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P.E.I. newcomers test the waters on business and investment opportunities

Rick Renaud, the owner of Rick’s Fish ‘n’ Chips in St. Peters Bay, has decided to sell the business after 25 years. His restaurant was one of several stops on the P.E.I. Connectors business development tour this past week.
Rick Renaud, the owner of Rick’s Fish ‘n’ Chips in St. Peters Bay, has decided to sell the business after 25 years. His restaurant was one of several stops on the P.E.I. Connectors business development tour this past week.

After 25 years, Rick Renaud, owner of the popular St. Peters Bay restaurant Rick’s Fish ‘n’ Chips and Seafood House, realizes that it’s time to move on and sell the business.

But Renaud also realizes that he’ll miss it.

“All the pictures around here are all staff parties and fun things that we’ve done together,” he said. “Yeah, it’ll take me a few years to adjust.”

The restaurant is on the market for $450,000.

Before coming to P.E.I., Renaud lived in Toronto and managed a restaurant. With that, he estimates he’s been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years.

“My wife is looking to retire and do something different. Me, I just want to retire and go fishing,” he said with a laugh.

The restaurant, once featured on the television show, “You Gotta Eat Here!”, was one of several stops on the P.E.I. Connectors business development tour to a variety of communities in eastern P.E.I. The program is part of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.

Gavin Quinn, owner of Quinn’s Marine & Machine Shop in Cardigan, explains the business to Dinh Nhu Nguyen, one of the newcomers on the P.E.I. Connectors tour. After 37 years, Quinn is looking to retire from the business.

Nicole Bellefleur, the program’s manager, said the purpose of the tour was to introduce newcomers to different investment opportunities that they might not have otherwise known about.

“A lot of them have settled in Charlottetown, and they’re really curious to know what’s available beyond Charlottetown. But it’s hard for them to connect,” she said.

“They don’t know a lot of people here. So, for them to know about a business or a purchase or investment opportunity in rural P.E.I., it’s hard for them to uncover.”

Twenty-five newcomers met early Wednesday morning in the parking lot of the Red Shores Casino in Charlottetown to board a charter bus and start the tour.

It involved 15-minute stops at each business to meet the owners and learn about the business. But the group also got the chance to see some scenery and learn more about local history and culture between stops.

Alan MacLean, owner of the Butchers Stop in Mount Stewart, is looking to sell the business.

The tour began at The Butchers Stop in Mount Stewart. After 40 years in the business, owner Alan MacLean, 57, is looking to sell and move on. But he is willing to stay on and help a new owner with the transition. Even so, MacLean said he isn’t in a rush to sell. The asking price for the business and equipment is $400,000.

“If there’s interest, there’s interest. If not, there’s always next year,” he said.

“I want the company to continue. I’ve put a lot into it. And, I’m not going to be able to keep on going forever. So, if you don’t throw out the line, you’re not going to get a bite.”

The tour also visited the Inn at Spry Point, where owner Dave Wilmer is seeking a $1.5-million investment for 49 per cent of the business, and Charlottetown Truck and Recreation Ltd. to look at some commercial space available within the business.

Other investment opportunities included Warren’s Cottages in Goose River, the 100 Main Street – Wildfire gift shop in Souris and Quinn’s Marine & Machine Shop in Cardigan.

Manouchehr Alkhorshid and his wife, Marzieh Yazdiyan, were on the tour looking for investment opportunities. The couple came to P.E.I. in October 2016 from Shiraz, Iran. That is the same time Alkhorshid opened Occidental Chain Inc., a marketing, export and import business in Charlottetown.

“I’m looking to find more opportunities to improve my life and improve my business,” he said.

He also wants to bring his two adult children – a university student in Germany and an engineer in Iran – to Canada to be with the family.

“I think here is a good place for family living.”

Alkhorshid said what stands out about Charlottetown is the “kind people” and “warm behaviour” to immigrants.

“I love these people and this city,” he said.

On the tour, he said some of the tourism-related opportunities piqued his interest. But, currently, he is focused on his business with importing Persian handcrafts, including Persian rugs and tablecloths.

Yan Ling Liu checks out a tourism display at the Inn at Spry Point on Oct. 4.

Yan Ling Liu moved to Charlottetown from China with her husband and children in April. She also said an area of interest was tourism opportunities and the potential of investing in cottages.

She said the family is enjoying Charlottetown.

“It’s very fresh and new. So far, we have adjusted ourselves to the new life here quite well.”

The next P.E.I. Connectors business development bus tour is next scheduled for Montague and surrounding area on Oct. 12.

Tracy Warren-Burke discusses business opportunities at Warren’s Cottages with members of the PEI Connectors bus tour. From left to right is Gavin Wang, Derek Zhang, Warren-Burke and Yan Ling Liu.

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