A chance meeting between two entrepreneurs has led to a new collaboration that has taken Haliburton County by storm.

Deborah Lyons and Avril Copestick have combined their two businesses, Organic Times Emporium and Rowan & Oak Bath & Body, under one roof, setting up shop in the building previously frequented by ACM Designs on the corner of County Road 21 and Industrial Park Road in Haliburton.

The new space is jam-packed with products that adhere to the pair’s environmentallyfocused, community-minded mantra – from handcrafted soaps and candles, to mineralbased paints, homemade jewellery and reclaimed art.

“There’s a little bit of everything here,” Lyons told The Highlander. “After I sold my previous business in Minden, I decided to open a store in Haliburton that would take care of the home, with a focus on creating a healthy home. There’s a lot of eco-friendly products in here, most of them using upcycled and reused materials.”

Lyons has been operating a storefront in the community for around 18 months, previously located on Industrial Park Road. She felt limited in that space, though, and started to look for a new home last summer. It was around that time she was introduced to Copestick. Having just moved to the Highlands from Nova Scotia in December 2021, Copestick was looking for a retailer that would sell her soap and candle products. The pair immediately hit it off.

After a successful soft launch at Organic Times, and the continued popularity of her stall at the Haliburton Farmers Market, Copestick pondered branching out and opening a retail operation of her own. In the end, a partnership with Lyons made more sense.

“We complement each other so nicely. We have the same approach to business, and the same sense of community… we are trying to build this space and support local as much as we possibly can. All the materials I use for my soaps, candles and other products are sourced locally, or at least within the province,” Copestick said.

“We are all about Canadian, Canadian, Canadian. If there’s anything inside this store that says it was made elsewhere, that’s because it’s a reclaimed piece created by a Canadian artist or designer,” Lyons added.

After a busy first few weeks, the pair are preparing themselves for a hectic summer. Lyons said she hopes to grow her product line in the coming months, while Copestick said she plans to maintain a presence at the Haliburton Farmers Market once it reopens.

Lyons said she hopes to use the space to inspire the community’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

“I’m not sure if I can see myself here still doing this 10 years from now,” she said. “In Minden, I had someone young, energetic, and enthusiastic who wanted to take the business on… that’s what I’d like to see happen here one day. We need more younger entrepreneurs to step forward and keep the spirit of business alive in Haliburton County long after people like me have fully retired.”

Organic Times Emporium and Rowan & Oak Bath & Body is open six days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. For more information, visit rowanandoakco.ca, or search ‘Organic Times Emporium’ on Facebook.