. The company has also just signed a deal with Aldo Group shoes for the design of all Joe Fresh’s footwear, which will be introduced in spring of 2016.

The ‘fresh food section’ as he calls it is also going to have a new look. The salad bar, brand new cheeses, and it’s all about the new Sikorski sausage being introduced to the store. Jeff has a mission that the big empty room upstairs is finally going to be used for the community. “What’s For Dinner” will be held every Tuesday with samplings of food items, accompanied by recipes, and teaching customers how to prepare unfamiliar foods. Birthday parties, cooking classes, are also on the community development list. They are also looking for a local web page developer for the store, so if you think you can keep up to Jeff and his ideas, please contact him.

You can feel the passion he has about about the food service business as well as the love for his family. He is a proud Grandfather, has two grown children, Crystal, 33, and Jeff, 30, and has been married for 35 years. His wife also works at the store as a bookkeeper and partner. They always wanted to settle in the country, and now finally, they have 2 acres on the 9th line.

Jeff wants you to know he doesn’t have to do this. He is pensionable as he says, but has always dreamed of owning his own store. So if you see someone just a little bit older than the regular staff bagging your groceries one day when you are in there, don’t even bat an eye. That is your new owner of Mitchell’s Independent store here in Carleton Place, and it’s all about customer service.



Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble