Articles Meet

Featurepreneur: A Wholesum Start to the Year

Genevieve Allen Hearn

*Krista and Rachael are childhood best friends turned business partners. They co-own and operate Wholesum Refillery, a low-waste retail shop in downtown Kentville that opened in November. Even though it has only been open a short time, Wholesum Refillery tied for second place in *The Grapevine’s Best of the Bunch “Best New Business of 2021” category.

The Grapevine (GV): Tell us a bit about Wholesum Refillery’s origin story.
Krista & Rachael (K&R): Rachael left her job of twenty years to move her family to a new life here in Kentville and the timing just made sense. We knew we wanted to start a business together and the idea of a refillery was so appealing to us. We are always working towards being more eco-conscious in our daily lives and the concept of a low-waste venture was the perfect fit for us. It is something that we are passionate about and once we did some research, we realized that many others are too. It was a business that we could build together wholeheartedly. So, we put our heads down, did more research, and applied for a start-up loan through the Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC). The day our funding was approved was just so amazing! Rachael runs the shop day-to-day, while Krista keeps a day job and works behind the scenes and is in the shop on weekends.

GV: What is a low-waste store? What sort of products do you carry?
K&R: The concept of low-waste shopping is quite simple: buy only what you need. For instance, every time you purchase a jug of laundry soap, you keep the container and simply refill it instead of purchasing a new one every time you run out. Our shop is focussed on reducing single-use packaging and plastics and we do this by offering bulk and reusable goods, as well as products with little to no packaging or packaging that is biodegradable or reusable.
We currently carry over 35 bulk products, including laundry soap, dish soap, household cleaners, shampoo, body wash, lotion and even muscle rub! We also offer things like plastic free makeup, deodorant, and dental care products. Our products are sourced from Canadian companies and we try to stick as close to home as possible within our supply chain.

GV: If people are new to the concept of tare shops or refillery markets, what do they need to know? What are a few small changes people can make immediately?
K&R: The idea is to start where you are and within your means. To get started, you can make a habit of cleaning out old containers and instead of putting them in the recycle bin, set them aside to bring into the shop for refilling. Anything works! Mason jars, old laundry jugs, empty shampoo bottles – as long as it’s clean it will work! We also offer various containers in the shop for purchase. Start with small, manageable changes that suit you and your lifestyle. Remember, this isn’t about perfection, it’s about starting small and working your way up.

One of our favourite quotes is: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” (Anne Marie Bonneau).

GV: Incorporating low-waste principles when making purchases seems to be something that is growing in popularity. Where do you see this buying philosophy going?
K&R: We realized when doing our research for our business plan that many other countries have already adopted these principles. In some supermarkets in Europe they have implemented refill stations for common items like liquid soap and dry goods. People want to reduce their ecological impact. Seventy-five percent of respondents who participated in a 2019 study in Quebec stated that they are taking action to reduce food loss and waste. Going low-waste isn’t the most convenient route for many people, since it involves some planning and dedication. We see this philosophy evolving to become more convenient as we are all leading busy lives. For Wholesum, we want to make low-waste easy for people. We plan on offering local deliveries in the future and options for busy folks like dropping your jugs off in the morning and picking them up on your way home, and curbside pickups will be coming in 2022!

GV: The two of you started as friends, and then built a business. Any advice on how to manage friendships when working together?
K&R: Be open and honest with each other. We have been friends for 30 years, so we know each other pretty well, but this is all new to us! We try to keep an open mind and be supportive of each other. We lean on each other’s strengths and complement each other’s weaknesses. This is our dream that we built together and we are so proud of each other on this journey. We know that mistakes are going to happen, but such is life. It is how we learn from the mistakes and grow from them that will define our success. We also remember to laugh and have fun along the way: midday dance parties are highly recommended!

Wholesum Refillery is located at 19 Aberdeen Street in Kentville. To learn more, visit their Facebook page at @wholesumrefilleryshoppe.


New Outdoor Rink at Benjamin Bridge

Benjamin Bridge winery is offering a new winter experience for their guests: a one- hour skate on their new outdoor rink, where you can also enjoy a glass of wine or a warm non-alcoholic beverage by the cozy fire pit or in one of their indoor spaces.

