Last month, we introduced you to three small business owners in downtown Galt who appreciate mutuality – giving back to the community that supports them. This month, we visit Troy/Lynden/Copetown where we spent time with four policyholders who also focus on making a difference in their communities and beyond. Enjoy reading about Copetown United Church, Quick Feeds, Struyk Farm and Betzhaven Acres!
Copetown United Church
While Rev. Alison Miculan has been the congregational minister at Copetown United Church for just seven years, the congregation has been steadfastly worshiping together for over two hundred years! The current physical church building was erected in 1908, but the Copetown congregation itself was originally formed in 1808. With a history that long, it’s no wonder that the congregation is both enduring and faithful.
Rev. Alison credits the current congregation, made up of multi-generations, with being both supportive and open. They embrace change. They’re open to trying just about anything to connect their community, which was one of the reasons they began putting on theatre productions, such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, complete with handmade costumes, and Godspell, with help from the local Hamilton theatre scene.
Community is at the cornerstone of everything the congregation at Copetown United does, which has been made very clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. The church has always supported many charitable causes, such as Sleeping Children Around the World, as well as local charities closer to the community, like the Wesley Centre in Hamilton and the Ancaster Food Bank. However, the pandemic exposed how great a need there is within their even more immediate community. Rev. Alison initiated the Local Benevolent Fund, a purely anonymous fund supported entirely by members of the congregation for other members of the congregation. The pandemic also saw congregation members picking up groceries for other members and participating in telephone outreach to make sure no one became isolated in such a challenging time.
Rev. Alison’s favourite part of her work at Copetown United is interacting with the people of the community – something that was made challenging during COVID-19, but the resiliency of her congregation amazed her as both young and old acquired and embraced the technology to gather virtually. The congregation, historical as it is, has withstood countless world events, from wars to recessions to pandemics. Their ability to face hardship together, supporting one another along the way, is what has kept them constant and sustains her faith that they will be here long after she has gone. She is just a servant passing through with the privilege of spending time with people during the most significant moments of their lives – through baptisms, weddings, and, yes, funerals. It is the community that is and will always be the heart of the church.
Quick Feeds of Copetown has been selling animal feed to its community for thirty years. As an animal food business, David and Jayne Quick provide food for all kinds of animals, from household pets to large farming operations and even to zoos. Their most exotic client to date: a baby tiger! Jayne works closely with nutritionists to create formulas for a wide variety of animal foods, taking into account the nutritional requirements and the long-lasting health benefits. As farmers themselves – the Quick family also owns and operates a nearby cattle farm – they know the importance of good nutrition for healthy and happy horses, livestock and pets.
They are also quite well-known for their wild bird seed blends, which can be tailored to a customer’s specific needs.
New customers tend to find Quick Feeds by referrals and word of mouth, which is why community is so important to Quick Feeds. Throughout their years in business, Jayne has gotten to know her regular customers well – just as they’ve gotten to know her and her family.
Jayne thrives on the challenge of continuous learning. Jayne most recently took a two-week course through the University of Guelph. She has found that continuing to learn and adapt over the years has helped her business grow and flourish, enabling Quick Feeds to offer more than just animal food. Beyond great advice on animal nutrition, they are a source for tack, tools, supplements, pet accessories, bird feeders, and so much more. Delivery is also a huge aspect of their service. By listening to the needs and wishes of their clients, Quick Feeds has become the business it is today – knowledgeable and friendly service with a small town feel.
In 2015, Scott and Jodi Struyk took over the family farm, which Scott’s father and uncle had founded in the 70s, and it remains a family affair to this day. Scott and Jodi’s older children work on the farm and in the greenhouses and Scott’s dad, who is at the farm every day, and uncle continue to be an important part in planting and tending. The whole family is very active in their community, participating annually in the Rockton Fair and weekly at the Rockton Farmers’ Market. Jodi is also on the fundraising committee at their children’s school, Hope Reformed Christian School, and they are members of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario.
Struyk Farms boasts a loyal customer base who find their produce to be exceptional quality and very reasonably priced; some stopping in every few days to pick up fresh produce grown at the farm as well as locally grown products like strawberries, peaches or apples in season, or eggs and honey, on their way home from work. Partnering with other local growers and vendors helps to strengthen and grow the farming industry within their own community. Others come annually as far away as the GTA to pick their own tomatoes and peppers for canning, for which Struyk Farms is renown, just as they used to do with their parents when they were children.
Scott and Jodi also rely on their community for staffing, especially at peak times of planting and harvesting. Most of the people who work at Struyk Farms with the family are friends of their children or helpful neighbours.
And there is much to do! Struyk Farms boasts sixty-five acres of vegetables. They seed 20% of their crops directly and the other 80% is transplanted from their greenhouses. They offer a wide selection of produce, including their popular pepper varieties, and a truly stunning selection of flowers and plants. Check out their produce availability for what’s currently available in the barn market / pick your own.
On our visit, the youngest Struyk, Stephen, was our helpful tour guide. Clearly he lives by the adage, “Every day is a good day to be on the farm.”
Betzner is a familiar name at Dumfries Mutual. Terry Betzner became a Dumfries agent in February 2020, but has been a Dumfries client her entire married life. In 1940, Roy S. Betzner, her husband Joe’s great-grandfather, was president of the company. In fact, you can find the Betzner name in Dumfries’ printed history dating back as early as 1910. The Betzner family has equally long roots within their own community of Lynden. Terry and Joe’s children are part of the 6th generation of Betzners in the area!
The Betzner family is an enterprising one. While Terry provides quality service and care to her valued clients at Dumfries Mutual, her husband Joe entertains area children as a school bus driver before they both return to the farm for the endless tasks that come with the farming life.
Their eldest son Bruce now works full-time on the family’s dairy goat farm while his wife, Rain, has full-time employment at an architectural firm, but also loves the work on the farm and uses their goat milk to make soap which she sells at places like the Rockton Farmers Market.
The Betzner family also hosts French university agriculture students each summer who come to Canada to learn about dairy farming. While the students have come to Betzhaven Acres to learn from the Betzner family, there is also opportunity for the Betzners to learn from the students they host as well. This year, the students, Margot and Elsa, taught the Betzner’s how to make goat cheese!
The family explains that the farming community spans many acres and kilometres. Many families are connected through the Rockton Agricultural Society as well as 4H clubs – they share co-operative values, relying on each other, from lending equipment to farm space to helping each other in times of need. Many of their farm workers over the years have been children of neighbours or people met through the Ag Society or 4H.
Outside of their immediate community, Bruce and Rain represent the family on several professional farming panels and boards. Recently Bruce joined Gay Lea’s Goat Producer Advisory Committee to help create and adapt rules and regulations that apply to goat dairy farming operations. Beyond that, they are also members of the Young Producers Forum and the Co-operative Leadership Program with Gay Lea. These types of opportunities help to create a wider community for farmers, who are able to learn from one another and work toward innovation in their respective fields.
Though there can be many challenges with farming, such as operational costs, staffing, to name a few, the Betzner family finds it to be very rewarding. They care deeply for their goats, calling each affectionately by name as they breed their own stock and raise them from kids to adults. Investing in the wellbeing of their animals is what ultimately creates a great end product. And it shows – they have earned the highest level of milk quality from Gay Lea.
To the Betzner family, community means a group of people working toward a common goal, sharing knowledge and resources, doing good and having fun together.
A special thank you to our amazing policyholders who share our vision. We wouldn’t be the company that we are without you.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog when we feature more of our amazing policyholders!