Candy Latulippe takes a moment from a busy New Year’s Eve at River Rat Treasures to wish everyone a happy 2024. Thompson Goddard Photo

IROQUOIS – River Rat Treasures, located at 7 Plaza Drive in the Iroquois Plaza since 2008, is owned and operated by Candy Latulippe and provides customers and clients with several services in one location.

Latulippe, who is a lifelong resident of Iroquois, began her career as a hair stylist in 1988 working at Cindy and Co Total Hair Care hair salon.  After opening Candy’s Hair Salon & Barber Shop in her home while raising her two children, in 2008 Latulippe made the decision to purchase 7 Plaza Drive in the Iroquois Plaza and River Rat Treasures was created.

Initially the business combined the Sears Outlet and Candy’s Hair Salon & Barber Shop, with a travel agency called The Travel Experts added in 2011. She noted Sears Canada closed their outlets including the catalogue outlet in Iroquois in 2017, with the travel agency officially closing in 2022 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Latulippe explained there are several services provided to clients by River Rat Treasures. These include unique gifts for all occasions, custom gift baskets, jewellery, helium balloons, custom balloon sculptures, onsite decorating, candles, and yard sale signs to name a few. Candy’s Hair Salon & Barber Shop provides clients with waxing, ear and nose piercing, full family hair care services and straight razor shaves with hot towels.  “The salon has no set hours,” explained Latulippe as she works around her clients’ busy schedules.

When asked about challenges experienced in her business life, Latulippe mentioned the largest one was the COVID-19 pandemic, noting how the “loss of income, loss of staff and watching what you had worked so hard to builtd, fall apart” was difficult and accompanied by long work hours and working alone. She continued to say how “many changes have had to be made and are only now starting to stabilize.”

“I love what I do! I enjoy creating, working with people, socializing and overall making a difference. Hearing people laugh and making them smile is a good feeling and contagious,” Latulippe mentioned, among other things, as being enjoyable in her line of work. She continued to say how knowing what others are going through while dealing with her own life challenges makes her realize how each is helping the other to “cope and lead happier lives.”

After noting the importance of getting to know your community and providing quality service, she suggested those wishing to start their own business “make sure you are prepared to work long hours and enjoy what you are choosing to do.”

“Community support is very important in many ways. Bringing the community together is very important. Together we can achieve incredible things. We can improve the quality of life for all. Our community is HOME and we should all be proud to call it such,” she said.

A dedicated community volunteer and event organizer, Latulippe has worked in collaboration with local businesses and organizations to organize several events throughout the year. She is the Chair of the Iroquois & District Business Group as well as the Iroquois Apple Festival Committee.

Throughout the year she organizes fundraising events for causes such as the CHEO Chili Dog Day and is currently planning a new fundraising event called “Floating with Us for Autism.”  She explained the unique event will include inflatable water toys and the river, with more information to come soon.

More information is available on the River Rat Treasures Facebook page.

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