This outdoor activity provides a fun and welcoming space for you and a friend or the whole family or a small bubble to enjoy.

All guests wear a CSA-approved helmet while on the ice and follow the posted rink rules!

Keep a close eye on their social media for daily rink updates as bookings are weather-dependent. While walk-ins are welcome, it is strongly encourage you to book ahead to ensure you get ice time.

Book via their website at the bottom of the experience page or visit:


Who’s Who: Brittany Chapman

Mike Butler

Welcome everyone to the first Who’s Who of 2022! After a tumultuous year (again) and a bit of a wonky holiday season, I felt it necessary to start off the year with one of the most pleasant little rays of sunshine I know. This wonderful mound of wonderfulness has become a familiar face to live theatre-goers and local musicians. Let me introduce you to Brittany Chapman.

Brittany Chapman was once a Keddy, but this past fall she got hitched to a fine local named Ross Chapman, decided to take the name and here we are. This is not only a profile of the former Keddy, but an introduction to the new Chapman. Please try to keep up. Brittany is from Blue Mountain, where most of her family still lives, but she’s spent the majority of her life growing up in Coldbrook (she still has the Blue Mountain accent though!). She attended Central Kings (Class of 2014!) and then moved to Moncton to take a policing and corrections course at Oulton College. She wanted to be a Sheriff but she injured herself so she decided to move back home and attend NSCC to take office administration. She went back a final time to take the Continuing Care Assistant course and now Brittany is the school secretary at Aldershot Elementary, in North Kentville. Secretary of an elementary school is pretty much like a Sheriff so congrats on the goals Britt!

“I love getting to talk to all of our students and getting to know their families,” Brittany enthuses. “My colleagues are also all wonderful people to work with. It’s such a healthy environment at Aldershot, our hidden gem of the Valley! It’s never a chore to get up and head to work, even with the strange pivoting of the past two years. We all work together for fun and safety!”

Now to the fun stuff: the hobbies! I first met Brittany through theatre. She was easily my favourite theatre groupie, always at a show with her camera for a selfie, and always so supportive. I saw Brittany as Alice in Alice in Wonderland while she was at Central Kings and she was a darling—and this girl can sing! Eventually Brittany, like most of us, got asked to be part of the Valley Ghost Walks,, and for the past 9 years Brittany has haunted the rail lines as the DAR Girl in Kentville. It was during her stint as a ghostly gal that she met Valley Ghost Walk superstar Ross Chapman and if you read the opening paragraph (it was a good one) then you know how that meeting ended.

Brittany and Ross have been dabbling in theatre stuff for the past while but 2022 is opening up with a bang as Brittany takes the helm as producer for CentreStage Theatre’s Don’t Dress for Dinner, the 2022 season opener starring Ross in one of the lead roles. Both Ross and Brittany became CentreStage Board Members in 2021 and this dynamic duo is sure to assist in many ways to reboot the theatre after a few pandemic years. We love the energy they bring! Don’t Dress for Dinner is tentatively running in late January through February at CentreStage Theatre so peek at the website and come have a laugh or twenty!

A few years ago, Brittany branched out to film by becoming very involved in the Nova Scotia film industry as a background actor and that’s what she spends most of her summers doing, with a goal to become part of ACTRA. Her background work can be found on shows like Pure, Mr. D, Diggstown, The Sinner and The Good House.

No matter how many ambitions Brittany has for the small screen, this Valley girl is home to stay with friends and family nearby. It’s no secret that her mother would seriously lose it if Brittany ever moved away. I’ve seen her mom in action and she’s fierce. I was appointed the very proud (and flexible) flowerboy at Brittany and Ross’ wedding and although my performance was clearly the highlight of the day for most, Brittany looked incredible and her family was more than welcoming to all of us. I was even allowed to act as moderate decorator and egg-salad-sandwich-maker for the reception: they clearly know my strengths!

