Nova Scotia

Mini boom in Nova Scotia village attracts young entrepreneurs

Tatamagouche's charm, friendly people, affordability, and the desire for change are all converging to contribute to its mini boom. Since last year, 10 new businesses have launched in the village.

Since last year, 10 new businesses have launched in Tatamagouche

Richard Pridham, his wife Andrea and their daughter Rue moved to Tatamagouche. (Mina Mohit/CBC)

When Richard Pridham first moved to Tatamagouche on Nova Scotia's north shore after spending several years in the busy tourist town of Banff, Alta., it was like going back in time.

"It feels like what I imagined the 1900s were. Everyone's always holding the door and waving at each other a lot," he said.

Pridham is a part of the new wave of entrepreneurs who've chosen Tatamagouche as fertile ground for starting a business. 

The village's charm, friendly people, affordability, and the desire for change are all converging to contribute to its mini boom. Since last year, 10 new businesses have launched in Tatamagouche.

Richard Pridham opened Taco Gringo, a Tex-Mex restaurant on Main Street in Tatamagouche. (Mina Mohit/CBC)

Pridham opened Taco Gringo, a Tex-Mex restaurant that replaced the old Dino Wagon on Main Street.

The village, he said, is a great place for "being your own boss" without "breaking your bank," especially compared with Banff where he owned a restaurant with a monthly rent of $7,000 for 45 seats.

He encourages other entrepreneurs to come to Tatamagouche, take advantage of low business costs and further the boom.

"You can still rent places in town that are under $1,000, which is unheard of if you live in the city."

Cost effective area

The sentiment is shared by one of Taco Gringo's suppliers, Dexter Rundle-Woolcock from Dexter's Butcher Block, a 60-square-metre store whose operating expenses are less than $1,000 a month.

Rundle-Woolcock, who said he's only "a meat-cutter and not a businessman," is optimistic about aspiring entrepreneurs finding success in Tatamagouche.

Dexter Rundle-Woolcock is a butcher at Dexter’s Butcher Block. (Mina Mohit/CBC)

This is mainly because of the supportive community that is hungry for variety and wants the village to grow.

He said the locals were "very welcoming" of his butcher shop, despite opening up in May when it was still cold and not many cottagers were around.

"If it's a good business and they think it's worthwhile, they'll come out and support you," Rundle-Woolcock added.

Locals embracing new businesses

Only a few stores down from Dexter's Butcher Block, Kathleen Frotten, owner of Meeting Waters Coffee Roastery, also praises the community.

"A lot of locals are really great and they've embraced my coffee and are very supportive."

She started the coffee roastery just over a year ago and now supplies businesses in Tatamagouche, Pugwash and Malagash.

Kathleen Frotten, 25, is the owner of Meeting Waters Coffee Roastery. (Mina Mohit/CBC)

Frotten, a Nova Scotia native, grew up in big cities like Edmonton and Vancouver but always begged her parents to move back.

At 25, she's excited to be among the younger generation starting a career in Tatamagouche.  

"We need to have our young people to stay ... so we can keep growing and have more businesses. The village is mostly seasonal but we want an all-year momentum."