The QR Code Comeback: DMS Lab Helps Businesses Go Contactless
The QR Code Comeback: DMS Lab Helps Businesses Go Contactless
Digital Main Street has compiled a list of tools, how-to guides and tutorials available to assist all main street business in embracing digital technology. You can find information on: how to build your online presence, using social media effectively, paid advertising, and much more.
Seasons of Westport invests in digital confidence
Seasons of Westport invests in digital confidenceThe village of Westport has always benefitted from swarms of Americans seeking to capitalize on the exchange rate while they vacation at the head of the navigable Rideau Canal. But the summer of 2020 seemed to promise something different for businesses like Seasons of Westport, Lori Reynen’s women fashion and ...
Picton’s Beacon Bike and Brew streamlines backend so it can focus on its community
Picton’s Beacon Bike and Brew streamlines backend so it can focus on its communityThere’s this moment Jordan Malka remembers from the early months of Beacon Bike and Brew where a local dad started reading a children’s book in the back of the Picton café and a small crowd of kids gathered around. “There must’ve been five or six random couples visiting with kids, ...
Physio In The Valley celebrates its 20th year with digital revamp
Physio In The Valley celebrates its 20th year with digital revampPhysio In The Valley is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It’s been 20 years since Donna and Paul Saal left behind the small practice they’d opened in Lively, Ontario and moved back to Pembroke. “Everybody thought we were crazy, ” says Saal. “I had a newborn baby, a successful physio clinic… ...
How the European Pantry is using digital to grow its worldly offerings beyond Niagara region
How the European Pantry is using digital to grow its worldly offerings beyond Niagara regionWhile grocery stores seem to be getting bigger to hold their sprawling product lists, The European Pantry manages to compress the whole of Europe into its modest shop a few doors down from the farmer’s market in Welland. And it does it well.
How Digital Main Street is future-proofing Burlington’s retail sector
How Digital Main Street is future-proofing Burlington’s retail sectorMain street businesses couldn’t matter more to the city of Burlington. “We actually have the highest retail concentration in Ontario, ” explains Andrew Elliston, manager of business development at Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). So when COVID-19 hit, supporting that vital economic driver for the region was paramount.
Fish & Co. tackles modern approach for modern anglers
Fish & Co. tackles modern approach for modern anglersHannah Cowell spent a lot of her youth participating in fishing derbies and tournaments, and a lot of the time that meant hanging out in guy clothes. “Or if it was girls-related, it was like bright, hot pink... there was nothing in between.” Fishing has always been a big part ...
Markdale Flowers gets proactive about digital presence
Markdale Flowers gets proactive about digital presenceFor Kimberley Lewis, owner of Markdale Flowers, 2020 was full of those days where you just have to go with it. It was a year of last-minute Zoom weddings and massive parties cut from 120 people to 20. It was unpredictable, strange and emotional.
Educational Games of Excellence gets second life with digital
Educational Games of Excellence gets second life with digitalPrior to the pandemic, entrepreneur and retired teacher Erika Dick had been toying with the idea of resurrecting Educational Games of Excellence, the board game business she’d built and shuttered in the nineties. But COVID-19 turned out to be the push she needed.
Durham Regions massive Digital Main Street roll-out pays off
Durham Regions massive Digital Main Street roll-out pays offMain street businesses can no longer treat digital presence as an afterthought. The pandemic has proven that, says Jamie Nowe, digital marketing expert and team lead for Durham’s Digital Main Street program.
Brampton’s Fresh Organic Spa Bar weathers pandemic with positive energy and digital presence
Brampton’s Fresh Organic Spa Bar weathers pandemic with positive energy and digital presenceLarisa Ferchichi had been waiting 10 years for the right opportunity to launch her business. So when she finally opened Fresh Organic Spa Bar in Brampton last year, she was ecstatic – even when the pandemic meant shutting her doors a few weeks later.
Why digital has always been the way forward for Hamilton’s The Jewellery Judge
Why digital has always been the way forward for Hamilton’s The Jewellery JudgeSteve Knight is well-acquainted with digital revolutions – in the 1980s he led one. Knight, the owner of The Jewellery Judge, a Hamilton-based appraisal business, pioneered computer-aided appraisals. “I was told you can’t use a computer to do that, ” says Knight. “I said, really? Watch me... and I developed software to ...
Mainway Physiotherapy looks to strengthen its community connection with digital
Mainway Physiotherapy looks to strengthen its community connection with digitalMainway Physiotherapy had gotten comfortable being a word-of-mouth business. The Burlington clinic had seen organic growth over the past five years, adding clients through referrals and gaining accolades like the Burlington Post Readers Choice Awards for best physiotherapy clinic and best massage therapy.
Burlington’s Uplift Custom Bras refines designs with digital approach
Burlington’s Uplift Custom Bras refines designs with digital approachFor the majority of the past 15 years, Linda Crawford’s Burlington-based Uplift Custom Bras has mostly serviced local clientele. But this past summer, after redoing her website, a flood of inquiries from the U.S. and even the U.K. and Australia started to roll in.
Workshop Dance Studio side-steps pandemic with digital workaround
Workshop Dance Studio side-steps pandemic with digital workaroundWhen Nancy Morgan, a Kemptville entrepreneur and owner of The Workshop Dance Studio, first started talking to her clients about Patreon and Discord, it felt like a foreign language both to her and her clients.
Timmins legal firm Ellery, Ellery & Prabucki looks beyond growth to engagement
Timmins legal firm Ellery, Ellery & Prabucki looks beyond growth to engagementGrowth has always been the easiest metric for Timmins law firm Ellery, Ellery & Prabucki to define success. But recently, it’s found a new metric: engagement.
