Montague waterfront group shows support after Dewar leaves in tears

Steve Sharratt
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Standing on her restaurant deck, Anne Dewar’s facility overlooks the Montague River and is across from the new Riverhouse Inn hotel. The Montague waterfront development corporation wants to find ways to include restaurant owner Dewar in future promotions.

Owner of Sir Isaac's Restaurant wants in on signage plans for the area

MONTAGUE — A tearful restaurant owner hoping to find solace at a waterfront corporation meeting here Wednesday night left before the support she was seeking was voiced.

Anne Dewar was hoping the town’s waterfront corporation would assist in her request to deal with snack truck vendors that set up during the summer and affect her year round operation.

“I pay taxes, I operate year round, and I just want to see some controls on operators who only come for the high point of the season,’’ she told the waterfront corporation annual meeting.

Especially since the front door of her Sir Isaac’s restaurant may open on Main Street, but here back door deck for eating and drinking overlooks the town waterfront.

“I would gladly support seeing Anne included in the waterfront signage,’’ offered fellow restaurant owner Louise Verleun who operates the Station Café near the marina on the north side of the river.

Dewar’s restaurant is on the south side overlooking the fishing wharf and the new Artisan on Main headquarters that is now under construction. She told the packed corporation meeting that lack of signage allowed by the government prevents tourists walking the riverfront from having any idea of her facility just up the hill.

The structure of the meeting broke down with other issues, including the group’s future, and Dewar left in tears convinced her pleas would be ignored. However, no sooner had she departed when supporters encouraged action.

“In my mind the whole lower part of the town is the waterfront,’’ insisted Jock Beck, a former town councillor. “Why doesn’t everyone get together and market it as such.”

Businessman Barry Beck agreed and said there must be some way for the waterfront businesses to work collectively towards signage indications to alert visitors. The south side is expanding with a new development project this year and proper signage to indicate available businesses should be included along with Dewar’s restaurant.

“I can fully understand Anne’s situation and her trouble with signage… I have the same problem,’’ said Verleun.

Waterfront chairman Niall MacKay said the Department of Tourism won’t even allow the group to advertise the musical acts playing at the waterfront throughout the summer on Main Street signs.

“Tourism made us take down our sign that was advertising the entertainment,” he said. “I would suggest the new board meet with business people and come up with something.”

Beck, who operates Beck’s Home Furniture on the south side, suggested a collective waterfront sign, including Sir Isaac’s, should be created for the area. “I think I speak for all of us when I say we feel terrible that Anne left so upset,’’ said resident and former mayor Pat McGowan. “And I urge you to come up with an idea to help her. She has done so much for this town.”

Councillor Jim Bagnall, who attended as liaise to the town, said the municipality is already looking into the bylaws used by the cities of Charlottetown and Summerside to manage summer food vendors.

Organizations: Station Café, Department of Tourism

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Summerside

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Recent comments

  • david
    April 20, 2014 - 19:14

    Typical female business owner when you don't get your own way turn on the tears. Seems when women in business don't get their own way they feel the need to cry and this should help them. Funny how if a man cries he is wimp or worse..yet women want to be treated equal in business but they still think if they turn on the tears everyone will break down and do what they want. This business owner makes me want to avoid her business even more now.

    • Get over yourself David!
      April 21, 2014 - 07:18

      Why do you feel the need to hate on women David? Your sexist remarks are not welcome! Her tears were most likely an uncontrollable reaction to stress and I'm sure she would rather not have had them. Probably embarrassed by it she left. Everyone reacts to stress differently and this has nothing to do with their abilities. For you to whine about women in business it's obvious that you have your own issues you need to work out!

  • Fish
    April 20, 2014 - 18:34

    Chip trucks are a tradition on PEI it's sad there aren't many of them around anymore. Hot dog carts in Charlottetown too or any street cart food. As long as it's regulated I'm OK with it. I guess people in Montague will have $20 taken off their paycheques automatically each day and have it sent to Dewar's business since apparently it's the only spot you're allowed to eat at.

