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Cleaning business started with a plan

Cathy Dobson Chelsey Hart didn’t just write an adequate business plan. She mastered it.
Chelsey Hart, left, owner of Hart & Home Cleaning Service, is the first successful local applicant to get a $5,000 provincial grant through the new Starter Company program. Hart worked with Chantelle Core, right, of the Business Enterprise Centre, to write the business plan and apply. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Chelsey Hart didn’t just write an adequate business plan. She mastered it.

When the 25-year-old Point Edward resident decided to start her own small business she painstakingly researched the market and did an exhaustive market survey to see if her cleaning service concept would fly.

The result? She’s had a successful first four months, hired two employees, and won a $5,000 grant from a new provincial program for entrepreneurs aged 18 to 29.

“Chelsey is constantly proving to us that her business will be successful,” says Chantelle Core, of the Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) of Sarnia-Lambton.

Core helped Hart submit her business plan and application to the new Ontario Starter Company program.

“Chelsey is our first $5,000 recipient in Sarnia-Lambton,” Core said. “She is proving her business is viable and demonstrating she has the skillset to manage it.”

The Starter Company program was introduced by the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure this year to provide mentoring and money.

“I’m going to use the $5,000 to help pay insurance costs and to do more marketing,” Hart said. Her new company, Hart & Home Cleaning Service, is finding its niche with “detailed” cleaning.

“We clean every surface in the home rather than just give a general clean,” said Hart. “Our clients want us to do the things they don’t get to.”

Hart & Home costs $30 per hour per cleaner and provides all its own cleaning solutions and equipment.

Hart’s background isn’t in business, which meant she relied heavily on the BEC’s free help.

“I have a degree in community development and worked for the Red Cross. I needed advice before going into business,” said Hart. “I could not have done it without the centre.”

Applicants for the Starter Company program must work with a Business Enterprise Centre. For more details, contact Core at 519-332-2504.


As many as 25,000 used books line the shelves at the new and improved Stardust Book Lounge in downtown Sarnia.

Owner Anne Marie Caron bought the business a year ago and moved it down the road to 176 Christina St. in September.

“We needed more space. There were so many books in the basement of the old store,” she says.

Now they are out for sale and there’s space to display rare and first print books in glass cases.

Caron, who is also a Sears’ part-time travel agent, says store traffic slumped a bit just after the move and is only just starting to pick up.

“A lot of people were unsure of where I am. But it’s getting better. The new space is three times what we had and I’ve got all these custom built book shelves.”

On Nov. 7, when downtown holds its next First Friday cultural walkabout, Caron will celebrate one year in the used book biz.

Stardust Book Lounge is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Saturdays 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Oct 21: Kick-off breakfast featuring Rob Dawson, followed by Funders Forum – 7:30 a.m. start at Best Western Guildwood Inn – $20

Oct. 22: Chamber Showcase Sidewalk Sale – 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at DeGroot's Nurseries – Free.

Oct. 23: Entrepreneurs – Linking the Generations – 8 a.m. to noon at the Lambton College Residence and Event Centre – $30

Oct. 24: Women's Forum Luncheon featuring Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk – 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Lambton College Residence and Event Centre - $45

Oct. 30: Keynote Luncheon with 'Hurricane' Hazel McCallion – 11:30 a.m. at the Dante Club - $50.


Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.

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