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The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville is known around the world as the beating heart of country music. Its weekly shows have been attracting musical legends since 1925 when it began holding one-hour barn dances.
Long before there was a Grand Old Opry, however, there was Purple Hill Farm in Thorndale. The farm harvested its first crops in 1853 and has operated as a livestock and cash crop farm ever since.
But it’s the farm’s connection to country music that has transformed it into Purple Hill Country Opry, the northern equivalent of the Opry in Nashville; a place where famous and soon-to-be-famous Canadian and American country stars have been performing for more than two decades.
“We’re proud of our agriculture operation. That’s what we do,” says fourth-generation owner George Taylor, who runs the farm with his wife, Anna. “But when we built the barn in the early 90s, that’s what transformed this place. I’m continually amazed by the talented folks who come here to play, and also by the huge crowds that come to the concerts. It’s more than we ever imagined when we built the hall.”
The idea of hosting concerts evolved from the decision in 1992 to build an auction barn on site. “My plan was to hold beef cattle auctions here,” Taylor recalls. “But then we realized we could also hold estate sales and furniture sales, events like that.”
Contemplating the design, Taylor listened to the advice of a farm equipment salesman who suggested a multi-purpose design. Why restrict the room to auctions, when it could be used for other events as well?
Without knowing where it would lead, Taylor changed the design, adding an elevated stage, along with balconies on the south and east walls. There have been changes since then, but the essence of the barn was created with that design almost a quarter century ago and Purple Hill Country Hall was born.
Like its inspiration, 1,000 km to the south in Nashville, Purple Hill Opry holds a regular ‘Ole Time Country Show’. It’s the first Sunday of every month and is very popular (and by that we are talking some 300 people coming out to enjoy the show). At a cost of only $40, fans hear a whole lineup of country stars – some veterans and some just making their way in the business. In addition to the music, there’s a delicious roast beef dinner served.
The next concert is April 3. Starting at 2:00pm, there will be performances by Ryan Cook, Randy Satchell, Joan Spalding, Thomas Wade and Diane Chase.
“Fans circle the first Sunday of the month for the show,” Taylor says.
There are plenty of other events planned all summer long. The weekend of Aug. 19-21 is the Bluegrass Opry Reunion. Fans can tailgate or camp for the weekend and hear an exciting list of bluegrass stars, including Rescue Junction, the Nelson Family, Rhyme & Reason and the Legendary Dixie Flyers. The host band for the weekend is New Cumberland, and new bands are being added to the bill all the time.
A weekend pass is only $60 and includes all events plus a campsite if desired. Bluegrass lovers are even invited to bring an instrument and join in the Band Scramble Friday night.
One of the keys to Purple Hill’s success is its continued farming operation. “When we have a function, I tell everyone they’ll never get any closer to the country because, on the other side of that wall, there’s a herd of cattle,” Taylor says.
Purple Hill Country Opry is happy to let its agricultural roots show. In fact, that’s what makes it an authentic home for country music.
For full up-to-date details and to learn more about this Middlesex County gem, please visit them on Facebook at www.facebook/purplehillcountryhall.
Are you a business in Middlesex County or are you looking for a business in Middlesex County? We can help!
The Invest in Middlesex Business Directory is FREE of charge and available to all businesses, from small farms, local restaurants and gift shops to large manufacturers in the County of Middlesex.
As a local business, attracting new customers can be a major challenge.
Quickly fading are the days when people would go to the Yellow Pages to find what they are looking for. Today, people are turning to the internet as a way to discover businesses and find recommendations.
The Invest in Middlesex Business Directory can help you locate the listings for thousands of local businesses that offer products and services throughout this beautiful county. There is no easier way to support and shop locally. Go to https://www.investinmiddlesex.ca/ today to use our online search tool to find exactly what you are looking for.
Do you want your business to be included in the directory? Simply hit Join and fill in your information. Already in the Directory but want to update your information, add pictures, website and social media addresses, etc? Login today!
To locate a business, click on the directory link and use the search box at the top of the page.
We are here to help! Feel free to contact Teresa Hill 519-434-7321 x 2251 if you have any questions.
