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Businesses ready for first strokes

PICTOU – Two new businesses are going to see if they can “Sink or Swim” in the Town of Pictou.

Rebecca Pitts, co-owner of Fat Tony’s Bar and Grill, was the grand prize winner in Pictou Business and Marketing’s Sink or Swim contest and Peter Sykes was the runner-up. Each business will receive in-kind donations from fellow entrepreneurs in the town to help with their start-up costs. Submitted photo

Rebecca Pitts, the new co-owner of Fat Tony’s Bar and Grill in the former Stedman’s store in downtown Pictou, was selected as the winner of the Pictou Business and Marketing contest that awards a $10,000 grand prize of in-kind donations to the winner.

“I heard about the contest and thought it was a great opportunity,” she said Friday. “There is a lot of great stuff in there that I can use. There is printing, web page design, legal and some great artwork. Anything is a help when you are starting something new.”

The contest’s concept was based on CBC’s popular business show, Dragon’s Den, with the end result to generate new business in the town. Entrepreneurs interested in starting a new business in Pictou were asked to submit a business plan, and the grand prize winner received a $10,000 prize that includes in-kind donations from other business people in the town.

Pitts, who has worked in the restaurant and entertainment business for about 20 years, said the new bar and grill will open in March 2015.

“It’s going to be a place to go to take a sporting event and live entertainment,” she said. “There is also a three-tier patio on the side of the building. We feel this is something Pictou can use right now.”

Pitts said the bar and grill will be a year-round operation.

In addition to the grand prize winner, the contest was also able to award $2,000 worth of in-kind donations to a runner-up candidate, Peter Sykes of Rumblefish Technology.

Luke Young, chair of Pictou Business and Marketing, said the contest received four business plans which were judged by a panel of five people with different social and economic backgrounds.

“The contest was a success,” he said. “For me, it was really pleasing to see the nice emails come in from different people happy with the way things turned out.”

However, he said, the real success of the Sink or Swim contest will be determined once the businesses get up and running.

“We will waiting to see whether these businesses can survive and thrive,” Young said, adding that interest in their growth will be closely monitored by local entrepreneurs.  “We are all now investing in them.”

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