As Brittany notes, “the Valley is such a beautiful agricultural and historical area, full of some of the most wonderful people you will ever meet. I love that it feels like such a welcoming environment, you can never go somewhere and not see somebody that you know. Our area is definitely not lacking in talent, and that shines through especially in the Wolfville area. Ross and I chose to live in Port Williams because it is such a beautiful go-between for Wolfville, New Minas, Kentville, Canning, and beyond. We get the best views and we’re only a short drive to everything we need!”

So what does 2022 look like for Brittany Chapman? Well, she plans to chill out until Covid passes a bit. Being in the school system has made her more aware that the bubbles can be big and we have to take care of the youngsters. She would love to do more theatre and film once things get a bit safer and more of that industry opens up with background work, and there’s always her dog, her family, and her friends to keep her busy. Trust me, in the valley, it doesn’t take long before opportunity comes knocking and you’re busy again. Brittany has always been a terrific person to call on when needed. She’s always a smiling, bounding force of sarcasm and joy and I am one proud friend. All the best to one of my favourite ghosts! Muah!


January’s Hidden Gems

Margot Bishop

With the holiday season neatly over and the first weeks of winter under our belts, try for some hidden gems that are truly just for yourself. Not being selfish in a bad way but taking time for self. There is an old expression: every day, in every way, I am getting better and better. Try for those things that make you feel better about yourself. Do not try for big or impossible or impractical things. These types of goals seldom work and are often very discouraging when they fail, as they often do, through no fault of the person. That is why I never make New Year’s resolutions. I prefer the power of positive thinking. It is a lot more fun and encouraging and gives a great sense of self worth. A much better way to start a new year.

What things could be our hidden gems? What would we like to do for ourselves? Baby steps are better when trying something new. Start small, and if you really like the activity, then you can make bigger advances. Deciding something is not as interesting as it was when you started is easier to stop if you do not have a lot of effort put into it, and there is no shame in stopping something if you want to. After all, this is something for your self.

What to do? How about going for a walk? With the mild weather and no ice under foot, going for a walk around the block has been easier than in most Januarys. If there is a January thaw, it will pass, so take advantage of the weather while it lasts. If you do not like to walk alone, find a neighbour with a dog and offer to walk with them. Very quickly it will become a habit and something to look forward to.

Bird watching is a great pastime. Either Miners’ Marsh in Kentville or the Guzzle near Evangeline Beach are wonderful ‘birding’ spots. There are good field guides at the library, or use the internet to look up and identify the specimens that you see. It is a hobby that you can either do alone or with people in your bubble. With the good photos that can be taken with cell phones, you can capture your observations and then share and compare them with others. Just think, you might be the first person to observe a rare (or seldom seen in our area) species. How cool would that be?

Maybe learn a new skill. Knitting or crocheting or simple sewing projects are all fun ways to challenge yourself and add another accomplishment to your list of positives. Learn from a patient baker or cook, one or two simple-to-make but wonderful-to-eat dishes. Then wow your family and friends.

What about trying a new language? Not conversational or perfect grammar, but just a few words and phrases. It is fun and gets the brain working in a different way. It will help with memory retention also. Surprise and interest your family when you ask them for a cup of tea in Gaelic. My ancestors are Irish, French, and Flemish, maybe that is a good place to start? Or get a pen pal—what we used to call a person living in another country that we started a letter-writing relationship with. Now with so many nationalities living in the Valley, we have a perfect opportunity to get to know people from other cultures, but with the restrictions on meetings, maybe you will have to resort to the internet. Newcomers’ clubs are fun, but also are suspended from meeting just now. Check things out in your area.

You could start some seeds indoors. Many herbs are easy to grow in little pots on your windowsill. You could use a grow light and be as fancy as you want to be or just use a wide mouth jar and some cheesecloth and grow mung beans for your stir fry. Anything goes. If you cannot visit with fellow gardeners in person just now, visit on the phone or social media. All positive contacts with friends and family can and should be extended to those people that you do not see on a regular basis, but probably would love to hear from you.

There are computer tutorials and board game nights at most libraries. Check with your local library to find out about and register for some free classes or activities. There is even a recording studio upstairs at the Wolfville library. Board game nights are fun with the family as well or movies or card games.

