Charlevoix Main Street (CMS) sat down with Harwood Gold owner Amber Parsons to learn more about this charming stop on the corner of Clinton & Bridge Streets.
CMS: How long have you been in business?
Amber: We opened Harwood Gold Store & Cafe in August 2016.
CMS: Why did you want to be a small business owner?
Amber: Many factors led me to be a small business owner but the main objectives for doing so were: to keep the family farm in the family (5th generation maple syrup farm), to expand on an already established product (we started branching off from only making maple syrup to making our made-with-maple products (jams, sauces, infused maple syrups), and last but not least, to serve our community.
CMS: Why did you choose to open a business downtown Charlevoix?
Amber: Charlevoix is the birthplace of Harwood Gold as our farm was established here in 1898. So there is no better place for us to open our first retail space.
CMS: Tell me a little bit about your business.
Amber: Since 1898 the Parsons family has been making maple syrup on our family farm in Charlevoix. Each generation has expanded the maple business and in 2016, we opened our first retail space. We make a variety of maple products including plain maple syrup, infused maple syrup, and our made-with-maple product line. Our made-with-maple products are sweetened only with maple syrup and consist of sauces (ketchup, BBQ, sriracha, mustards, salad dressings), preserves/jams, granolas, and snacks.
CMS: What do you enjoy most about living and working in the Charlevoix area?
Amber: I enjoy the small community and network of outstanding professionals. Most folks are keen to share knowledge and help each other out when needed.
CMS: What is something unique about your store/business?
Amber: Our Store & Cafe is just that - half retail store, half café. On the café side we offer a variety of cafe items, such as organic coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, and our signature Harwood Gold meat pies. On the store side, we offer all of our maple syrup products, plus other locally made gift items. We are open year round to serve both our transient and year round communities.
CMS: How would you describe downtown Charlevoix?
Amber: Downtown Charlevoix is a very special place for many, including those who grew up here, those who vacation here, and those who are transient residents. It provides a welcoming, cheerful environment for all who spend time here by way of parks & recreation, dining & entertainment, seasonal festivals, and a vibrant downtown to suit families and individuals of all ages.
CMS: How has Charlevoix Main Street DDA helped your business?
Amber: Main Street DDA has helped Harwood Gold mostly through advertising and marketing cooperation. They have also helped in creating awareness of services available to small business owners within the DDA capacity. They provide an avenue of open communication which is always very helpful.
CMS: What’s your favorite thing about your business?
Amber: The two equally most favorite parts of my business are being part of our community so we can serve our customers, and being part of an expanding culinary field by way of taking over our family maple syrup farm.
CMS: What’s your favorite Charlevoix event?