Local Hero – Rob and Kristi Mercier
Rob and Kristi Mercier believe that the true local heroes are the youth they see getting involved in their community to make a positive change. These children see something that they wanted improved and don’t just expect it to happen for them. Instead, they get involved and do what they can to make the change happen not only for themselves, but for their community as a whole. These youth inspire the Mercier’s to continue to support Centre-Wellington through their alpaca farm and involvement with the Fergus Highland Rugby Club.
Rob and Kristi met during high school in their hometown of Oakville. After graduation, Kristi moved to Guelph to study Biological Sciences at the University of Guelph and Rob attended Humber College for Theatre Arts and Computer Information Systems – Telecommunications. After the Mercier’s finished their post-secondary education, they decided to stay in Guelph. During this time, Rob’s work took him to many of the communities around Guelph, and he fell in love with Centre-Wellington.
Both Rob and Kristi have always wanted to start a farm, but getting into agriculture is a difficult task. After extensive research, they knew that their best way to fulfil their dream was to enter the growing industry of alpaca farming. Not only were these adorable animals so unique and different, but their fur, also known as “fiber”, is a great alternative to materials such as cotton or wool. Alpaca fiber is warmer, softer, lightweight, and better able to handle hot and cold temperatures than other traditional fibers.
The Mercier’s wanted to make alpaca products available to the people of Centre-Wellington and surrounding areas. Since they first started to produce alpaca products,they have been vendors at both the Guelph and Elora Farmer’s Market. For the past few years, Kristi has also sat on the board of the market in Elora. Rob and Kristi are very proud of all that Centre Wellington has to offer and enjoy sharing it with people both within and from outside the community. Kristi has sponsored and ran the Wellington Harvest Market at the Fergus Highland Games and Fergus Fall Fair this year to provide local farmers, producers and artisans with a venue to showcase their amazing goods to a greater audience. She is looking forward to continuing to sponsor the Harvest Market at events both in and outside of Wellington County.
When they’re not tending to their growing herd of alpacas, the Mercier’s are actively involved with the Fergus Highland Rugby Club. Rob is one of the coaches of the mini rugby program, teaching children from U6 to U14 how to play his favourite sport. During high school Rob began to play rugby, but never had the opportunity to play beyond it, since many of the professional athletes begin playing during childhood. With his involvement with Highland Rugby, Rob is able to help his players grow with the game, starting with flag and moving to tackle as they become more experienced.
What Rob loves most about the Highland Rugby is the fact that it is a true club sport. The club and its members are actively involved in the community, participating in local events like the Highland Games Parade. They also have club-specific events for members, such as bbqs and team camping weekends.
Each year, the Mercier’s farm and Kristi’s real estate business sponsor the club. Kristi has set up a fund called Homes for Highland, where she donates a portion of the proceeds from each of her real estate transactions to the mini rugby program. The more closely a client is involved with Highland Rugby, the larger the proceeds given.
During his professional career, Rob met the team at the Ostic Group. He knew right away that he had met a business whose values parallel how Kristi and himself live their lives and run their business. He really liked how involved the team at the Ostic Group was in their local communities, and knew that they were a team that Kristi and himself would like to work with. What they liked even more was the fact that they could have their farm, business, and personal insurance all covered by the Ostic Group. Knowing that they have an insurance team supporting them, the Mercier’s can continue to dedicate their time to bringing alpaca products and youth rugby to their beloved community.