  • Hilda MacPhee
    April 20, 2014 - 09:28

    Everyone should get behind Anne and support her.She has a small business and is trying to make a living.She does so many great things for people.How many other restaurants do you know that open on Christmas Day to give a free dinner to people?She is not a seasonal business and deserves support.

    • Doesn't mean
      April 20, 2014 - 12:37

      She may do a free Christmas dinner, and she is a local business, but people work hard for their money, and would like to get a decent meal & decent service when they do go out to eat. One does not get it at this restaurant. What Anne needs to do is sit back, & read all comments on all the articles written about her recently, then take stock. She needs to improve her food, improve her service, & improve her disposition towards her staff. Kick the business up a notch so when people eat there, they want to go back. Anne stop blaming others for your own fail, & step up to the job and get it done.

  • justin
    April 20, 2014 - 07:48

    from what I hear this operater/owner of the chip truck is local but it should not be an issue for any sensible person even if he/she was from opposite end of island!! and as an outsider looking in and observing others is that this woman is the sole person responsible for her failing business. on a related media article in the comments section I seen NOT ONE positive comment about her people skills,operating skills, ect ect...including comments by former staff. I have eaten at this restaurant and was by no means 'above average'. I have a crew of 4 guys that ate there everyday we had a project up that way.(works out to be 6 weeks total) and this woman has lost all my business to the chip truck this summer as a result of last weeks article!! on the other hand if I see in the media that this lady has put some effort into working together to benefit everybody and plus some 'in house' modifications with menu and working better with her staff than I will give her another chance for my business. she deserves a second chance if she puts forth effort. no doubt it is aan extremely difficult/stressful industry

    April 19, 2014 - 16:35

    well done Montague rather than just north and south fighting - you have further divided the battle zones

  • catherine
    April 19, 2014 - 16:21

    Signage is definitely an issue. The Town seems to be making it difficult for business owners whether year round or not. Who cares where the owners live? Everyone here has a right to have a business located wherever they want. Maybe quality of food being served affects number of customers too. Just saying... an awful lot of deep fried food comes out of some places in town. Who wants to go in a place and smell like grease on the way out?

  • working together
    April 19, 2014 - 14:52

    Re: Just so you know: It makes no difference who or how old the fly by night person(s) is. This is being brought to the town's attention (probably for the first time).No one is trying to control every type of fast food..the ones who are year round or own a property with in the town pay taxes for this. Maybe those who don't pay taxes can set up outside the town limits.Just saying the town needs to figure this out quickly and move on.

  • Derek MacConnell
    April 19, 2014 - 12:20

    I have frequented Montague's Local Business' lots and there must be a better way to be able provide sign-age for so that these business' can attract more clientèle! The Town of Montague also need and should encourage these food trucks to come into their town to conduct their business as well. The more items for sale in the town will attract for visitors to come and shop or stay within its limits. The business community should come together and work out a solution that will benefits all vendors to succeed. The more success of different business' within Montague will attract more business' to set up shop because the buying support will be there for them. Montague has the advantage over a lot of other communities in Kings County. They have a stable which already brings in others from the other communities which is the Big Box Grocery stores. Here in Alberta there are sign s supporting local business for kilometres outside the town limits telling visitors what the town has to offer before they even enter the town. Why doesn't the Province allow such signs to exist between Poole's Corner as you are coming into Montague, or out by the liquor store or out by the apple orchard as you come into Montague to help support local business? I think that all the waterfront developers, town counsel, business owners, and chambers of commerce should work together and meets the needs and demands of all.

  • common sense
    April 19, 2014 - 11:09

    Of course Dewar pays taxes year round - she operates year round. Why is it "unfair" for a food truck (who also contributes to the community) to run their business? I 100% agree with the signage issue - it's ridiculous that they can't advertise their businesses, and it would help them immensely. However, I'm a bit perplexed as to the "controls" that should be placed on truck vendors…Does anyone know what kind of controls are proposed?

