Christina Sheardown of Sheardown’s Restaurant returned to the stage at Meaford Hall on November 3 and this year claimed the dragon’s share of prizes during the 14th annual Meaford Chamber of Commerce Meaford Dragons, buoyed by the experience and support she gained from last year’s competition.
Sheardown’s Restaurant won a total of $2,275 of the Dragons’ prize money as well as $500 from the Meaford Chamber of Commerce and in-kind prizes from sponsors On the Bay Classic 102.9, Bayshore Broadcasting, Lite 99.3, Happy Boss, My Favourite Marketer, The Meaford Independent, and Baker Tilly. She also won the Rotary Audience Choice Award worth $500 for the second year in a row.
Sheardown was presented with a cheque for her winnings at a presentation at Meaford Hall on December 8.
What Christina lacked last year in her pitch to the Dragons she more than made up for this year. “This year, I knew I had to focus on what I now have to offer,” she said. “This time ’round, the Dragons made note that I was prepared. They recognized that I was in it to win.”
Christina knowingly went into the 2021 competition without a solid business framework. “The biggest item I lacked was solid financials,” she said. “I was very confident as a chef. I had been cooking for 23 years. I had managed kitchens. I was very intimate with food costs and menus but I did not have experience with running a business, nor with human resources, HST, and payroll. I didn’t even have a location. I lacked the basis for a business. “However, when the judges asked me in the second round what I would do under different situations, I knew the answers even though I didn’t have solid proof. I wanted to showcase what I could do.”
She purposefully went out on stage last year and interacted with the judges and audience with confidence in herself, hard banter, and jokes. “The Meaford Dragons is at the end of the day a show. Last year was, win or lose, all about exposure and marketing, getting the word out,” she said.
The bulk of the prize money will go toward the aluminum frame outdoor patio that is being built by James Smith of Floating Docks and will be in place for the 2023 spring and summer season.
Christina was one of five contestants selected by Bob Peel of Happy Boss on behalf of the Chamber from a slate of six applicants. “The applicants were graded based on their theatre worthiness, what they might look like on stage, their topics and impact on the Meaford area, and preparedness,” he said. “All of that long before they were to face the Dragons and make a pitch on stage on November 3, all before they start the process of preparing a business plan, elevator speech, slides, and before rehearsing their answers to what questions the Dragons might ask.”
The four other contestants were Janice Campbell of Spencer Safety Solutions (second-place winner), Lynn Izzard of Green Peak Therapy, Lisa Marie Holmes of L’Apothicaire Botanique, and Jennifer Lynes Murray representing Christmas on the Bay.
The 2022 Meaford Dragons were Tim Fischer (Mentor Technologies), Shannon Fry (Thornbury Pharmasave), Cathi Parrish (Royal Lepage Locations North), Trevor Shaw (BrokerLink Insurance), and Blair Almond (Bruce Street Technologies Ltd.)