All of this can help with early evenings and a sense of winter blues. I have also tried the only stand-up tanning booth in the Valley at The Golden Tan in New Minas. It is only $1/minute. Remember every day, each day is actually getting longer with more and more daylight. Spring is less than three months from now, less than 11 weeks, but there are things you can do this winter season, with help from your community’s recreation department. They lend equipment. Just call and find out what is available, and go from there. Yoga is good for you and fun. There are classes locally and it is also on TV. I have friends in the construction business, and also a couple of retired police officers, who say that they start their days with yoga. The regime has now become a way of life for them.

Remember to be pleasant during these trying times. A smile and a kind word will go a long way to cheer not only yourself but another person. St. Teresa (our lady of flowers), believed that it was the little things that mattered.

Sometimes the best things that we can do for ourselves are very simple but hard to do in our busy lives. Take time for yourself, read a book, have a nice soak in a bubble bath, have a nap, go for a walk, or sit back and do absolutely nothing at all. Positive thinking for your ‘self’. Another old expression comes from Shakespeare: to thine own self be true.

Please stay safe, wear your masks, sanitize your hands, and think good thoughts. We will get through this together. Positively.


Voles, Not Moles: New Book By Soren Bondrup-Nielsen

In this book wildlife biologist and ecologist Soren Bondrup-Nielsen reflects on his career as a scientist and on how his experiences as a researcher cultivated a deep sense of connection with nature. Bondrup-Nielsen’s love of the outdoors and adventure drew him to the fieldwork aspects of biological research, taking him to Northern Ontario in pursuit of the elusive boreal owl, to the Lake Superior region to survey birds for a year in what would become Pukaskwa National Park, and to Northern Alberta to study voles (not moles). His research collaborations would later take him to such places as Norway, Finland, Poland, and Russia, where he was always as interested in the people and the culture as he was in his actual study subject.

While structured as a memoir, this book is at heart a meditation on the role of science in society, contemplating issues such as human evolution, the nature of science, human population size, forestry practices, the role of wilderness preserves, the concept of biodiversity, climate change, and the importance of solitude. Like all good teachers, Bondrup-Nielsen is part curious observer and part storyteller, weaving a lesson into his intriguing narrative.

Soren Bondrup-Nielsen will have copies of his new book, Voles, Not Moles, available for sale at Benjamin Bridge Winery on December 4, and ArtCan on December 11 in the afternoon. The book will also be available at the Wolfville Farmers Market Store, and at The Odd Book in Wolfville.

For more about Soren Bondrup-Nielsen and his books, visit


Christmas Church Listing

As we all know, 2021 has been a very different year, and so our Christmas Services listing continues to be a bit different. With changing guidelines, it’s best to keep an eye on the news and inquire directly with your faith organization of choice to see what they have planned this year. However you celebrate, The Grapevine wishes you all the best of the season.

Canard Community Church, 1315 Highway 341 (Upper Canard)

Kentville United Baptist Church, 503 Main Street, Kentville

Holy Trinity Anglican, 45 Main St, Middleton

Orchard Valley United Church,130 Cornwallis Ave, New Minas

New Hope Wesleyan Church, 7054 Highway 12, Kentville

Hope Centre Family Centre, 9593 Commercial Street, New Minas
(902) 681-4673

All Saints Anglican, 521 Pleasant St, Kingston
(902) 825-2326

Covenanter Church, 1989 Grand Pré Rd, Grand Pré

St. John’s Anglican Church,164 Main Street, Wolfville

Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 118 Main St, Wolfville

Catholic Church of St. John the Evangelist, 339 King St, Windsor
(902) 798-2341

St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 48 Belcher Street, Kentville

Wolfville Ridge United Baptist Church, 1366 Ridge Road, Wolfville
(902) 542-3419

Kings Presbyterian Church, 5563 Prospect Road, New Minas

Wolfville Baptist Church, 487 Main Street, Wolfville

St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 48 Belcher Street, Kentville
(902) 678-3303


The Grapevine’s Season of Giving Food Bank Listing

Please Give Generously

It’s important to remember that it’s not only during the holiday season that local food banks need help from Valley communities. If you’re able to help, or interested in adding a local food bank to your plan for charitable donations in 2022, here is a little info to help you on that path. This is by no means a comprehensive list.


