2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Lifetime Achievement Award 2023
Laurie Jennings

The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented this year by Patterson Law, is the highest honour of the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce. It recognizes individuals who have had a life-long commitment to economic and community growth in the Truro and Colchester Region.
Tonight, we honour a businessman who is a visionary, a man that challenges the status quo and isn’t afraid to ask, “why not?” One can only imagine the original ideas that have flitted through Laurie Jennings mind as he quietly restocks his vegetable bins, one of his favourite tasks at his family-owned business, Masstown Market.
We can imagine him pondering “Why not build an inland light house? Why not add a real-life fishing boat to create a restaurant and welcome people to eat local seafood? Why not add some tourist information so they can discover more about the area?

The Market was established over 50 years ago by Laurie’s parents which grew a large clientele seeking local foods. It has expanded exponentially and flourished in the past decade under Laurie’s leadership, and contributes greatly to the region’s economy, now employing about 160 people year-round.
The business’s footprint has expanded from the original market and bakery to now include a creamery, butchery, service station, gift shop, café, event venue, pharmacy building and a new medical clinic.
He must have also thought, why not even add a Las Vegas-style “Welcome to Masstown” sign? Which is now an iconic stopping spot for social media enthusiasts to snap selfies.
Living by the mantra “Always have them leave with a little more than they expected,” he has kept a laser focus on supporting local which can be recognized within all aspects of the business.
Of the more than 500 regular suppliers across all the Market business units, about 73 per cent are based in Nova Scotia, followed closely by others located within the Atlantic Provinces and Canada, totally nearly 94 per cent.

Through his efforts and commitment to support local, about 73 cents of every dollar spent at the market remains in the region.
He has also kept environmental stewardship front of mind in his business growth plans. From engineered wetlands, heat recovery systems and LED lighting, to the installation of a massive solar project on the roof of the Creamery, he has blended economic growth with green energy solutions. The new solar power system includes 610 panels and reduces 212 tons of Carbon Dioxide annually, powering about 20 per cent of the site.

Never one to seek recognition, Laurie, wife Lisa and family have supported countless community, cultural, school and sport initiatives contributing to the vibrancy of the community.
Laurie received a Bachelor of Science and Biology from Dalhousie University in 1987 and has held several positions on committees and boards in the years since, including the Dalhousie University Board of Governors, for more than nine years, and Chair Academic and Student Affairs Committee for three years.

He has also served as an Invest Nova Scotia board member, past chairman of the Colchester Regional Development Agency, Chairman and corporate director for the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce, board member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, board member of the Nova Scotia Exhibition Commission, member of the Minister’s Advisory Committee for Select Nova Scotia, President of Colchester Credit Union, President of Truro and District Chamber of Commerce 2005 and President of the Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce.

He also played an integral role serving on the Chamber’s steering committee in the establishment of the Truro and Colchester Partnership for Economic Prosperity.
This is also notably the first time in the Chamber’s 133-year history that a lifetime achievement award has been presented to both a father and son of a long-time business in the region.

The Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce and Patterson Law are honoured this evening to recognize Laurie for his enormous contribution to our community.

Colchester County Mayor Christine Blair, Award recipient Laurie Jennings, Masstown Market, Award Sponsor representative Haley Sampson of Patterson Law

2023 Business Excellence Award Recipient

Business Excellence Award 2023
Coldstream Clear Distillery

The Community Credit Union Business Excellence Award recognizes a business that has exhibited visionary leadership; achieving growth by introducing new products or ideas, expansion or exportation of goods or services and valuing employees and safety in the workplace.

The business is actively involved in the community through fundraising and partnerships in support of organizations or individuals working to better the community. It establishes partnerships and supports the local business community with leadership while actively looking to the future, focused on long-term results and job creation.

What started as a hobby business in Stewiacke about eight years ago, has flowed into becoming a leader in the beverage and alcohol industry across Atlantic Canada and is now reaching further with product being carried at Ontario’s LCBO stores.

