[Small Biz Spotlight]

Small Biz Spotlight Spring 2023

Left to right: Trevor Jay, Trevor Jay Design; Amber Walton-amar, Cellist; Courtney Gibbons, Change Makers Refillery & Coffee Bar

You need passion (and grit) to really excel in business. These local entrepreneurs are outside-the-box thinkers, charting new courses to make it happen.


Fashion and bridal designer Trevor Jay has worked in some of the bougiest bridal salons in Toronto, but found the slower life in PEC irresistible. “My partner and I first bought a weekend place here and we became weekend warriors and fell in love with the place,” he says. They moved to a 75-acre property in Picton, built a house and settled in full-time. Jay offers custom décor and sewing for home, cottage (boat coverings!), retail, or a wardrobe makeover where he takes something new or well-loved and gives it a fresh made-to-measure touch. And if you’re considering a corset for an event, he’s the master tailor of glam. “I’ve done everything from wedding dresses, prom, drag costumes to red carpet gowns.” The best part of PEC? “Definitely the amazing people I’ve met here.”


AC/DC on cello! Heavy metal is heart-thumping on electric cello – especially when you’re a fiercely talented musician like Belleville’s Amber Walton-Amar. The classically trained cellist picked up her first bow at age three when her “obsession” took hold. While some women love their shoes, she has a collection of cellos to play, depending on her mood and the venue. Walton-Amar works on album tracks with other artists, plays in bands and string trios, and performs at private events, including local weddings and the opening of the Royal Hotel in Picton. “Cello is so versatile,” she explains, although the path to full-time pro takes a lot of “grit and stubbornness.” Thankfully, she’s got plenty of both. “If I had only wanted to play Bach in a concert hall, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

Courtney Gibbons,
Change Makers Refillery & Coffee Bar

“I grew up in nature, forest bathing and foraging for herbs with my grandmother,” says Courtney Gibbons of her inspiration for celebrating and protecting the environment. “I’m getting back to my roots.” She moved from Collingwood to a farm in Grafton two years ago and decided to fill a missing service in the area, setting up her refillery business in downtown Cobourg last June. (Look for the woman in the widebrimmed black hat, her signature!) People can buy bodycare and household cleaning products at the shop and refill them as needed, helping to curb single-use packaging. She also sells the soaps she makes with the lavender and lemon balm from her farm, and plans to add clothing swap pop-ups, and ginger and wheatgrass drink shots to the in-store coffee bar. “I’m a New-Age hippie.”

Story by:
Karen Hawthorne

[Spring 2023 departments]