We are so excited to have just launched the highly anticipated new Visit Middlesex Website!
Check out all the new and exciting things there are to see and do at visitmiddlesex.ca.
Are you a Middlesex County based tourism provider who is interested in being included in the listings, being a featured destination, or have an event or festival that you would like us to promote on our new website? If so we would love to hear from you with all of the details. E-mail us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
London, ON February 24, 2016
Middlesex County is very pleased to announce that it received a coveted Honourable Mention at the Economic Development Council of Ontario Conference earlier this month. The awards ceremony, which honours best practice economic development efforts from across the province, took place on Thursday, Feb. 4 at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel.
The County’s Director of Economic Development, Cara Finn was on hand to accept the award for the 2015 Business Profile videos which showcased a total of eight distinct businesses in Middlesex County. According to Finn, the videos were produced in partnership with Foster Visuals. “It is an absolute honour to accept this award. With membership of over 1000, EDCO is the country’s largest provincial economic development association and the awards are very competitive”, stated Finn.
“Winning this award in the Technology and New Media Category: 50K – 250K, demonstrates the effectiveness of our recent economic development and marketing efforts, and recognizes the diversity of business investments across our community. We are privileged to work with, and be able to showcase, the amazing businesses that contribute to our local economy”.
Being recognized at these prestigious awards was especially rewarding for the County this year as the video series was the first major project undertaken by the municipality under its new economic development branding “Invest in Middlesex County….we appreciate your business”.
The profile series are currently available for viewing on the video feed of the County’s new economic development website https://www.investinmiddlesex.ca/video-feed
Join us for an opportunity to network with other Chamber members, and us, Middlesex County’s Department of Economic Development to find out about all of the great resources and exciting news for local businesses in our area….
Thursday, April 21st, 2016
The Harvest Table at Arrowwood FarmArrowwood Farm
6460 Riverside Drive
The venue is located at 6460 Riverside Drive, just outside of Melbourne Ontario.
Coming from Melbourne, Riverside Drive is the 4th road South of Melbourne on the Melbourne Road. You turn right onto Riverside Drive and Arrowwood is the second farm on the right. (Watch for the Arrowwood Farm sign at the corner of Melbourne Road and Riverside Drive and again at the farm gate).Arrowwood is the second farm on the right. (Watch for the Arrowwood Farm sign at the corner of Melbourne Road and Riverside Drive and again at the farm gate).
ArrowwoodArrowwood Farm is listed under “Southwest Middlesex”, rather than “Melbourne”, Ontario when searched for on GPS devices.
Six tips for effective planning of your wealth, your business and the next generation – by Peter Richards Advisory Group
Congratulations, you’ve achieved the dream: you built your own business. Your hard work has paid off and you are your own boss. You make your own schedule (though sometimes grueling), you are in control, and likely very fulfilled. What are the chances then that your business will not make it through the next generation or family wealth will face erosion due to unforeseen circumstances? In reality, it is quite possible!
This is what we’ve seen when business owners cease to be proactive and thorough in planning for unforeseen situations, preservation of their assets and for transitional changes in later years. It’s either well thought-out, or it’s not and there are challenges. It’s that simple. Here are some tips when beginning to think about planning for your future.
- Surround yourself with the right mix of professional advisors.
As a firm whose job is often to bring together the professionals in a business owner’s life to discuss future planning, the most common issue we face, to the detriment of the client, is the professional who doesn’t work well with others. This can be for many reasons. Some professionals don’t see the value that other experts can add. It is possible they don’t understand the roles that others can play in your plan. They may be unsettled by the idea of another professional viewing your plans to date, or offering alternative solutions for the future. Finally, some professionals just believe that they don’t need to work with other experts at all.
Whatever the reason, this tip is one of caution. No matter their area of expertise, or how successful they are, if they’re truly invested in your best interest, they won’t balk at the suggestion of introducing professionals from other areas to the table. A proper business person works with other people in harmony to create what is best for you, not them. A signature of our Group is our willingness to quarterback great discussions with our clients’ professionals, to bring it all together for them in a comprehensive way. We are never afraid to lay it all on the table, and you should expect the same from your team.