Coldstream Clear Distillery is a family-owned business with parents and founders, Robert and Elaine Giffen, working along side their three children Liam, Olivia and Riley and about 85 employees.

The business has experienced exponential growth since its inception, carrying on a long-time family tradition of distilling, a story told on the label of their signature spiced rum about Simon Giffin, Halifax’s first distiller in 1749.

The business was initially started as a craft Vodka distillery and has expanded its range to include 10 types of spirits. A true turning point in their growing success was tapping into the development of ready-to-drink products, of which they now offer a compliment of 13, and a new lager is soon to enter the market.

Along with the flagship store at Mastodon Ridge in Stewiacke, their footprint has now reached Dartmouth and Antigonish and they have moved the head office and main production to Truro.

During its exponential growth since inception, the company has maintained a focus on innovation and expansion to meet consumer demand. The company bought an 11,000 square-foot building in the Truro Industrial Park in 2018.
This increased production and enabled more efficient packaging reaching an processing average of 200 cans per minute.

They have already outgrown this space, and are once again in expansion mode increasing to more than 48,000 square-feet. This will house the new brewing line as the company prepares to launch its Lager.

Even the pandemic didn’t slow down the company’s growth as they adapted and changed to meet new demands. They were one of the first alcohol companies in the province doing home delivery with up to five trucks on the road across Nova Scotia, a service which still continues today. They pivoted to manufacture hand sanitizer at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and supplied countless first responders and businesses with this key protection to fight the virus.

They are focused on environmental stewardship with every piece of packaging is recyclable, from bottle and cans to can toppers and boxes.

They say the secret ingredient to their success isn’t just what is found the in the bottles and cans but is their employees, a dedicated, extremely passionate team where everyone strives to be their absolute best.

The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce is pleased to honour Coldstream Clear Distillery with the 2023 Community Credit Union Business Excellence Award.

Award recipients Liam Giffen, Olivia Giffen of Coldstream Clear, Colchester County Mayor Christine Blair, & Award Sponsor representative Michael Walker of Community Credit Union

2023 Business Person of Year Recipient

Business Person of the Year Award 2023
Robin Young

The BDC Business Person of the Year Award acknowledges a founder, owner, CEO, president or manager who has achieved significant success in their business by showing strong leadership skills and business acumen, contributing to the growth of the business.

This year we are pleased to honour the contributions of small business owner, Robin Young, owner of Jeans Flowers and Gifts.

Robin’s love for flowers began when she was a teen in high school. She would spend weekends, evenings, and summers in her parent's flower shop in Shubenacadie. Taking what she learned from her parents, Robin worked a couple years in Edmonton, gaining even more knowledge in floral arranging and business management.

Upon returning to Nova Scotia in the early ‘80’s, she bought her parents’ flower shop and then a few years later went on to purchase Jean’s Flowers and Gifts; where she has been its sole owner for 37 years.

Robin is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to floral arranging, having taken a floral design course in Holland, passing the exams with distinction, from there went on to teach floral design at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.

On every occasion, happy or sad, and all the important milestones in between, Robin and her staff have delivered beautiful flower arrangements for generations and every branch of her customers’ family. Robin’s commitment to her community often goes undetected, helping when and where she can without hesitation. Her passion for flowers has blossomed into a well-known, and trusted family-oriented business.
Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce is pleased to recognize Robin Young with the BDC Business Person of the Year Award.

