Meaford, like many small towns in Ontario, has experienced the loss of businesses from its downtown core. A walk along Sykes Street today reveals a growing number of empty storefronts, empty shells of former economic activity.

As dismal as the future of commerce in Meaford can appear to be, many Meaford businesses do thrive, including Harbour MicroTrends, which is celebrating 20 years in business, as well as new ownership this year.

The company opened in 1994, and was one of the first computer stores in the area. Sales and service of computers and related software and accessories might be the most obvious activity for Harbour MicroTrends, however new owner Marty Tengelis told The Independent that their service and repair business drives the company.

Network and server repair and maintenance for business, government, and individuals has become a major market for Harbour MicroTrends, and Tengelis, who assumed ownership of the company at the beginning of August, says that he is hoping to expand the services offered by Harbour MicroTrends and its five employees.

In addition to their IT services, Tengelis told The Independent that his company will now provide multi-function printer (MFP), copier and document management solutions through a new partnership with the local Xerox sales agency, RIS Technology in Owen Sound.

It's going to be an expansion of services,” said Tengelis. “We'll have MFP sales, and we'll do telecommunications as well. We can also set up camera security systems. What my intention is is to have a one stop shop, so a business person can come in here and get everything from computer hardware to software, communications equipment, security systems and so on.”

As with any small town business, competition from large box stores in surrounding communities is a concern, however Tengelis says that the advantage of a small business like his is service.

The personal approach that we take, and our commitment to customer satisfaction, and our more immediate response time are advantages of dealing with a small business,” offered Tengelis.