NSCC Annapolis Valley Campus (students only)
295 Commercial St.
Middleton, NS
B0S 1M0

Twelve Baskets Food Bank
9326 Highway 10 RR 3
Middleton, NS
B0S 1P0


Upper Room Food Bank
699 Main St.
Kingston, NS
B0P 1R0


Berwick Food Bank
100 South St., Unit 22B
Berwick, NS
B0P 1E0


Fundy Interchurch Food Bank
50 Belcher St.
Kentville, NS
B4N 2B5


Canning Area Food Bank
1000 Seminary Ave
Canning, NS
B0P 1H0


Wolfville Area Food Bank
487 Main St.
Wolfville, NS
B4P 1E3


Hantsport & Area Community Food Bank
3 Oak St.
Hantsport, NS
B0P 1P0


Harvest House Community Outreach Meal Program Drop-In
95 Stannus St.
Windsor, NS
B0N 2T0

Windsor & District Food Bank
10 Sanford Dr.
Windsor, NS
B0N 1H0


Margot’s Hidden Gems: More Gift Ideas

Margot Bishop

Gifts do not have to be traditional items, packaged or wrapped, tied up with ribbon and bows. They may be donations given in a person’s name, like a bench in a park or on one of the Town’s green spaces, or give a cash voucher to your local food bank or shelter. Buy an acre of the rainforest or save a whale (our North Atlantic right whales are in danger). Adopt a mile of highway and then organize a party to clean up the litter. You can do this in your town, too, block by block (kids like this activity.) Check with your town office or service group. Volunteering with a local service group is also an activity that you can share with a person, that can be a two-fold gift. The service group receives your help, and the gift receiver gets a sense of wellness that accompanies such a kind act. Breakfasts and other meals that service groups provide can always use extra hands on deck.

What about re-gifting things? Some people do not like this process, but others do. Know your gift receiver and consider this. After all that is basically what we do when we go to second hand stores, isn’t it? And with re-gifting, money does not have to change hands. Listen to people. Did you hear that a friend needs a winter coat but can not afford one? And do you have a lovely coat in your closet that you do not need and do not wear? Why not gift that wonderful coat to your friend? Also do you have some family heirlooms or keepsakes that would be appreciated by another family member? Offer something to them and give them a written or verbal account of the item and who it belonged to. A story about the person and item will make the gift even more memorable and precious.

As I have said before, vouchers are a great gift. What about paying a part or the whole of a sport fee: curling, golf, gym time, or anything that delights your friend. I often get these things from my family at special times. In a nice card, they are a lovely gift to open. Gift certificates for a class or activity like painting, rug hooking or pottery—anything that interests a person is a thoughtful and fun gift.

Put some consideration into your gift choices. Respect the person’s abilities or disabilities. Maybe hand ball or squash lessons are not appropriate for someone with arthritis or missing a digit. But if your friend or family member loves to dance and listen to music, maybe some dance lessons would be fun. All types of dance groups are around, including contra, Scottish, Irish, and couples lessons. Check it out and find out what is near you.

How does your friend heat their home? How about paying for a cord of wood, or any part thereof, or helping with an oil delivery or electric bill. These are wonderful gestures and so appreciated. Again these things do cost money. If cash is tight, volunteer at an activity that your friend enjoys, like bingo or a card party. There are also chess and board game nights at most libraries.

Remember how ‘gift’ can be spelled:

G: genial or genuine
I: intriguing or involving
F: forever or festive
T: time or tactful

Please stay safe this blessed holiday season.


Books By Locals: Dave Whitman Profiles Women in Sport in Nova Scotia

Wendy Elliott

Dave Whitman of Paradise has a new book out which is a collection of stories and interviews about female athletes of Nova Scotia, past and present. Many of the women that he profiles have impacted the sport world at the provincial, national, and international level. As Olympic paddler Karen Furneaux says at the outset of the book, there is no greater time than the present for a book devoted to powerful women in sport in Nova Scotia.

