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Fear of a precarious tourist season didn’t stop some in The Third from starting businesses on Sydney’s waterfront.

The Third set to hear from a few new businesses trying to make it in an industry that some are still calling to risky to enter.

Traci’s Rollin Yarn Shop bets on cruise ship traffic

Traci Stubbard, has owned Traci’s Rollin Yarn Shop for two years, but this is the first season that she parked her rollin’ shop on the waterfront.

She wanted to try out the new space and was interested to know if cruise ship passengers would appreciate quality, local, hand-dyed yarn steps from their ship.

“It’s going great,” Stubbard says of the season. “The cruise ship people are happy that there’s a yarn shop right on the dock. Business and sales have been great,” she told The Third with a proud smile.

When she started the business in June 2021, she wasn’t sure that a mobile yarn shop would catch on. Now she gets requests to visit communities who find a space for her and her shop to settle in once arriving.

Stubbard still rolls around the island - and the province. When the ships leave, she will get back to her regular six-week traveling yarn schedule. Until then, if there is a ship docked, you can find her and her yarn on the Waterfront.

Fresh Smoothies with freshly squeezed juice

Guntas Singh Brar and his brother Gunny Brar started Cape Breton Watersports a few years ago. This year, next to that shop, they started Juice in a Box.

Since arriving in the Third, the brothers have believed that it is a great place to live with plenty of opportunities for business and growth.

After arriving in the Third, the brothers started to miss the fresh juices from home, something they were used to enjoying regularly. They soon realized that the local options contained sugar and preservatives and didn’t have the flavour – or nutrition they were craving. Brar says some newcomers experience physical changes to their bodies shortly after they arrive. He thinks it’s because of dietary changes.

Just like the water sports business they started earlier, they saw a gap in the market, and they wanted to fill it – and their bellies with freshly squeezed juices. Soon they found a location and a cold press juicer and that was the beginning of Juice in a Box.

But then Thirders approached the window and asked for smoothies. South Asians are “hard core fans about their juice, but local like smoothies.”

Eventually, Juice in a Box figured out it needed to serve juice to satisfy its South Asian customers and smoothies to the locals. The store started with three smoothies, and now it is up to seven, some created by customers. And it recently partnered with DTN, a local resto and protein supplier, to supply all the protein ingredients that go in the smoothies.

“Even when the weather got bad, for Juice in a Box our sales went pretty good. We were never expecting such a response from locals,” he said. “We sell way more smoothies than juice to locals,” he said with a chuckle.

Juice in a Box is having such a great start to its first year that it plans to serve up smoothies and juices all year at its waterfront location.

Former local once again sailing Sydney Harbour and filling a gap with labour of love

The newest edition to the waterfront is Boat Works. Owner Andrew Prossin is no stranger to the water – or Sydney Harbour. He grew up in Westmount and spent his summers boating on the harbour. These days he is known as one of the owners of One Ocean Expeditions, an expedition company that takes passengers to some of the most remote places on earth.

It’s that connection to the water and understanding of the industry that brings Prossin back to the Third.

“I started Boat Works after years of bringing my ships in and out of Cape Breton and wondering why there isn’t a harbour tour business here,” said Prossin. “This is something that needed to be done. I have been around the cruise ship industry long enough to know that there often isn’t enough of a variety of things for the clients to do,”

Boat Works offers exhibition touring for a maximum of eight people on its 25-foot boats and has locations on the Sydney waterfront and in Baddeck at the Inverary Inn. The tours are led by guides who share their knowledge of local history as they explore.

The company has been open for less than two months but has long-term plans for the waterfront.

“We have a beautiful place here, but we need to up our game and produce a more high-quality visitor experience,” he said. “It’s about the overall experience. We feel that we are doing a service here by providing an activity on the harbour. We have a beautiful harbour but there is no activity on it.”

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