by Stella Shepard
The Eastern PEI Chamber of Commerce 16th Annual Business & Community Excellence Awards evening recognized businesses, entrepreneurs, and community leaders who have demonstrated excellence.
Sandra Hodder, Executive Director of the EPEICC, greeted a room filled to compacity with entrepreneurs and distinguished guests. More than 40 businesses were nominated by their peers.
“Small businesses are a big part of the Island economy, and are responsible for over 70 percent of the Island’s private sector employment on PEI,” says Blair Aitken, Chair of the EPEICC.
- One Tuna Inc. received the Innovation & Advancement Award sponsored by Innovation PEI.
- The Eastern Graphic received the Community Impact Award sponsored by Maritime Electric.
- MacDonald’s Bakery & Coffee Shop received the Business Excellence Award sponsored by Credit Unions of Prince Edward Island.
- The Fiddling Fisherman Lookout received the New Business of the Year Award sponsored by CBDC Eastern PEI.
The Fiddling Fisherman Lookout is a café and event venue that is family owned and operated by J.J. and Julie Chaisson together with their children, Ella age 15, Brady age 14, and Maguire age 11.
The business located at the entrance of the town of Souris offers wedding experiences, group gatherings, concerts, private customized events, and cookouts. It is open to the public for brunch Monday through Friday, 8 am to 2 pm.
“We opened in June of 2022, and it was busier than we expected for the first year, but we are not complaining,” says Julie Chaisson, Owner, Manager and Events Planner. “We enjoy what we do.”
The Fiddling Fisherman Lookout is located at the site of the former Platter House that was once a popular restaurant with an ocean view.
J.J. and Julie grew up in the Souris area. “The former Platter House holds fond memories for many Islanders and visitors,” says J.J. “We want the community to be a part of the business renewal and to draw people to the eastern end of the Island because we believe it’s a special spot. We are pumped to keep the business rejuvenated and looking good for another 40 or 50 years.”
Julie was kayaking with her children when she saw the former Platter House in the distance. It sparked an entrepreneurial idea. She mentioned to J.J. her thoughts of buying it and building on their already successful marine touring business.
When COVID-19 hit, they put their plans of purchasing the Platter House property on hold.
“We revisited the idea of purchasing the property in late 2020 and re-wrote a business plan,” says Julie.
“The Fiddling Fisherman Lookout is available throughout the year, subject to available space and demand, for customized gatherings such as family and school reunions, wedding or whatever occasion brings people together,” says Julie. “J.J. will randomly play the fiddle and I will stepdance and the guests at The Fiddling Fisherman Lookout love it.”
J.J. was born into the well-known multi-talented musical Chaisson family and began playing traditional fiddle tunes on stage as a child before grade one. When he was just 14 years of age, J.J. released his first CD. In the Genes was a tribute to his two grandfathers. He has collaborated on award-winning recordings, played with family members in a Celtic rock band, and has toured widely as a solo artist.
The multi-talented musician worked as a helper on a fishing boat and later became the captain of his own lobster boat while also performing on stage with family and friends.
Julie has a degree in business, an education degree, and a master’s in education. She also has a certification from the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada.
Julie and J.J. were born a day apart in the same year. In later years, they began dating, and graduated from Souris Regional High School. They share a passion for traditional music and a love for being out on the water, which inspired their first business, The Fiddling Fisherman, which has offered marine boat tours on J.J.’s lobster boat, Chaisson A Dream since 2015.
The Fiddling Fisherman is an authentic pleasure boating experience that boasts amazing scenery of red cliffs, miles of sandy beaches and sand dunes in the distance, good food, J.J. fiddling and Julie step dancing on board, with their children working with them under sunny skies with a warm gentle ocean breeze.
The boat is a fully-equipped fibreglass lobster fishing boat that is listed as a passenger ferry with Transport Canada and is approved to carry 45 passengers. It is equipped with running water, a full bathroom and beverage coolers. It operates seasonally out of nearby Souris Harbour.
About the staff
“The Fiddling Fisherman Lookout has 12 to 15 staff during peak season along with our children,” says Julie. “All our staff are local hires, including two chefs.
“People want to work with us because it is a great place with a fun atmosphere.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about The Fiddling Fisherman Lookout, visit www.fiddlingfishermanlookout.com
For more information about The Fiddling Fisherman, visit www.fiddlingfisherman.com
Contact J.J. and Julie Chaisson at 902-687-4162 or 902-969-6499. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
For more information about Eastern PEI Chamber of Commerce visit www.epeicc.ca
Contact Sandra Hodder, Executive Director of the Eastern PEI Chamber of Commerce, at 902-838-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org