Local entrepreneur Andria Cowan Molyneaux says fate was behind the decision to relocate her business, ACM Designs, from its current home in Haliburton village to Abbey Gardens.

The interior design firm will be slowly transitioning into the space vacated by Haliburton Highlands Brewing over the next few months. It brings an end to a fruitful eight-year stay in the village, which saw the company get its start in the basement of the old Haliburton County Development Corporation space, move into new digs along County Road 21, plan for a new home beside Tim Horton’s, before settling at its current home base at 7 Dysart Ave.

“It’s been a real story of evolution. I’ve been looking for a location that we can really grow into and this opportunity at Abbey Gardens fits all our needs size wise, is almost perfect style and design wise – it’s almost like a unicorn here in the County,” Cowan Molyneaux told The Highlander.

There was a huge element of luck behind the move, she revealed.

“The truth is I was contacted to see if I knew someone who might be interested in that old brewery space. Immediately, I said ‘yeah, me’. That’s exactly how this all happened,” she said.

Having grown from two employees in 2016 to 17 today, Cowan Molyneaux said she needed somewhere she knew she could stay for the long haul. She has signed a five-year lease.

The most exciting aspect of the move, she says, is being able to bring all aspects of the company together under one roof. While the bulk of the design team currently work together in the Dysart office, Cowan Molyneaux said some of her newer employees have been forced to work from home, or other spaces in the community.

Cedric Butz joined the company as a carpenter in 2022 and while the services he provides had been a great fit with the ACM team, Cowan Molyneaux hasn’t been able to offer him a dedicated space to work from. Until now.

“He creates goods that we design, so things like furniture, custom doors. As we’re conceptualizing different designs and products, he’s bringing them to life,” she said, noting Butz only uses locally salvaged wood for all his projects. “I had to figure out a way to execute on this new segment of the business on a wide scale, and I felt we needed a dedicated shop Cedric could work from to do that.”

Becoming a key component of the Abbey Gardens family was a big draw, too. There will be increased visibility at the new space, and more chances to collaborate with long-term partners like Abbey Gardens and Abbey Retreat Centre.

“We haven’t even moved in yet, but it already feels like home. I know it’s where we’re supposed to be. We want to be part of the fabric here now,” Cowan Molyneaux said.

She said it’s easy to get excited for the future now, knowing she’s found a place that can house the business no matter how much it grows in the coming years. She didn’t expect to be where she is today, noting things “just took off and never really slowed down” in the early months of the pandemic.

Her focus now is on establishing new carpentry techniques, sending Butz on training programs in California and the UK later this year. She’s also working on a collaboration with Haliburton School of Art + Design.

“It’s been quite the ride these past eight years, but I’m so excited for the future. This move sets us up for the long haul… we’ve finally found our home in the County,” she said.