Award Sponsor representative Tyler Wheeliker of BDC, Award recipient Robin Young, Jeans Flowers & Gifts, Town of Truro Mayor Bill Mills

2022 Small Business Award Recipients

For Immediate Release

Chamber to honour outstanding businesses with Small Business Awards

TRURO - The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce this year’s Small Business Week award recipients.
Chamber Executive Director Sherry Martell said the Chamber received more than 100 quality nominations across 12 categories, the greatest number in recent years.
“For the second year in a row, we received the greatest number of nominations in categories of business growth and new small business,” said Martell. “This speaks to the vibrancy of our progressive business community and the opportunities for entrepreneurs to succeed in this region.”
This year, four new awards were added to the Chamber’s award program including, Workplace Excellence, Tourism Small Business, Small Business of the Year and Environmental Stewardship.
“During the past year, the Chamber struck a dedicated Awards Review Task Force that highlighted areas that they felt should be included in our awards program to modernize and recognize sectors leading our economic growth,” said Martell. “We see the result of their work with the addition to the awards line-up this year.”
The award recipients of 2022 are:
New Small Business of the Year, Big River Café;
Small Business Achievement, Maritime Auto Parts;
Export Achievement, Cobequid Consulting;
Small Business Innovation, ASE Print & Sign;
Excellence in Community Development, Angel's Diner on the Corner
Agriculture/Agri-Small Business, Ebbett's Meadow Brook Farm;
Small Business Growth, Warmth By Design Inc.;
Newcomer Business of the Year, Kabitenyos Filipino & Asian Variety Store;
Workplace Excellence, Julie Mont, PropertyGuys.com - Truro, Colchester, East Hants;
Tourism Small Business, Tatamagouche Grain Elevator Village
Small Business of the Year, LIBCAN Properties & Restoration
and Environmental Stewardship, Sun Kissed Energy
The 12 awards are sponsored by Community Credit Union, Grant Thornton, Nova Scotia Business Inc., RBC, Town of Truro, MNP LLP, BDC, Truro-Colchester Partnership for Economic Prosperity, Payworks Municipality of the County of Colchester, CBDC NOBL and Town of Stewiacke respectively.
Recipients will be honoured at this year’s Small Business Week Award Luncheon, on October 21, 2022, 11:30 a.m., at the Inn on Prince.
To reserve seats at the luncheon by Monday, Oct. 17, visit the Chamber website at www.trurocolchesterchamber.com and click the event calendar, or contact the Chamber of Commerce office by calling 902-895-6328 or email [email protected]. Seats cost $30 for chamber members and $40 for future members (plus tax).
Media Contact:
Sherry Martell
Executive Director
Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce

Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement Discussion

January 19, 2022

Last July the Nova Scotia government signed an affordable child care agreement with the federal government with the goal of providing $10 a day universal childcare, creating 9,500 new child-care spaces and providing higher salaries for child-care workers by 2026.

All of these efforts would benefit working parents. However, the agreement is providing limited options for privately owned child-care centres, which hold 57 per cent of child-care spaces in the province. These businesses, predominantly owned by women and staffed by women, cannot offer these subsidized fees for parents and higher wages for workers unless they join a new central organization being developed by the Department of Education.

We also are aware that at least two other provinces New Brunswick and Alberta are not taking this approach and are working with privately-owned centres on inclusion in the formula.

During a conference call last week, the provincial department gave private child-care centre owners their options. Many within the industry are calling it a "hostile take over" and are deeply concerned about the impacts on their business and the children who they care for on a daily basis.

Of the three options provided to the businesses, for-profit centre owners can choose to become an approved service provider under the new system, keeping their businesses but losing control over operations such as waitlists and payroll. Or they can transition to a non-profit model and give up their businesses to the new organization. Alternatively, if they chose to remain private they will lose all current funding.

Today, January 19, we  heard from five of these locally owned business as they shared first-hand the choices and potential impacts they are facing.

Our participating panelists are:

Pat Roberts,  Mount Pleasant Nursey School

Andrew Gilroy, Bible Hill / Salmon River Play to Learn

Paul Weatherbee, The Love, Laughter and Learning Centre

Alyse Brayley, Frona Allen – My Pride and Joy Learning Centre Inc

Ellen Butts, Making Friends Preschool

To view this discussion; https://youtu.be/pZwqVZ4MjEQ

Click here, for the Parent's Letter Template mentioned in the discussion.

