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Win This Space Essex Competition Selects Recipient

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A local entrepreneur’s dreams of growing his home supply business is now a reality after winning a local business competition.

Dan DesRosiers, owner of Emerson Supply Co., is the grant recipient for Win This Space Essex, hosted by the Essex BIA and supported by the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre. He’s making the move to a new retail location at 41 Talbot St. N in Essex on Feb. 29.

Emerson Supply Co. received $12,000 in grant funding from the Essex BIA to cover 12 months of rent as well as training, mentorship and a $5,000 grant from the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre.

“Win This Space Essex was an invaluable tool for the expansion of my business,” said DesRosiers, adding, “The whole process was wonderful right from the start and everyone I’ve worked with at the Small Business Centre has been so knowledgeable, helpful and encouraging that no matter the outcome of the contest I was motivated and prepared to open a retail space in the near future coming out of the process.”
According to DesRosiers, the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre was instrumental in the growth and success of Emerson Supply Co. “I brought an idea and passion, but it was only with the support and encouragement of an advisor like Shannon Dyck that I was able to bring everything together into the vision that will culminate with the opening of the store on Feb. 29.”

DesRosiers’ business was born after years of doing woodworking projects with his uncle. “We started making cutting boards, charcuterie boards and some custom projects for friends and family … After [several] years and constant persuasion, I decided to design and make a few products to sell at vendor events.”

DesRosiers founded the business in 2018 as Emerson Custom Wood, offering a line of wood-based home goods made with locally sourced natural materials. The business was rebranded as Emerson Supply Co. in early 2019 following the introduction of a range of reusable alternatives to single use and plastic products for the home.

Beyond the immediate goal of getting his retail space up and running, DesRosiers hopes to expand his product offering and eventually become a one-stop shop for waste reduction and eco products. “That starts by bringing in a number of other products to complement the products already available from Emerson Supply Co … New products will be added regularly to both expand the available offering and respond to the needs of our customers on an ongoing basis.”

“My biggest hope for a year from now is that I’ve been able to help amplify the chorus of people spreading the waste reduction message so every person coming through my door is actively seeking solutions to reduce their environmental impact,” stated DesRosiers.

DesRosiers had a lot of support from family and friends in starting up his business, which he feels added to his success so far. “For quite a while, I barely made any money selling at events and definitely didn’t cover the costs that went into getting started … If it hadn’t been for custom orders for furniture and cabinetry from family and friends I would have given up, and if I hadn’t decided to make a range of waste reduction items for my family members, the rebrand never would have happened.” 

This venture isn’t DesRosiers first experience with entrepreneurship. As a teenager he worked for his mom’s food service business in Harrow while attending school. He was later accepted into the Venture Creation Program, a six-month intensive entrepreneurship grant program that resulted in the opening of Muses Cafe and Vegetarian Dining in Kitchener ON, which he operated for five years before passing it along to new owners.

One of DesRosiers biggest takeaways from his entrepreneurial experience is the power of word-of-mouth. “You can spend so much money on advertising and marketing, but nothing can quite match the effectiveness of people sharing their personal experiences. A few people with enough influence passing on positive experiences can have an incredible, buoying effect on a business that simply can’t be matched by anything money can buy.”

Dan DesRosiers is a client of the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre and received support and mentorship through our programs. You, too, can receive support in launching or expanding your small business. Contact the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre for more information.