PALMERSTON - For months residents have been talking about the buildings at 212 Main St. and 255 Norman St. in Palmerston, and the obvious work that has been done to them.
What has been known during that time is that work, and plenty of it, has been done both to the interior and exterior of the buildings. But what has not been talked about publicly is what the owner intends to do with the buildings.
Gurmit Singh, owner of the 212 Main St. and 255 Norman St. properties, and his company are responsible for revitalizing the once deteriorating structures, and on July 23 he addressed a gathering of 20 or so residents to discuss why he purchased the buildings and invested so much in them.
"I'm a passionate man. I want to help people. I'm a small town boy, now a man, and I love small towns. I want to grow them, want to help them," he said. "We are passionate to bring success to these small towns and make a difference."
Singh owns 75 properties across 18 towns in Ontario. What makes Singh's company different from others is that not only are they the landlord, they are also investors in the businesses.
"I believe there are a lot of entrepreneurs here, and that they just need a helping hand to get started," he said. "They may not have enough finances. When they go to the bank and they want 30, 40 per cent down, they may not have that money. We are willing to provide that."
Singh said that the reason for investing in local entrepreneurs is simple: if they are successful, he is successful.
"It's mutually beneficial," he said. "I don't do anything unless it is a win-win for everybody. If they succeed, our building will succeed, and our community will succeed. That's our goal, to help these local communities grow, and to give entrepreneurs a little bit of a push financially."
Singh said that dealing with the Town of Minto has "been a blessing" for him, and that not many townships are as open to doing business as Minto is.
"This town has really been a blessing for me," said Singh. "Very simply, they're lovely people. They've been so open in discussing without causing any unnecessary red tape. I operate in almost 25 cities... and not every township is that open. I love this place, and I'm here to contribute in my little way, however I can."
Singh said that some of the business ventures he is hoping to open on Main St. are a sports bar, a dollar store, and an ice cream/café. For the Norman St. property, there has been discussion of a laundromat and a fitness centre.
He said these businesses are selected after discussing with Town of Minto staff, consultants, and surveys on what types of businesses could be sustainable in a town the size of Palmerston.
"These will all be unique, high quality places," he said. "We want them to be different so that people not only from Palmerston, but other cities want to come here. We want them to be an attraction."
The hope is that these businesses will create jobs for local workers, and that these businesses will be owned by local entrepreneurs.
"I want somebody local to run it… If they have limited finances, we are willing to fund the balance," said Singh.
In the near future Singh will be looking for local entrepreneurs interested in partnering on these potential businesses. Those interested can email resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.