Business Insights w/John Racine Episode 28: Adrian Szamreta


This week for my guest Adrian Szamreta, owner of Old Smoke Clothing Co.

After high school, Adrian was awarded a baseball scholarship which led him to upstate New York to pursue his studies. Just down the road from where he went to school was the famous horse racing track, Saratoga Race Course and this is when Adrian fell in love with horse racing.

It wasn’t until years later when contemplating a career change that Adrian discovered that there was a huge gap in the market for horse racing apparel. After several conversations with a good friend of his he decided to take the plunge and start his own clothing company. This episode will be of interest to anyone who is looking to start an e-commerce business and really emphasizes the importance of finding your niche.

In a short period of time Adrian and his business partner have experienced great success.

Business Insights w/John Racine Episode 27: Summer Bellamy

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I’d like to introduce my guest this week, Summer Bellamy, Ambassador with Rodan + Fields, a global leader in the skincare industry.  

Summer took an alternative path, opting not to attend college or university after high school, instead finding a passion for the hospitality industry. Her career growth lead to a transition to working with a high-end women's club, where she really began to investigate & develop her entrepreneurial spirit.

We also learn how Summer's desire to find a good balance between work, family & self lead her to her current success in business

Business Insights w/John Racine Episode 26: Thalita Murray

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I would like to introduce my guest this week, Thalita Murray, owner of The Learner Observer.

She is an interior designer, blogger & influencer.

Join us for our conversation to hear how Thalita turned blogging as a creative outlet into a business. Hear how buying a home & moving to Cobourg took her influencing to the next level.

Thalita also offers great advice to families who want a kid-friendly & stylish home.This is a great episode for anyone interested in blogging, interior design & e-commerce. 

Business Insights w/ John Racine 24: Anna Mastin

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My guest is Anna Mastin, owner of Anna Mastin - Vocalist and Teacher. 

Anna has a Bachelor of Music in Jazz performance from the University of Toronto. She was the only signer accepted to this prestigious program in 2002.

Anna is currently a faculty member at Metalworks Institute in Mississauga and has her own recording/teaching studio at her home in Cobourg. She teaches private lessons, classes and workshops at all levels.

Anna and I had a great conversation about her career path, and we were able to learn a ton about this profession. I hope you enjoy!  

Business Insights w/ John Racine Episode 23: Bill Bickle

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My guest this week is Bill Bickle, owner of Fordelm, a business consulting firm. Bill has an interesting path. He was a career employee at RBC, moving up the corporate ladder while building his knowledge & skills, eventually leading him to starting his own consulting firm.

Bill specializes in helping businesses & organisations ‘get healthy’ and shares valuable advice that should not just resonate with business owners, but assist with the professional development of employees & volunteers as well. 

Hope you enjoy the show! 

Business Insights w/ John Racine Episode 22: Oliver Steins

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Please join me for to my conversation with Oliver Steins, Owner of Ganaraska Art & Framing.

In this episode of Business Insights, we get to know Oliver both professionally and personally.

We start with his journey in school and early career, then his eventual migration out to Northumberland County where he started a new chapter in his life, raising a family and ultimately becoming a business owner.

Oliver also opens up about his recent struggle with ALS and what that means for him & what he has done to make sure his business continues. I hope you enjoy the show! 

Business Insights w/ John Racine Episode 21: Rob Quartly

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This week I had the opportunity to interview MuchMusic Hall of Famer Rob Quartly. We talked about how a weekend at the Montreal Grand Prix led to a career in film making. Rob also discusses how he found himself at the birth of music videos and the impact this had on his path.

Rob’s current project is Grief Stories ( “Helping grief make sense one story at a time.”

I hope you enjoy the episode!

Business Insights w/John Racine - Episode 17

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Episode 17 - Kathryn Harrison

In this episode of business insights with John Racine my guest Kathryn Harrison and I discuss her journey to becoming an author, illustrator and publisher.

Kathryn Harrison is author of Weeds in Nana’s Garden, I Smile for Grandpa and owner of Flipturn Publishing.

Kathryn takes us on a journey from completing her undergraduate degree at Queen's University, her MBA at DeGroote School of Business - McMaster University, pursuing a career in advertising and marketing to subsequently exploring the artistic world, earning a diploma of fine art at the Toronto School of Art.

