(Written September 22, 2018 – by L. Lorraine Payette)
The room was buzzing with joy as big river technologies Inc. showed off its new location at 60 Mill Street in Gananoque on September 20. At the event were many members of Gananoque’s business community as well as several dignitaries, all happy to congratulate the company on its achievements and what it hopes to do for Gananoque and the entire area.
“In 2016 big river technologies was searching for residence in Eastern Ontario to deliver boutique software solutions to an international client base especially big players in the capital markets industry,” said Kade Medd, marketing co-ordinator for big river in a prepared release.
CEO John Free decided to bring his business to Gananoque on the shore of the St. Lawrence River. He was impressed by how easy it was to work with the local government to establish and grow a business within its borders.
“Local organizations like KEYS Job Centre and people like Shelley Hirstwood, Economic Development Manager for the Corporation of the Town of Gananoque, work in tandem to attract businesses here and streamline processes,” said Medd.
The event was held at the Mill Street location developed by Riverstone. They decided to go with a theme of “casual elegance”, employing locally produced “cottage style”hors d’oeuvres, Muskoka chairs, and champagne for guests to enjoy while listening and dancing to the strains of rock and blues band River City Junction.
“I think the area can really thrive and prosper, and like all small towns in Eastern Ontario, you can’t change the past,” said Joe Pal, real estate developer. “We have to move forward and start thinking about what opportunities exist and not lament what we have lost, and Gananoque has the benefit of being in the centre of one of the most beautiful boating areas in the world. No other town can replicate that. We just have to let people realize what we have here. The whole purpose of us doing big river and developing is to create jobs and regular employment for the area. There’s lots of talent here and people are wanting to leave the big cities and relocate where they can have a better lifestyle. There’s a rich opportunity here that’s still undiscovered. We’re quite optimistic about the future, and we’re proud to be part of it.”
Dignitaries in attendance included MPP Steve Clark Leeds-Grenville, Gananoque Mayor Erika Demchuk, big river CEO John Free, and representatives from Riverstone.
“We hope to give back to Gananoque as much as the town as given to us,” said Free.
“big river technologies inc., was founded by seasoned industry veterans with over 100 combined years of experience in capital markets technology and delivery excellence,”said Medd. “Our leadership team created big river to be the boutique client-centric firm they always wanted to work for, truly focused on client success and valued business outcomes. We tackle today’s toughest enterprise challenges by crafting elegantly designed technology solutions that deliver measurable business value. We are battle hardened developers passionate about what we do. We are your trusted software development partner.”
“big river technologies is a huge success story for Gananoque,” said Shelley Hirstwood, Economic Development Manager for Gananoque. “It plays into the fact that business diversification is key, and the whole tech sector is the number one priority for us. So when we look at the tech sector, we’re looking at market growth, business diversification, skilled jobs and youth retention opportunities. This has exploded from two people to 50 people in a matter of only two years. That’s a great number for Gananoque, and we’re in this fabulous new renovated space by Riverstone development. It just shows Gananoque is on the move. We’re progressive and we’re aggressively going after opportunities in the tech sector.”
People mixed and mingled throughout the evening, enjoying not only the food and drink but also the ambiance created in the newly renovated space. But big river is not the only project on the plate for Gananoque.
“We’re building 100 condominiums, multiple buildings – taking the old industrial dilapidated buildings and converting them so they’ll have different uses,” said Daniel Greenglass, one of the Riverstone developers. “We’re doing numerous projects throughout town, building new slips, renovating – trying to redo the lower part of Gananoque. We want to improve Gananoque. For decades this part of Gananoque has been abandoned and dilapidated, and we think it needs to be revitalized. It’s sympathetic development. You’re not really building any high rises, just two and three story townhouses – and it’s affordable. We’re doing this to help Gananoque by bringing people in to invest, to live and shop and spend their lives and money here. The whole spin-off is to help the Town.”
“Our business-driven development methodology underpins our three practices: FinTech, User Experience Discovery, and Enterprise Computing. Our work spans end-to-end solution ideation, architecture, design, software development, quality assurance and overall delivery,” said Medd. “We collaborate with you to identify opportunities that will enable your business, help you build the roadmap to your future operating model, and empower you to go where you have never been able to go before. We are your trusted software development partner.”