St. Stephen Core Changes

By Rob Patry


There is a palpable sense of growth in St. Stephen. It cannot be denied. The five R’s are at play. Remodel, Reinvigorate, Rehabilitate, Renovate, Redefine. New businesses, shops and restaurants have opened. Infrastructure, which has been ignored for decades, is now being repaired, addressed, or replaced, and visionaries are at the helm of the ship. Future St. Stephen, a local resident based think-tank is spearheading its big picture perspective.  

Growth is a difficult concept to grasp or control, but when it begins, it develops quickly and with tremendous momentum. It flourishes in an air of positivity and replicates itself like DNA, and exponentially. St. Stephen offers value to anyone seeking to work or live here. It provides a wholesome place to retire and to bring up children with ever-growing amenities within a natural green space that is second to none. Charlotte and Washington Counties represent a unique model rarely seen anywhere in the world. Two tightly knit communities sharing a long history separated by an international border. It is the strength and perseverance of these two peoples that propel them to achieve more.

Dallas and Melanie Read moved to St. Stephen to share in its renewed development. The couple and their two young children have come from Halifax, Nova Scotia. They have made St. Stephen their permanent home, to invest in the downtown core, and to migrate their current businesses to the area. They are currently renovating an eleven unit building into high-end apartments for a rapidly growing community. According to Melanie Read: “It was perfect timing for us. We are both self-employed entrepreneurs and have two young children who are not yet in school. The transition to be closer to my family seemed natural and our flexible schedules allowed us to seek change for our family in a positive way. I've closely followed the developments of the town since I moved away in 2007, and I have other family members who have recently started investing in similar opportunities here. We were seeking a new project, and became excited at the opportunities in St. Stephen. We are so thrilled to be a part of the growth.”

One of the reasons given for leaving the Maritimes is lack of jobs or an uncertain future. The reason for coming to this area is actually the same thought process. Where there is a void, there becomes an opportunity. Small business owners, franchisees, entrepreneurs, and a new generation of global Internet workers are finding solace in the Maritimes and new opportunities. Dallas runs a web development firm. Melanie owns a successful business making custom wool slippers. She currently sells her product locally but also nationally to retailers across Canada. “With the Garcelon Civic Centre around the corner, the new restaurants opened and soon to be opening, the revitalization is apparent. Investing in St. Stephen is a smart move. We are thrilled with the support and the welcome that we have been receiving thus far. We don't think of ourselves moving here as big news, just people coming home with the ability to try and make a difference in our little chocolate town.” Success stories, even in their earliest developments, are important. St. Stephen and Calais need to see a clear vision and a clear path to a brighter future.