    April 19, 2014 - 10:45

    Appears that this lady would like to control what type of food you can eat and where you can eat it. If as she says this fast food is only a summer business then can't the same be said for all summer businesses. I was under the impression in the last article that the owner of the truck leases the lot he on and therefore is completely justified in using it. You cannot and will not force people to eat a restraurant meal if they only want a much cheaper fast food.

  • working together
    April 19, 2014 - 10:09

    Time the Town of Montague works together.When each business promotes the rest of the businesses with in the town EVERYONE wins.The town does not need another vacant business on main street.Anne does a lot of good for the town, and pays her taxes.She is well within her right to complain about fly by night competition.

    • Just so you know
      April 19, 2014 - 10:40

      The "fly by night competitor" as you put it, is a 30 year professional in the foodservices and hospitality industry and plans to be around for a long time to come

    • don
      April 19, 2014 - 14:11

      just so you know. he is from the capital city why does he need to take money from others? or is he the type i am from the city and i'll do what i want? but he does pay tax's in a away by leasing the land but if there is tables then he MUST supply wash rooms check the laws. and why is the health inspector allowing him to operate with no wash rooms for the public? but i would like to know does she want the other places that sells food during the summer to close? they are FAST FOODS?

    • don
      April 19, 2014 - 14:15

      johnsed. just so you know i know both sides of the story i was in the business in ontario for many years. so tell me how many years have you been in the fast food truck business? none i bet.

    • Don, you are wrong!
      April 19, 2014 - 15:00

      get your facts right sir , the operator is NOT from the city, and does it matter really? Heaven forbid anyone from Montague or any other small town work outside their boundaries.

    • Law Checker
      April 19, 2014 - 15:47

      Hey there don, if a lease is paid, I think that covers taxes, if they owned the land , taxes instead if rent surely would be paid. And, there are no tables there, just a couple of pre-existing donated benches, so your washroom point is now pointless!

    • johnsed
      April 21, 2014 - 07:56

      Don, regardless of my business experience, my point still is valid. A fixed business operating year round has much greater expenses than a food cart outside one's door. Frankly, I like these carts for the most part and often frequent them. Whats required is a level playing field and opportunity for all to exist. Halifax has very good rules that should be looked at. Oh and I'm a chef who's got over 30 years experience and has seen the effect 1st hand when these carts park outside my door and feed off the business I've drawn to that location.

  • don
    April 19, 2014 - 05:17

    it seems as she said she "want to see some controls on operators." i can see her point in a away the wagon is from ch'town and wants to take money from other area's but is this not a free country ? and she wants control. i though the council had control but i guess she owns the town. why does she not want to close down all of her competition that way she has full CONTROL.

    • good point
      April 19, 2014 - 08:59

      You have a good point .. it is a free country. The municipalites should have their ducks in a row with proper requirements such as vendor licensing, parking places, quality of food, appearance of vehicle. Fast food and restaurants are two different things in my eyes, and maybe in other people's as well. You grab fast food to keep moving on; you eat at a restaurant to enjoy the quality, choice, surroundings. One can't really take away from the other, they fulfill different needs.

    • johnsed
      April 19, 2014 - 09:21

      Don, do you ever consider all sides in a situation before making your comments? If the portable carts want to pay the same business taxes and property taxes (year round) that she does, then they should be allowed to operate within certain locations. Clearly these carts feed off the established businesses and what they bring to an area without most of the costs of staff, leasing, taxes and a host of other business expenses.

    • Fun on a Bun
      April 19, 2014 - 10:05

      The waterfront food truck is owned and operated by an individual that not only lives in the area, but also spends their money supporting other local businesses. Like many seasonal businesses , the food truck operates for the benefit and enjoyment of the locals and visitors alike; during the highs and lows of the shoulder and peak times during the spring to fall tourism season.

    • Dave
      April 19, 2014 - 11:32

      @Johnsed......your's is exactly the kind of attitude that is stifling the Island economy. ....protectionism will not encourage growth, it ends in stagnation..... too many Islanders think like you and want to protect present business at all different levels....... how is it working? Frankly, this is small minded thinking.