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Sweet news: Coldwater sugar shack featured on HGTV Canada

'We didn't want to just build just a generic shop. We wanted to make it somewhere people want to come see,' says co-owner of Coldwater facility

A deeply-rooted local family business was recently featured on HGTV Canada's Bryan's All In.

Owned and operated by the Partridge and Vandergeest families, Backwoods Maple Syrup, located in Coldwater, opened in 2006.

Owning a sugar shack was a lifelong dream for co-owner Corey Vandergeest, who teamed with Tyler Partridge and his father Paul to start the business.

"My grandfather used to (make) syrup when I was kid," he explained. "When Tyler and I were in high school we would hang some pails and tried it out."

In their first season, Backwoods produced 40 litres of maple syrup despite having to overcome numerous challenges that came with being new to the industry.

Backwoods kept growing into something bigger each year and they eventually moved to their current location on 1664 Anderson Line. The 120-acre property was the perfect spot for the sugar shack, the owners say.

"It's all taken a lot of hard work," Vandergeest said. "Like anything in farming, it's not easy."

Bryan Baeumler, who travels across the country to help entrepreneurs renovate their businesses, chose to help Backwoods because of a deep connection to the business and its owners.

"My wife Abby used to be the nanny for them," Vandergeest explained. "She did that for almost two years while they built their home in Campbellville."

When Backwoods saw the casting call, they jumped at the opportunity.

"We saw the casting call come up just as we were building the shack," Vandergeest said. "They were looking for young entrepreneurs that were starting up a rural business in Canada."

Being featured on HGTV Canada was a "unique" experience, Vandergeest says.

"I have never done a TV show before," he said. "It was a bit different."

The television crew brought a few carpenters to help Backwoods finish renovating their new sugar shack.

"They were able to supply a few products for us," Vandergeest said. "We were able to work off of each other and it was nice getting everything finished."

Vandergeest says working with Baeumler and his crew was a "good experience."

The new shack, that was finished on Bryan's All In, will serve as a spring attraction for the community.

"We didn't want to just build just a generic shop," Vandergeest said. "We wanted to make it somewhere people want to come see."

Since the show aired, Vandergeest says it's attracted new customers to the facility.

"We've had a lot of orders from all across Canada," he said. "We've had lots of people calling who want to come see the shack."

Being featured on HGTV Canada is making Backwoods Maple Syrup a hit at an unusual time.

"Usually, we don't have a lot of people trying to come out to the shop during the off-season," Vandergeest said. "So that's been a been a bit of a change."

New episodes of Bryan's All In air on Sundays at 10 p.m. on HGTV Canada. Past episodes are available to stream on STACKTV.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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