- Ask yourself, who’s right for the job, when you’re alone?
We all want our family/children to consider or plan take over for us when we retire or start something new. Often times, there is an unspoken assumption that this is the plan. But who would you choose, or even explore, when you are alone with your thoughts? Your conclusions may surprise you. They may solidify what you’ve believed already, or they may cause you to re-evaluate. Maybe you should look into a more objective selection process. You may even ask close professionals what they would do. Whether you agree with their thoughts or not, it will give you pause for reflection. The right person will carry the company forward with your vision. This is the most important factor when looking at it through the lens of viability of your business and its ability to support itself and your family in the future.
- The early bird gets the worm. And everything else.
For a few reasons, you must start to plan early. The first is that, while it’s not likely anything will happen to you, there is a possibility so having a plan that will help your family, and protect your wealth is important. The second is because your business grows and evolves. As you age, your choices surrounding your future planning will change as well. Starting early makes sure that what you put in place is flexible to change with you. Later in life, it can be a situation of 20/20 hindsight where you wish you’d made a different choice, or had begun structuring or reallocating funds much earlier to reap more benefits now. Think ahead, act now. Secondly, business planning and transition doesn’t happen in a month. Some find that out too late or leave it to their families to discover. It is a process that requires time, effort, and the assistance and coordination of many different professionals. Thirdly, starting early is important to build momentum. Just as young people are encouraged to begin saving to maximize on compounding interest, business owners are encouraged to become engaged and knowledgeable early on about their business planning. It encourages growth in the business and builds confidence, seeing results from sound decisions and support as it plays out over time. As business owners, we know that one of the most valuable currencies we can find is motivation.
- Retirement is likely more comfortable, but a lot trickier to navigate.
Due to multiple asset bases, income streams, and varying tax implications across both your personal and business income, understanding how different strategies may help you use your wealth most efficiently can save you thousands in retirement. Working with professionals to establish your retirement goal, and maintaining focus as your business grows is paramount to assessing the effectiveness of your plan. Often, how you take income now will effect what your retirement income will look like, so it makes sense to look at planning in a holistic way to maximize now and later. Being knowledgeable about your income streams, and what you’re entitled to as a business owner will help you get the most out of each dollar in retirement and what gets passed to the next generation.
- You’re not invincible, and neither is your wealth. Plan accordingly.
Often we meet with business owners who’ve done well. Well enough that when asked about how they would react to a sudden illness or injury happening to themselves or a key person in their organization their reply is usually, “I’ll just pay for whatever is needed.” And most times, they could. However, they often underestimate how much things can cost, and the jeopardy they are putting their investments and strategies in by diverting funds. No business owner I know woke up this morning and said, “You know what, I’ll choose to spend $500,000 of my hard-earned capital because I’m going to become sick today.” So if it doesn’t make sense to use your own money, whose money do you use? Someone else’s. Prepare your insurance plan accordingly, and executed properly, it will be another wealth preservation strategy that ends up costing you very little, but grows your money, and ensures your business continues to support you and your family despite unwelcome surprises.
The overall message is simple. Just do it. It is not as difficult as you might think. You get to sit with people and talk about how you built your business, and where you are going. At the end you’ll have a solid plan to ensure your business, wealth and family will continue to flourish with the next generation. After putting so much effort into what you’ve built, it only makes sense to put effort into protecting it and your legacy.
Middlesex County is thrilled to extend congratulations to two of its resident businesses: Heeman's Greenhouses and Strawberry Farm for winning the first ever Agri-business of the Year Award AND Armatec Survivability for winning the Large Business of the Year Award.
Both awards were handed out by the London Chamber of Commerce at their Business Achievement Awards (the largest event of its kind in Canada) on March 23rd, 2016.
Our Director of Economic Development, Cara Finn was honoured to be in attendance at the celebration and was able to capture this great photo and chat with the Heeman family (Heeman’s) and Karl Pfister (Armatec) afterwards about their much-deserved awards.