Click here to download a template letter to show support from a local business

Click here, for a list of our Provincial MLA's, and their contact information.

CLICK HERE TO READ A LETTER SENT TO PREMIER HOUSTON Letter to Premier regarding childcare - 012022f

News release issued by Truro Chamber on Jan. 21 re childcare agreement


ACC sent a letter to the NS government expressing concern and requesting more information. A meeting was held on January 18 and the government did not retreat from the original announcement but provided assurances they would work closely with operators. Based on direction from the NS Provincial Advisory Committee (PAC), ACC drafted a further letter that was sent to the Federal government to convey a request that the federal-provincial agreement be amended to ensure funding of for profits as is the case in several other provinces. A copy of the letter will be posted on our policy submissions page shortly.

Letter to NS Government from Atlantic Chamber of Commerce


News release January 21, 2022

For immediate release

January 21, 2022

Chambers ask government to renegotiate terms for privately owned childcare centres


TRURO – Chambers are amplifying the voices of locally owned and operated childcare centres asking government to halt its role out of a new childcare agreement in an effort to renegotiate conditions with private operators.


A joint letter was sent to Premier Tim Houston’s office on Thursday, along with 16 MLAs and Ministers, and Colchester-Cumberland MP Stephen Ellis, on behalf of the members of the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce, the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce, the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce and the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, collectively serving more 1,500 members that represent a diverse cross section of the local economy.


The Chambers expressed concerns they have heard from privately-owned childcare centres about the impact on their businesses by the proposed $605 million Canada-Wide Early Learning and Childcare agreement which aims to drop childcare fees to an average of $10 per day by 2026 under the deal.


“Many privately-owned childcare centres are viewing what the government is proposing in its three options for businesses to participate in this historic agreement as a ‘hostile takeover’,” said Matthew Mossman, President of the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce. He said in recent weeks Chambers have had conversations with many childcare businesses, licensed privately-owned and not-for-profit, as well as unlicensed providers. The Chambers acknowledge the province has agreed to lift the looming March 18 decision deadline for privately-owned childcare centres and has committed to reassessing options, however, the Chambers stand firm that greater engagement and consideration of business is needed before finalizing the deal.


“All agree that there is an urgent need for better wages for Early Childhood Educators, increased availability of spaces for children in care centres and affordable rates for all families,” said Mossman. “The deep concern stems from the lack of detailed information, timelines and disregard for business government has shown toward these vitally important care providers and the release of a plan with vague details have caused confusion and fear for business owners, staff and parents.”


On January 19, the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce hosted a discussion with five privately-owned childcare centres, now available for viewing on the Chamber’s YouTube Channel, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZwqVZ4MjEQ) where they shared their views on the current rollout of the provincial-federal affordable childcare agreement.


“They clearly articulated the reasons why the government's proposed three options for private childcare centres are not acceptable and essentially leave them with no reasonable choices,” said the Chamber President.


“We ask that government immediately re-engage with childcare operators across the province in meaningful, constructive, considerate discussions to negotiate a sustainable plan that works for business, government, parents and most importantly, the children of this province.”


Mossman believes this agreement could be an opportunity to support and grow business in Nova Scotia rather than shut businesses, predominantly owned and staffed by women.


“We support efforts to provide affordable childcare to families so they may continue to participate in the workforce and help grow our province's economy,” said Mossman.

“However, we cannot support the government in forcing hard-working, dedicated business owners to give up their livelihoods, the majority of whom are women.”


He is calling on parents, local business owners and their staff to share their support for locally owned childcare centres. The Chamber has prepared resources and information to assist those wishing to send letters to their MLAs which can be accessed at www.trurocolchesterchamber.com.






