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Paint Nights, Community Economic Development, and a Thriving Chatham-Kent

When it comes to building new economic development in a community, it’s no surprise that great companies, like the ones that invest in Chatham-Kent, look at a number of factors including operating costs, available resources, land and buildings, infrastructure, and of course a quality workforce. What might come as a surprise is to hear that companies often ask us in Chatham-Kent Economic Development the question, “what’s happening in your community?”

While the team in Economic Development is always proud to talk about the great things Chatham-Kent has to offer such as excellent schools, affordable living, and a perfect place to raise a family, they also make it a point to inform companies that there are lots of things for people to do.

There are the obvious large events such as Retrofest, Wedding and Home shows at the Convention Center, and of course National and International activities that the region is able to attract such as the Plowing Match, Curling Competitions, and Hometown Hockey. What may not always be obvious is the wealth of smaller activities happening such as paint nights, escape rooms, downtown markets, service clubs, walking trails, and so much more.

One specific example is the Create Escape Art Studio, located near Blenheim, Ontario, that offers group paint nights for both personal and corporate events, as well as children’s art classes.

“I’ve had the opportunity to attend paint nights hosted by Create Escape in both a corporate setting with over 40 people in the room and also a small intimate setting with just nine of us,” said Andrew Tompsett, Marketing and Communications Officer with Chatham-Kent Economic Development. “In both cases this type of event is a lot of fun and really helps to bring people together in a shared experience.”

“I always wanted to have my own business, so running an art studio that offers lessons, events for kids and adults, and also allows me to do my own art, brings enjoyment and meaning to my work, ” said Katherine Stinson, Owner of Create Escape: Art Studio & Gift Boutique. “Offering activities like paint nights gives me a great chance to meet people and give back to the community, especially when they are fundraising events for local causes.”

When talking about her reasons for coming back to Chatham-Kent, Katherine said, “We considered moving several places including Kingston, Windsor, and even England, but ultimately Blenheim was the right fit. It’s close to my family and we enjoy the rural setting and outdoor recreation that the area has to offer. There are also a lot of benefits to running a business in a small community. I’m grateful that my work is something that I love and that the community’s support has made this possible.”

Said Tompsett, “Live, work, and play is not just a slogan, it is something that we are proud of in Economic Development because it helps define the core values of our community. As we talk to companies, they can see the honesty and integrity in what we are saying because we believe it, and that helps us stand out.”
So the next time you hear someone ask “what’s happening in Chatham-Kent?”, you can let them know we are a thriving community thanks to great people calling it home, businesses choosing to invest here, and friends coming together.  

To learn more about Chatham-Kent Economic Development, visit their website at For more information about Create Escape, please visit their website or call 519-401-0478.



Katherine Stinson, Owner of Create Escape: Art Studio & Gift Boutique

Katherine Stinson, Owner of Create Escape: Art Studio & Gift Boutique

Additional Details:

  • Learn more about Chatham-Kent Economic Development on our website:

Media Contact:

Andrew Tompsett
Marketing and Communications Officer, Economic Development Services
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Phone: 519-352-8401 x2039
Fax: 519-436-3237