QUISPAMSIS – An entrepreneur in Quispamsis has turned her childhood home into a business centre that she hopes will help small businesses grow in the Kennbecasis Valley.
Tara Curwin is the owner of the Curwin Business Centre. Located on the bottom floor of 204 Hampton Road, the centre offers a vast variety of services for small businesses, including office space/boardroom rental; mailboxes; reception; accounting; tech services; bookkeeping; consulting; web development; video/audio conference calling; social media marketing; answering services; printing services and more. The centre had its grand opening on Monday.
Curwin has worked in IT for many years for the Canadian military and for big oil companies out west. She moved back home to Quispamsis in 2016 to be with the ailing father. When he passed away, she knew it was time to put one of his ideas into reality.
“My dad and mom always wanted to put a business into this building. They just weren’t sure what to do. They always toyed around with ideas,” says Curwin. “Then the old Hampton Road started to turn commercial. At that point, everybody was moving out of their homes and businesses were going in.”
One day, her dad called her up with an idea.
“He said ‘I have a great idea. I think we should put in some offices and help small businesses. You’re in IT and you can fix all their problems.'”
It would take a little more than that to make a business, but Curwin knew he was onto something.
“He actually had a really good idea and there a lot of different concepts throughout Canada that are doing that,” she says. I think we just took it one step further and instead of just office space, boardroom and video conferencing, we’re your one-stop-shop for small business. Anything you can think of for small business, we make sure that we covered that for you.”
The Curwin Business Centre currently has five employees; a business analyst, social media manager, graphics designers and a software engineer. The company also hires several additional people that work on contract.
Curwin says the goal of the centre is to help business owner focus on what’s important: their business.
“When you open a business, you’re obviously good at what you do,” she says. “Our goal is that all the little things that stop you from doing your business, we’re going to help with.”
That’s what she helped Jeff Donald, one of the centre’s first clients, do. As the owner of Aerus, he needed someone to help beef up his business’s online presence.
“This is the new way of doing business. It’s online. Everyone is on their phone. Typically, business owners are of an older generation that’s not really in-tune with that,” says Donald. “It really does bridge the two generations. You need that now and more and more going forward.”
He said working with the local business was a good move.
“You definitely want to shop local and they do have your best interest at heart,” says Donald. “Your business success out here is hand-in-hand with their success. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Over the years, the Kennebeccasis Valley has grown a lot commercially. Curwin says it’s important the area has a place for small businesses to get all the help they need.
“There are so many small businesses here. People are in their homes. I have people tell me they are working out of a library, which is lovely, but they also need a space,” says Curwin. “There are also a lot of people who have businesses, but they don’t know how to market themselves out to the masses too. It’s not fair that we have amazing businesses in this valley and people are not getting recognition.”
In the future, she hopes to see the Curwin Business Centre grow along with the clients they serve.
“This province was built on the blood sweat and tears of small business and I think people forget that. It’s great to have big businesses, but you also need those mom and pop shops, those people that are hiring local people, the people that are giving to the community and helping people out,” she says. “I think as a society, we forget those little places are there and that’s how businesses stop… As long as you’re willing to put effort into your business, I’m willing to as well.”