GRAVENHURST - Gordie Merton loves to snack on cookies, but starting a cookie business was unplanned.
The evolution of Gordo’s Cookies came after Merton lost his job. He began baking to keep his mind off the job loss.
Merton jokes that he over baked during this time and ended up giving away batches of cookies. He admits to being a snacker in “a very big way.”
“I couldn’t eat it all, so I gave them away, and people were asking if I was selling them,” he said.
“I am a baker now by profession, but I don’t classify it as a job but as something I love to do.”
Merton had a potentially hungry customer base. Following a conversation with his sister, who like his friends, encouraged him to start selling his cookies as they were that delicious.
“So,I started baking in the house until I figured out that I wasn’t supposed to until I was registered. I talked to Jeff Loney and told him I was interested in starting a business, and he’s like ok let’s do it,” said Merton
He met with Loney, Gravenhurst Manager of Economic development, and presented his business idea. Merton was thrilled that Loney thought it was a unique concept.
Other business community members have also offered help to make Merton’s dream a reality.
Since he could not bake out of his house Merton began looking for a commercial space to house Gordo’s cookies.
“I was looking for a spot but I didn’t have the start-up. I thought this was going to be interesting, I don't know how I’m going to do it, but I'm going to do it,” he said.
Unfortunately after a short search he realized that an affordable rental was slightly out of reach. He then remembered that the Gravenhurst Train Station was now empty and the town is currently looking for lease proposals.
"I thought, wouldn't that be an awesome spot.
So I called the town and set up a meeting with the mayor, Coun. Sandy Cairns and the director of infrastructure,” he said.
Merton was informed that the station requires a bidding process which ends on Oct. 11.
"The bidding process requires me to let the town know how much I'm willing to spend on the business per year."
Merton has also reached out to the district of Muskoka for possible start up grants.
"I have started writing the proposal and its my first time ever writing a business proposal,” he said.
Other than selling baked goods Merton said he would turn the space into a community hub if provided the opportunity.
"It would be a clean canvas, and we could turn this space into a complete community centre. People could bring their laptops to work, kind of like an Internet cafe,” Merton said.
He is even thinking on the tech side of things and thinks that having a bus app or website with a bus schedule and ticket sales for the Ontario Northland bus would be benefical for business as well.