Winter festival to include lightshow, night markets in Downtown Truro

Winter festival to include a light show, night markets in Downtown Truro

Downtown Truro will be glowing with community spirit next month when a light show transforms the Civic Square into a winter wonderland.

The light show is a new addition to the Truro Winter Long John Festival, made possible by funding from Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and a three-way partnership of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Truro and the Downtown Truro Partnership.

“We’re thrilled about this project that celebrates the winter season in Downtown Truro. There are lots of opportunities to participate and enjoy the festival,” said Rochelle Roberts, Executive Director of Downtown Truro Partnership. “It’s so important to find ways to continue to support our local businesses and stay active this winter while following public health restrictions.”

More than 25,000 lights will be installed in trees in and around the square to create a magical atmosphere to attract visitors to the Town throughout the winter months. The Town is set to launch its Winter Long John Festival on February 3, and the display will remain in place throughout the month into mid-March. In addition, a light show projection will run from Feb. 3 - March 12 in the evenings at the square projected on the historic Colchester East Hants Public Library building creating a stunning backdrop for skaters and visitors alike. The show will run every 15 minutes from 5 p.m. until 9:45 p.m.

“We are thrilled to add to the Winter Long John Festival in a way that promotes getting outside during the winter,” said Mayor Bill Mills, Town of Truro. “We hope it will encourage visitors to enjoy the outdoor activities Truro has to offer this time of year.”

Businesses are encouraged to be involved in the festival by hosting a booth at one of the night markets being held in collaboration with the Truro Farmers’ Market. Market nights will be accompanied by live entertainment. In addition, businesses in Truro and the area will have an opportunity to sponsor hot chocolate for visitors, apply for funding to assist them in hiring live performers at their locations or offer specials to join in on the festival fun.

“The local business community needs as much support as possible right now. It has been an incredibly tough couple of years as the pandemic continues to impact shopping and entertainment trends,” said Sherry Martell, Chamber Executive Director. “We are so pleased to be a part of this beautiful project that will bring joy to our local residents and attract people to the community while we celebrate an iconic Truro product, Stanfield’s Long Johns.”

The project will have a lasting impact on the community with lights and equipment purchased that will be used for other events and promotions in future years.

The partners have received $50,000 in funding from ACOA to host the winter light show in Truro, along with additional local funding and in-kind contributions.

More information about the Truro Winter Long John Festival, the light show, and Winter Night Markets, can be found at www.trurolongjohn.ca.



Cumberland, Colchester Counties will benefit from investments to help residents and visitors enjoy the region and its shared spaces safely


Download our 2021 Member 2 Member flyer!

Do you or your employees take advantage of our Member-2-Member discount program? You should!

Take a look at our M2M discounts below and save big! Just another way for Chamber membership to save you money.

View the M2M flyer here.

TCPEP Winter Update newsletter

In Nova Scotia, Regional Enterprise Networks are a collaborative approach to economic development supporting business growth. The Truro & Colchester Partnership for Economic Prosperity (TCPEP) is led by a local volunteer Board of Directors - local business people who want to drive business development in Truro Colchester.
To view a copy of the TCPEP Winter Update newsletter, click here.
To learn more about TCPEP visit their website at trurocolchester.ca

New Gift Local Newsletter

The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce is encouraging all of our business partners to support members by choosing to Gift Local First this year. For the next seven weeks a list of local businesses who sell online will be sent directly to your inbox on Tuesday afternoons. The list will be updated weekly, and is a perfect "one stop shop" to help you find the perfect gifts this holiday season. Listings in this newsletter are a FREE service for members, with additional options at a cost.
For more details on how to have your online store or special offers included in the shop local listing email [email protected]
Newsletter - Dec. 22 Shop LOCAL deals and ideas - CLICK HERE

Curling Funspiel

Join us for our annual Curling Funspiel January 23rd at the Truro Curling Club! $40 for Members/$50 for non-members or $140 to register a team of 4 people!

RSVP today to [email protected] or call 902-895-6328