Open letter to Municipal Council – Town of Mississippi Mills

Mayor Christa Lowry
Phone (613) 256-2064

Deputy Mayor Rickey Minnille
Phone (613) 889-4479

Councillor Jan Maydan
Councillor Almonte Ward

Councillor John Dalgity
Councillor Almonte Ward

Dear Madam/Sir:

I am writing to you in my personal capacity on behalf of Mr. Sam Barber Shop Inc. Hopefully with your assistance there can be immediate steps taken to help this young man to sustain his business.

Mr. Sam Barber Shop Inc.
(613) 256-8383
2-14 Industrial Drive, Almonte, Ontario K0A 1A0, Canada
Mr. Sam Barber Shop Inc.

As a result of the Covid lockdown Mr. Sam is having to endure unprecedented financial challenges to the point of threatening the existence of his business. It is a business which opened only recently but which has confronted mandatory provincial government lockdowns. Mr. Sam and members of his family contributed thousands of dollars to the capital improvements which now dignify his leasehold interest at 2-14 Industrial Drive adjacent Almonte Butcher Shop.

It is my thinking that this conundrum is the fault of no one. Yet we all suffer.  At times like this I consider it useful to recall that the Landlord and the Tenant need one another; Mr. Sam and his customers need one another; and, especially in a small Ward such as Almonte we all need one another.

In the spirit of unity and cooperation I am writing to enquire what if anything can be done to provide tangible assistance to Mr. Sam during this pandemic.  I have for example taken the liberty of proposing to Mr. Sam that he meet with his Landlord to discuss the possibility of extending the time for payment until some future date after business returns to normal (in order to permit at least some financial recovery after customer service is re-opened). It would constitute an enormous loss were the business to expire.

Knowing as I do the small business background of both Mr. Minnille and his late father, and having been in the private practice of law in Almonte since 1976, I am mindful of the precipitous challenges often faced by small business entrepreneurs. I feel compelled to record as well that Mr. Sam is in my opinion a dedicated and skilful entrepreneur whose professional services afford a valuable contribution to the growth and sustenance of our community. The serendipity of having Mr. Sam on our collective commercial doorstep is not to be disregarded.

Thank-you for your anticipated assistance.  If you are able to communicate directly with Mr. Sam to provide encouragement in this matter I am certain he would be grateful.

Bill (Chapman)
(613) 850-8249

C.c. Edith Cody-Rice, Publisher,The Millstone News
Millstone News


Post Scriptum:

June 3, 2021
I feel very much for the barbers and hairdressers of the Province.  They are indeed having a very difficult if not perilous time.  I still have some connection with our present Provincial Government and will pass along your concerns as well as mine to John Yakabuski and Lisa McLeod to do everything in their power to get these people back to work.  My heart goes out to Sam and his family.

Norm Sterling, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1977 to 2011.


June 4,

Hello Bill,

I’m reaching out in response to the open letter published on your website. Your concern and support for Mr. Sam is evident and admirable. This has been an incredibly difficult year for all small businesses, but especially for those in the personal services industry like Mr. Sam.

As Municipal Government, our role in supporting  local businesses through the pandemic has been as a conduit of information regarding Provincial and Federal programs, updates and supports. Is it possible Mr. Sam is unaware of assistance that is available to him?

In particular, the Federal Government has a rent assistance program. Early versions of this program put control the landlords hands, which I disagreed with. As Mayor of Mississippi Miss on behalf of our small business owners I wrote to both our Provincial and Federal governments outlining the challenge. The current program now allows the business owner to apply directly for this funding. If Mr. Sam has not taken this step, he may considering starting there.

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy through the Canada Rent Subsidy Programto cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

Another option for Mr. Sam is a Regional Relief and Recovery Grant through Valley Heartland Community Futures.  Until recently, I was a Director with Valley Heartland representing Lanark County.   In  the 12 months from May 2020 to April 2021, Valley Heartland had provided $2.9 million to businesses in Lanark County and North Leeds through this program.  We confirmed today that they do still have funds available. Mr. Sam could be eligible to apply for a loan up to $60,000. I recommend contacting Sharon Ruth at 613-283-7002 ext. 106 or email for more information or to apply.  A portion of the loan can be forgivable.  Sharan can go over the details with him.

The Small Business Advisory Centre for our area has a program that provides virtual advice for business owners for free. This service pays the professional fees directly. Mississippi Mills business owners can access financial advice,  business planning, coaching etc. There may be an opportunity for Mr. Sam  to access this service for help with his above applications should he wish to consider those opportunities. He can reach out the Manager Cindy James, at 613-283-7002 ext. 108 or email: cjames@smallbizcentre.ca

And lastly, Mr. Sam may wish to sign up for the Mississippi Mills Business Newsletter which the Municipality uses to communicate programs, webinar, supports and other information relevant to businesses that we become aware of:

Entrepreneurship comes with risks at any time but these days are certainly unprecedented. Thanks you for being an ally and supporter of local businesses, and specifically to Mr. Sam. I do hope the above resources may be of help and encouragement while we wait for sunnier days ahead.

Kind regards,

Christa Lowry
Mayor, Municipality of Mississippi Mills
Warden, Lanark County