Business Insights w/John Racine - Episode 16

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Episode 16 - Bob Clark

In this episode of business insights with John Racine my guest Bob Clark and I discuss urban and rural planning.

Bob is the owner of Clark Consulting Services in downtown Port Hope with over 40 years experience in his field and is a leader in the field of Agricultural planning in Ontario.

During this interview we discussed how Bob excelled in his field and subsequently decided to start his own consulting business.

Business Insights with John Racine - Season 1 Roundup


Episode 15: Season 1 Roundup

Please check out my special edition of Business Insights with John Racine.

In this episode you will hear insights from season 1 of my show. These include local business owners Jade Calver (Calver & Associates Canadian Immigration Services), Giorgos Kallonakis (Olympus Burger), Hank Vandermeer (Vandermeer Toyota), Blake Holton (Holton Flowers), Stacy Vermeire (Stacy Vermeire RE/MAX Lakeshore Realty Inc. Brokerage), Katy Spiewak (, Kim Rudd (MP and Entrepreneur), Mike Woods (The Northumberland Rock and Roll Experience / Log Jam Studio, Darren Johns (Mercury Chocolates & Gelateria), Mike McCann (Bromley Steel Fabricators Inc, Kendra Simmons (Antiques on Queen), Ian Sculthorpe (South Fifty Farms)

Special thanks to my production team, Jeff Caine and Matthew McCreadie

Business Insights w/John Racine - Episode 14


Episode 14 - Mike McCann

In this episode of business insights with John Racine my guest Mike McCann and I discuss his journey as an entrepreneur. Mike is the retired owner of Bromley Steel Fabricators located in Wesleyville, just west of Port Hope. 

It was a privilege to be able to interview Mike on the show as I’ve know Mike all of my life and have admired how he has created a very successful company.

We discuss Mike's upbringing in Manchester in the 40's and 50's and how he entered the Royal Air force at the age of 15. We talk about making the move to Canada and ultimately to Port Hope.

We gain great insights from Mike as he discusses both the risk and reward of owning your own business.   

Business Insights w/John Racine


Episode 13: Ian Sculthorpe 

In this episode of business insights with John Racine my guest Ian Sculthorpe and I discuss all things farming. 

Ian is the owner and operator of South 50 farms. We talk about Ian’s decision to enroll into Guelph University’s agriculture program, travel to New Zealand on a farm exchange and how Ian ultimately started a grass fed beef operation just west of Port Hope. If you have any interest in understanding a bit more about farming and in particular beef farming I encourage you to listen in. 

Business Insights w/John Racine - Episode 12


Episode 12: Darren Johns

In this episode of Business Insights with John Racine my guest Darren Johns and I discuss the art and joy of chocolate.

Darren takes us on a journey of truly appreciating the skill and quality of the ingredients that it takes to offer the best products to his customers.

His products range from coffee, Gelato, hand crafted chocolates and most recently his own take on the traditional Yule log.

We delve further into Darren's passion for all things Italian and discussed how he was inspired to start a Tuscany food and wine tour.

Business Insights w/John Racine - Episode 11

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Business Insights with John Racine

Episode 11: Kim Rudd

In this episode of Business Insights my guest Kim Rudd and I discuss how she was able to start her adventure into entrepreneurship through a form of job sharing.

A big part of Kim's business and personal growth came from the decision to make advocacy a part of her business foundation.

We were able to get great insights of what it takes to buy a business and put your own personal touch on it. Kim gives lots of credit to professionals who were able to tell you the truth and not sugar coat the advice, "you need someone who will say.. no" 

Business Insights w/John Racine - Episode 10

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Episode 10: Mike Woods

In this episode, Mike and I discuss how he was introduced to music and how the impact from a high school teacher help set Mike up for his future. We uncover how difficult it is to make a career in the music business and how Mike and his wife have set up several different ventures that have allowed them to reach a larger audience. You will want to listen right to the end where Mike is able to provide great insights on the commitment and mindset that will help you prepare for life as an entrepreneur.  

Business Insights w/John Racine - Episode 9


Business Insights w/ John Racine episode 9:

Gordon Woods, World War II veteran from Port Hope, Ontario.

Please join me to hear my 95 year old grandfather, Gordon Woods tell us a few stories of his time on the HMCS Fennel during World War 2. Please check out the ship’s Wikipedia page here:

Bump, as he is know affectionately by our family, bravely crossed the North Atlantic many times during the war protecting convoys from German U-Boats.