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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Brighten up your mind

ERIN - The abilities of the human brain are not yet fully understood. It is a mysterious organ, for much of its functionality is intangible outside of its bony cradle.

Thoughts, ideas and dreams will not materialize on any CT scanner. It is our secret place, our fantasy world. It is our hard drive and home to our operating system. As such, it requires maintenance, exercise and daily tune-ups!

Sometimes, we might need a little help with our learning, or we might wish to share what we have learned with others.

The charming village of Erin has recently acquired a brainchild. This remarkable facility is the creation of an amazing young couple, Chris Bailey and Stephanie Guigovaz.

They have named their creation Brighten Up.

Brighten Up offers a variety of options to stimulate, motivate and encourage thinking and learning.

And, just like the human brain, the facility is not necessarily limited to operating within set boundaries.

For example, age is of no consequence. “From one year old to 99 years old,” was the quote from Stephanie when asked about the target groups.

Brighten Up is a very tactile place. The front of the store has a large bay window allowing natural light to flood into the designated children’s play area.

Vivid red walls are immediately stimulating, and children will love playing with the games and toys which amuse and teach all at once.

Brighten Up has a mind-bending selection of puzzles, games, books and creative toys for all ages.

Some of them are immediately recognizable, such as the classic K’NEX. Those of us who have been around a bit longer might enjoy a little nostalgia while browsing. Lincoln Logs, the classic construction toy that predates Lego - has been re-released. The original designs have been resurrected, and the pieces are made from wood, as before. Brighten Up has them in stock.

Meccano is another toy that has endured and is making a comeback. We should mention that most of the product at Brighten Up is Canadian made, of very high quality, and offered at prices that will surprise and please you.

But let’s go beyond the colourful offerings at the front of the store, and peer into the inner workings, for innovation lingers behind the counter and shelf displays.

It is in the classrooms of Brighten Up where the minds of adults and children are truly given the chance to learn and grow. You’ll discover a surprising variety of subject offerings.

Chris is the Executive Director at Brighten Up. He is a successful entrepreneur with a proven track record in business and corporate ventures. He holds an honours Bachelor’s Degree in management and organizational studies. He also has solid experience as a teacher’s assistant, loves to teach and never tires of learning and meeting new challenges.

Stephanie holds an honours Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre studies and a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a specialization in history from the University of Guelph. In 2011 she completed her Bachelors of Education in intermediate and senior drama and history education at Queen’s University.  

She holds a teacher’s certificate and also loves teaching. However, the expertise does not and will not stop there.  

Brighten Up offers tutoring in all manner of subjects by a variety of experts. One on one sessions are available, or small group tutoring if appropriate.

Another dimension to Brighten Up is the type of classes being offered, because the subjects are by no means restricted to academia.

For example, they intend to bring in an expert to teach sign-language, including an innovative sign language option for babies. Basic computer skills is another classroom option, useful for those who perhaps struggle with technology.

Brighten Up will expand the boundaries of the mind, both young and old. It’s a fascinating, exciting concept, and well worth a visit.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 17 at 11:20am and then their Grand Opening  is planned for Jan. 21 and 22. Join special guest  Face the Art for balloon art, face painting and Henna Art on Saturday from noon to 3pm.

For more information, call Chris or Stephanie at 519-833-9258. Visit us at for further details.

Brighten Up is located at 67 Main Street, Unit D in Erin.

January 13, 2012


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