Yesterday evening, five business owners presented their plans to a crowd of nearly 200 at the CASO Station with the hope of winning a prize package valued at $10,000.

Anna Shier presenting her business, Galaxy Kustoms, a retro-styled product company specializing in out-of-this-world purses and accessories. | Photo by Marty Lewis, Establish Media.

After presentations from Galaxy Kustoms, Beauty of Wigs, Head to Tail Chiropractic, Caps Off Brewing Co., and Davey + Davey Cabinetry, the audience voted Dr. Brittany Dunlop of Head to Tail Chiropractic as the winner.

Brittany is an animal (and human) chiropractor based in St. Thomas who offers care for horses, dogs, and any other animal that needs it – “I’ve even treated a ferret and a guinea pig,” she told the audience with a laugh.

Dr. Brittany Dunlop presenting her business, Head to Tail Chiropractic. | Photo by Marty Lewis, Establish Media.

Head to Tail Chiropractic began in July 2018 in response to a growing demand for alternative healthcare services for animals. Brittany says that the benefits of animal chiropractic care include enhanced performance, better range of motion, decreased pain and stiffness, and better quality of life. Operating out of Elgin Animal Hospital, Head to Tail’s services are covered by pet insurance, which is also a growing industry.

Fran and Rick Dunseith presenting their craft beer company, Caps Off Brewing Co., located at 168 Curtis Street, St. Thomas. | Photo by Marty Lewis, Establish Media.

Though this isn’t the first business plan competition in the area (see our coverage of the Elgin Business Plan Competition), Ready. Set. Grow. is unique in that it’s up to the audience to decide which business will receive the grand prize. After the presentations, attendees had ten minutes to vote online for their favourite business. However, you didn’t have to be in the audience to participate. Anyone watching Establish Media’s live stream of the evening could also vote during that time using the same online tool.

Audette Asiedua presenting her business, Beauty of Wigs. Audette hand sews customized wigs for women who have hair loss because of medical reasons, such as undergoing chemotherapy. | Photo by Marty Lewis, Establish Media.

The prize package up for grabs was designed to set up any young business for success. It included $5000 in funding from the Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), a branding and marketing package from Establish Media, flexible office space at The Atrium for one year, banking at Libro Credit Union for one year, a print package from Van Pelt’s Print Plus, a one year membership to the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce, and a year of hosting from OurOnline.Company.

The five finalists were chosen by the sponsors beforehand out of a group of 18 businesses submitted. To qualify, they had to be under a year old, complete training through SBEC, and submit a strong business plan for review. Jason Dearing of Libro Credit Union emceed the evening.

Tanya Davey presenting her business, Davey + Davey Cabinetry. Tanya and her father run a custom and semi-custom cabinetry store located in West Lorne. | Photo by Marty Lewis, Establish Media.

With a full venue and five excellent companies to choose from, Ready. Set. Grow. was a successful evening celebrating local business. SBEC, the competition’s host, plans to make it an annual event in St. Thomas.

Congratulations to the finalists and all the best on your business ventures!

“Co-founder” of Head to Tail Chiropractic, Austen, says hello.