Whitman maintains there are some amazing ‘firsts’ that very few people know about, such as the first woman to qualify for the 1928 Olympics, the first Nova Scotian (and Canadian) to play professional baseball, and the first female coach and athletic director at Saint Mary’s University.

Many of us have heard of 1930s runner Aileen Meagher, stellar gymnast Ellie Black, and notable swimmer Nancy Garapick. Whitman sets out their achievements, but he also details the careers of local wrestler Makayla Levy and hockey player Melanie Long.

I remember Edna Duncanson as advanced in year, but she was the only Nova Scotia female to play professional baseball. Mrs. Duncanson died in 2006, having lived in Gaspereau.

Annapolis County native Gertrude Phinney Beattie spent her later years in Wolfville. She was noted as a fine athlete in basketball, track, and tennis. Mrs. Beattie became a dietician and teacher.

Whitman loves basketball, so not surprisingly he details the 1928-29 women’s team at Acadia, and the Lawrencetown Lady Lancers of the 1970s.

Wendy Moore of Digby was a fine basketball player, but it was her love of golf that she passed on to her three daughters.

Susan Fraser started an equestrian centre near Canning in 1975. Between 1976 and 1985 she competed in every major dressage competition in Ontario and the central United States. Whitman also lists riders Vanessa Scalan from Port Williams and Ariel Boesner from Canning, who competed in dressage at a global event in Florida. He added Elizabeth Johnson from Port Williams to the book, as she judged both light and heavy horse events around the province.

Whitman devotes two pages to the late Dorothy Walker Robbins’ achievements. Speaking of her leadership qualities, he quoted Doug Oldford: “You might say she was the founding lady of physical education in Nova Scotia.”

Growing up in the Valley, Whitman graduated from Acadia University and taught in Halifax and Annapolis County. Now retired, Dave and his wife Paulette have started Bailey Chase Books. They have written seventeen books, together and separately, about varied aspects of local history. One recent book detailed the quest of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bent to bring home to Nova Scotia a war horse named Fritz, and the battalion mascot dog Bruno, after WW1 ended. A War Horse Comes to Nova Scotia was published in 2017. Their catalogue includes tales of the Lawrencetown & District Fire Department, the Annapolis Valley Exhibition, and Lost in the Woods: The Lure and History of Roxbury.

For more information about where to pick up his books contact Dave by email at or


Ways to Give This Season

Here are a few of The Grapevine’s favourite Valley charities and their humble requests for the season and for the year to come. Please give generously if you can:

Open Arms

In addition to our day-to-day work of creating a community space from which we support and advocate for people in crisis, each year we also serve about 30,000 meals and provide more than 3000 shelter stays.

This important work is made possible because of our many volunteers and donors. To learn more about partnering with Open Arms, please visit us or write:
To volunteer:
To give financially:

Chrysalis House Association

Most women and children arrive at our shelter with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.⁠

By donating gift cards you are empowering women to shop for diverse essential needs. This act of kindness helps women and children prepare for their next chapter with more confidence and ease.⁠

We are accepting donated gift cards from:⁠
Grocery stores⁠
Gas stations⁠
Clothing stores⁠

Gift cards can be mailed to:
PO Box 356 Kentville NS B4N 3X1
For questions or to make drop off arrangements, please call our support line:
(902) 679-1922

Your donation makes a BIG difference in our community!

The Portal

Gifts of Hope campaign is to support youth in the Annapolis Valley experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

We are looking for groups, businesses or community members to help ensure that every youth has a present to open Christmas morning.

Suggested gift items include:
Snacks (chips, chocolate, candy)
Hygiene items (body wash, shampoo, soap, razors)
Gift cards (fast food, Dollarama, Netflix)
Bluetooth earbuds
Card games and board games
Art supplies

We would ask that those supporting Gifts Of Hope would commit to a set number so that we can keep track of what is left to be covered. Alternatively, donations of bulk items or a cash donation towards gifts for our youth are always welcomed. All donations to be collected on or before Thursday, December 16.