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2021 Star Woman in Convenience winner: Laurie Ure

Owner-operator, Ure’s Country Kitchen

When customers walk into Ure’s Country Kitchen in Harrow, Ont., they often greet Randy Ure with a friendly, “Hey boss.”  In what’s become standard patter, he’ll indicate they have the wrong Ure and point to his wife, Laurie. The duo opened the convenience and gas bar in 1988 and have since expanded to include an ice cream parlour, restaurant and, in June 2020, a mini-golf course. As for boss status, Laurie Ure says their strengths are complimentary. “I am not the creative force, but I am the organizational person and I keep everyone on track—bookkeeping and ordering stock. We have a sharp pencil: It’s important to know how much everything costs.”

That diligence and attention to detail pay off. Despite “being in the middle of nowhere,” the business delivers consistent sales of more than $1 million annually. After much planning, Ure’s invested about $1 million in the mini golf, which is expected to pay for itself in just a few years and is boosting sales across the business. “Taking it from an idea to actually seeing it was huge and a great learning process,” says Ure, adding she is proud of the business’ role in the community and a recent nomination for best family attraction in the Best of Windsor Essex Awards. “It’s not the work, it’s the people.”

As a nimble independent, the business is constantly experimenting with new products, planograms and, most recently, social media. Ure’s philosophy, which she emphasizes with staff, as well as her three grown children, who worked with her and Randy during high school and university: “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, if you don’t try, you’ll never know. You will always learn from it.”

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