Summer 2023: How We Grow

Business Cares > Summer 2023

Huntsville is growing – there’s no doubt. But how we grow matters. We have multi-generational families who never leave and raise their own families here; young adults who come back to build businesses and raise families after completing their post-secondary education; and newcomers who bring new ideas and new entrepreneurial energy. In Huntsville, we have the perfect mix of all three groups, and each one supports your hospital through the Business Cares program. This summer’s edition of the Business Cares Interviews is all about growth.


Dr. Chris Pearce moved away to go to school, learn dentistry and returned to buy Muskoka Dental in 2013. His children were all born at Huntsville Hospital, and he laughs when he describes his work life here: “I have a five minute commute, looking at lakes and nature; who can match that?”

Paul Aben, of Aben Graphics on Hanes Road, never left. When Paul was six years old, his parents moved to Dwight in the 70s, started a small print shop in 1976 and raised their family above the shop. Paul now runs the family business at its current location just off Highway 11 at Muskoka Road 2. Says Paul: “What’s great about Huntsville is that you see people you know every day. We all have each other’s backs.”

Dr. Shervin Rowshani, owner of Dairy Lane Dental, knew little about Huntsville prior to his first visit and moving here in 2013. He fell in love with the geography and the people, bought his practice and never looked back. “Huntsville is sustainable thanks to the diversity of its economy,” says Shervin. “We’re so different than many small communities; we have light manufacturing, tourism, healthcare, entrepreneurs – everything needed to thrive.”

All three area business owners are supporters of Huntsville Hospital through the Business Cares program.

Future Growth

Paul Aben believes growth in Huntsville is inevitable, but it comes with a warning: “We have to keep attracting young people and families in addition to retirees,” says Paul. “To do that, as a community we have to address affordability, and that means supporting our young families and new business owners.”

Chris Pearce agrees: “ Even with the number of people who moved here just during COVID and with a forecast of more growth, we need more of everything: stores, services, restaurants. All of Muskoka is the same. And our hospitals are included in what we need more of.”

Dr. Rowshani believes there is a growth-related culture shift going on in town: “We’re changing, from long-term local only to a new mix of local and transplants like me together. This brings an appetite for change from both groups – but we also agree that change is good as long as we keep Huntsville’s small-town feel. That’s what keeps us here or brought us here – that is the challenge ahead of us.”

Growth and hospital

“Having a great local hospital right here sustains our growth and attractiveness,” says Shervin. “This is an international destination for tourism. Our hospital needs to reflect that. We are attracting both young families and an aging population. Our hospital has to serve both. As such, it is integral to the local economy, and it has to be sized-right and up to date.”

“Let’s face the simple facts,” says Dr. Pearce. “This community is thriving, in some ways because we have this hospital. As we grow, renewing both hospitals, here in Huntsville and down in South Muskoka is the only way to sustain healthcare as the entire region grows.”

“Great hospitals and great schools – those are number one and number two on any young family’s wish list,” says Paul Aben. “We have both. That supports a thriving community. It means you can grow your family here as the region grows too.”

Why hospital support matters

“My parents were active supporters of the hospital for years,” says Paul Aben. “It was the right thing to do for them, and I’m continuing it. Business Cares donations are good investment. It’s a good karma thing to do. What goes around comes around in a small town like Huntsville.”

Chris Pearce has signed on for a second five years of Business Cares: “I want to do my part to keep this hospital close. My entire family was born there. My 5-year Business Cares commitment is my contribution to what this community needs now and for the future. I re-signed for a second term because it is so important to the region where my patients live and play.”

Shervin Rowshani concurs: “I’m in healthcare. As such, it is part of my obligation to give back to healthcare in general. Business Cares sets an example of continuous support. Our contributions are part of a formal process; a commitment that sends a message to our clients.”

Inspiring other business owners

“What would I say to new business owners coming into town,” asks Chris Pearce? “First off, you’ll be happy here. And from there, I’d say using your business success here to support the hospital here helps us acquire the new technology and equipment that is essential. It makes everything simpler and less stressful because it’s here, right in town. That’s why you sign up for Business Cares.”

Paul Aben puts it simply: “Show your customers and your staff that you care about the community you live in. Giving to the local hospital does exactly that.”

And Shervin concludes: “The pandemic proved the hospital’s value in very real terms. I guess my question to business owners becomes why aren’t you supporting it now?”

Preparing for future growth

Dr, Shervin Rowshani believes “we should be very proud in what we have accomplished in the new hospital process so far, and in the trust the provincial government has placed in this community to do it right. When we see the numbers and the vision, it will further prove the promise of this community. We’ll all be able to make an investment that will have a clear ROI.”

The timing couldn’t be better according to Dr. Chris Pearce: “You can tell our current hospital was built in the 80s. A facelift and more is overdue. Redevelopment will provide more access to care as we grow and that is a very good reason for supporting it.”

Paul Aben has been around longest and knows the history of the hospital better than most: “Having two ‘new’ hospitals will help us handle whatever comes next. That’s the very best conversation to be having right now. It feels good to be a small part of that.”

Help your hospital grow by joining Business Cares today!

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