February 14, 2020, Simcoe, ON – The husband and wife duo of Melanie Doerksen and Tim Wilson were the big winners at the 14th annual Norfolk County Economic Development Symposium in Simcoe Feb. 13.
Doerksen and Wilson – owners and operators of Charlotteville Brewing Company – not only took home the title of Entrepreneur of the Year but the Sustainable Tourism Award as well, a first in the history of the event.
The pair purchased land at 1207 Charlotteville West Quarter Line just west of Walsh in 2010. Together, they converted two turn-of-the-century barns into an estate brewery. In addition to brewing and serving beer, they also feature artisanal food, grow 60 percent of their own ingredients and provide tours of the grounds. Their willingness to provide unique and ever-changing products has made them a must-stop when touring Ontario’s South Coast.
Furthermore, 100 percent of their spent grains are used as animal food and 70 percent of water used is recycled. This fits the criteria – minimizing impacts to the environment, conserving natural resources of the region etc. – that led to the Sustainable Tourism Award, of which, past winners include Blueberry Hill Estates, Long Point Eco Adventures and Whistling Gardens.
Honourable mention for Entrepreneur of the Year was given to Jess Bommarito of Groundswell Co-working. Since opening on Norfolk St. in Simcoe one year ago, Bommarito’s vision of a co-workspace for businesses of all types, and another step towards downtown revitalization, has come to fruition.
While the Young Entrepreneur of the Year (under 30) wasn’t born in Norfolk County, he’s made the most of his time here. In 2018, UK native Greg Wise partnered with his mother Lorraine Skarratt to create the Gibbled Goose English pub in Waterford. The two have expanded their services by purchasing and creating a special event/gathering space just down the road at Destination 1207. The award comes with a $500 grant to be invested in growing the business.
The Restaurant Wine and Excellence Award went to one of the area’s longstanding and most popular destinations – The Barrel in Simcoe. For over 30 years, The Barrel has provided residents and visitors alike with high-quality Italian food by utilizing local fare.
The Symposium – which drew 250 people – was also an opportunity for Mayor Chopp to introduce Jason Burgess as Norfolk’s new CAO.
Burgess, who is currently serving as the County’s interim General Manager of Corporate Services, led staff through last month’s budget process, putting together the plan that will return Norfolk to financial sustainability.
He’ll formally start the new role in March.