We Asked Local Entrepreneurs….

Have you ever wanted to ask an entrepreneur what makes them tick? How they became successful? How they balance work and life?  We asked local entrepreneurs the burning questions about how they have found success in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.

We created a monthly video series that asks local business owners about their journey, experience, and advice on what it is like to live, work, invest in Peterborough & the Kawarthas. Their answers range from thought-provoking, to sentimental, to practical, and everywhere in between.

This page will be updated monthly as we release new videos throughout 2017, please be sure to check back each month for updates and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


We asked local entrepreneurs: “Why did you become an entrepreneur?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “What’s a challenge you’ve had to overcome?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “What advice would you offer those interested in living and working in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “What attracted to you to Peterborough & the Kawarthas?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “How welcoming is Peterborough & the Kawarthas as a community?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “What Inspires you?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “What’s your favourite thing about this community?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “How do you define success?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “Is Peterborough & the Kawarthas a supportive community?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “What is the most satisfying thing about being an entrepreneur?”


We asked local entrepreneurs: “How do you balance work and life?”


We asked local entrepreneurs, “Where do you see Peterborough& the Kawarthas going and growing?”


Let’s introduce you to the folks that will be featured in these videos:

Carlo Raponi – Peterborough Axe Club

Carlo is one of the charismatic partners behind the Peterborough Axe Club. He came to Peterborough 16 years ago to attend Trent University and decided to make the city his home. During that time, he worked with Youth Unlimited as The Bridge Youth Centre Director until opening the Peterborough Axe Club with his partners in August of this year. The Peterborough Axe Club is a recreational axe throwing facility where those interested in the growing sport of axe throwing can join a weekly league, host a party/event or just walk-in and try it out.




Fran Fearnley – ZimArt Rice Lake Gallery

16 years ago, an avid art collector and former journalist founded a unique gallery located on a five-acre property overlooking Rice Lake. Fran Fearnley, the owner of ZimArt/Rice Lake Gallery was introduced to Shona sculpture while volunteering in Africa at the Zimbabwe International Book Faire in Harare.

Originally, The Gallery was only open for the annual Rice Lake exhibition. Since then, it has evolved into a seasonal art destination drawing thousands of visitors to Bailieboro. Fran travels to Zimbabwe to buy work directly from the artists, bringing the art back to Ontario where she promotes, sells and curates exhibitions of Zimbabwean stone sculpture in public and private places.


Twitter: @ZimArtRiceLake

Facebook: Zim Art Rice Lake Gallery

Instagram: @zimart_ricelake

Rob Howard – Kawartha Local

Rob Howard is an Information Technology Project Manager, serial entrepreneur and Founder of Kawartha Local.

Kawartha Local works collaboratively with artisans and craft professionals to create and market locally made gift boxes. Kawartha Local is a personal community economic development initiative and is designed from the ground up with the goal of creating new revenue streams for local producers.

Rob and wife Ellie Rath moved to Peterborough in 2013. Rob is active in the community, Board Chair of The New Canadians Centre, Board member at COIN and IT volunteer at The Mount Community Centre.


Twitter: @KawarthaLocal

Facebook: Kawartha Local

Tyler Steeves – TreeWell

Tyler Steeves is the Founder of TreeWell Limited – a health beverage company that produces Longevity Drinks, including TreeWell Maple Sap, an all natural Sparkling Maple Sap drink.


Facebook: Treewell Limited

Nancy Nickle – Birchview Design

Originally from The Beach in Toronto and now residing in a quaint century home in Peterborough, Nancy Nickle has been collaborating with clients in design for the past 16 years. Projects range from colour consultations to working from the ground up to the final, finished and completely designed and furnished home, cottage, or commercial spaces. She has a 3-stage design process to make the experience exciting and as stress-free as possible.


Facebook: Birchview Design

Twitter: @BirchviewDesign

Bruce Khabbazi – Persian Empire/CDC Inc.

Bruce Khabbazi started Canadian Distribution Channel Inc. shortly after graduating from Accounting and Financial Management in 1995. The Khabbazi family has been in the food business for over 125 years, and Bruce is the fourth generation of entrepreneur to work in the field.

CDC’s Mashky Yogurt Soda brand is currently the leading maker of yogurt drinks for the North American ethnic food market, and their Persian Empire Distillery is one of only a select few small Ontario distillers supplying spirits to Canada and beyond.


Facebook: Persian Empire Distillery

Twitter: @PersianEmpireCa

Do these success stories have you feeling inspired?  Connect with our team to start creating your own path to success today.