By Stephen Petrick
For Deborah Lyons and Yuki Renel, the time was right for a change.
Minden’s downtown speciality food store, previously run by Lyons as Organic Times, has relaunched under the ownership of Renel as Rising Thymes.
It’s an emotional transition for Lyons, given her long history as a proud Minden businesswoman, but one she feels good about.
Renel was previously one of her employees. She’s also an organic farmer, who works under the business name of Rising Sun Gardens. With Renel’s strong knowledge of and passion for organic foods, Lyons believes – and hopes – the store will maintain the loyal customer base that supported her for her nearly 20 years as owner of Organic Times.
“She will add to it and enhance it,” Lyons said, confidently.
Lyons has a new store to focus on now, the similarly named Organic Times Emporium at 175 Industrial Park Rd. in the village of Haliburton.
Renel opened Rising Tymes, at the previous Organic Times location, at 124 Bobcaygeon Rd., on Feb. 15. The opening of the store is, for her, the next chapter in a great journey as an entrepreneur.
“Upon her arrival in Minden in late March 2007, Yuki Renel went for a walk on Bobcaygeon Road and stumbled upon Deborah’s store at the time,” said Renel’s husband, Sebastian Renel in a written story shared to the newspaper. “She was welcomed with sincere kindness and curiosity that made a long-lasting impression on Yuki. The friendship that ensued was nurtured in many ways by Deborah’s generosity and caring personality.”
“Recently, in 2020, an opportunity had come up for Yuki to work at Organic Times. After some thought she decided to take the offer and by doing so she connected her produce business with the natural food store. It was only a matter of ‘thyme’ until the two would become one. With Deborah looking to handing over the reins on the natural food part of the business, the idea of Rising Thymes came naturally. A perfect combination to honour the legacy of their reciprocal achievements.”
The word Times – or now Thymes – in the name has an interesting meaning, connected to this newspaper group. Organic Times was originally known as Storeroom Natural Foods when it opened in 1977, with a previous owner, but it later changed its name when it moved in to the former Minden Times office. Recently, Lyons moved the business to the other side of the river, but kept “Times” in the name.
At the downtown locations, Lyons grew an even stronger customer base of people, who would come to purchase specialty foods, such as dairy-free products and gluten-free products.
They also come in to socialize; Lyons said the store sometimes resembles the former Canadian TV show, Corner Gas, as its loyal customers became like family.
“It was because of the community that I didn’t retire from that location until now,” she said. “When I put it out there that’d I’d like to retire, people felt that loss. It’s just perfect that someone wants to continue [operating from the location] … I’m pretty sure the right person has come along.”