It all started with a brilliant idea to paint Canadian flags on old wooden pallets to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Now, 16 year-old Jonnie Lavis runs his business, Rustic Signs, as part of the Summer Company Program, funded by the Province of Ontario.

Jonnie makes signs with eco-friendly paint on wood pallets, and has recently started painting barn quilts on large pieces of plywood. He says he’s learned a lot about business already: “it’s more work than I thought, but a good experience,” he says. Setting prices and advertising is challenging, and it takes more time to make the signs than he had originally thought.

Jonnie likes to paint, and has a great workshop on his parents’ property just outside Holmesville. “It’s a great opportunity,” he said; and coming from a family of entrepreneurs, he gets a lot of support from his family. Both of his parents have run their own businesses, as well as his grandparents. There’s a lot to learn, but that’s why being an entrepreneur is so fulfilling.

To order signs from Jonnie, contact or contact (519) 440-7496.