Digital content an organic fit for natural bath and beauty brand Lovely Body
Digital content an organic fit for natural bath and beauty brand Lovely BodyLovely Body, Sarah Johnston’s natural bath and beauty products shop in Thunder Bay, is built around experience. Customers move through the store led by their senses while staff offers insight and share ingredients. It’s a place where people go to be surrounded by beautiful scents and often walk out with soaps and ...
Bodhi Tree Yoga Studio finds its own way through online presence
Bodhi Tree Yoga Studio finds its own way through online presenceMelanie Charlebois (who goes by her yogi name Om Shanti) was in a remote part of Nepal with her brother and a few friends when the pandemic started to escalate in March 2020. It was meant to be a two-week trip while her Bodhi Tree Yoga Studio continued as usual back in Kemptville.
Beamsville and Lincoln main street businesses adapt to the pandemic with digital
Beamsville and Lincoln main street businesses adapt to the pandemic with digitalBeamsville and Lincoln sit in the heart of the Niagara wine region, an area that benefits heavily from a steady flow of daytrippers and getaway seekers. But this year was decidedly different, shaped by the pandemic’s swings and the slow-rolling regulations put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Manitouwadge’s main street stretches beyond the community with e-commerce
Manitouwadge’s main street stretches beyond the community with e-commerceManitouwadge’s main street doesn’t see a lot of tourists. “Tourism is growing, ” says Florence MacLean, economic development officer for the township tucked halfway between Sault Ste. Marie and Thundery Bay in Northern Ontario. “But it isn’t our forté at the moment.”
Kanel kept selling through the unexpected with Lightspeed’s omnichannel solution
Kanel kept selling through the unexpected with Lightspeed’s omnichannel solutionKim Wiseman adopted Lightspeed’s omnichannel solution shortly after opening in 2018. She started selling her all-natural, premium spice blends and sea salts everywhere consumers shopped—online, in store and on social media. But when a global pandemic hit, her digital offerings went from an added benefit to an absolute necessity.
Gaudet Fitness redefines it’s community with digital
Gaudet Fitness redefines it’s community with digitalShelley Gaudet always envisioned Gaudet Fitness Solutions as more than just a fitness studio. She wanted to create a community hub for women to exhale the day, to feel motivated and motivate others, a space inspired by her own fitness journey.
Fort Frances’ Belluz Concrete sees digital as differentiator
Fort Frances’ Belluz Concrete sees digital as differentiatorIn Fort Frances, if you needed precast concrete – park benches, sidewalk slabs or septic tanks – you knew Belluz Concrete had it. “Like anything else in a small town, you know where you're going to go get certain items, right?” says Mike Belluz, owner of the family-run business. “(Fort Frances) has around ...
Haldimand County businesses overcome digital divide with transformation
Haldimand County businesses overcome digital divide with transformationHaldimand County is a community of communities, a unique, rural patchwork of main street towns spread out across 1, 300-square-kilometres. It’s a vast area, but the threat facing small businesses across these communities remains the same: the digital divide.
Minto gets granular with second run of Digital Main Street
Minto gets granular with second run of Digital Main StreetFor Minto, a second run of the Digital Main Street program gave Somer Antonopoulos, business development coordinator for LaunchIt Minto, an opportunity to bring some of the area’s overlooked hamlets and junctions into the digital transformation fold.
Local Colour uses digital to help customers shop local
Local Colour uses digital to help customers shop localIt feels weird to say aloud but Carol Wood has had a good November. Local Colour, her handmade crafts and art shop in the Grey Highlands community of Flesherton, wrapped up the best November since 2002 (she’s had the store since 1989) and December is already looking better than 2019. ...
Digital Main Street helps open Sleepers Bed Gallery’s eyes to digital
Digital Main Street helps open Sleepers Bed Gallery’s eyes to digitalFour years ago, Sadie Shewfelt joined the family business Sleepers Bed Gallery in downtown Kincardine full-time. She’d been raised on the selling floor amongst the beds, pillows and home décor but this would be different. Sadie recalls one of the first things her mother, Heather Shewfelt said was that she ...
During forced closures, online shopping and social media are lifelines for Kincardine’s The Loop
During forced closures, online shopping and social media are lifelines for Kincardine’s The LoopMisty Gibson-Traynor spent months chipping away at her digital strategy and website while running The Loop, the downtown Kincardine fashion and gift boutique she owns with her husband. But it only took a few days – through the province’s decision to order non-essential businesses closed during the COVID-19 pandemic – to make that ...
How Digital Main Street helped Kincardine’s SurfSup get locals out on the water
How Digital Main Street helped Kincardine’s SurfSup get locals out on the waterFor more than 50 years, surfers have quietly searched the coves and coastlines of the Great Lakes looking for surfable waves. It’s a niche love, especially given that waves are often best in the fall and winter when temperatures plummet and the lakes wake up, but the barrier to entry ...
St. Catherines’ Mindbomb Records brings in-store expertise online
St. Catherines’ Mindbomb Records brings in-store expertise onlineA record store is not a store. Sure, you buy products there. But it’s more than that. Stepping into a record store isn’t just buying a record, it’s hunting for an idea, for a feeling – it has sounds, the slap of sleeves being pored over; it has scents, fresh polymer ...
Thunder Bay’s Ungalli Clothing Co. raises awareness about sustainable fashion through digital channels
Thunder Bay’s Ungalli Clothing Co. raises awareness about sustainable fashion through digital channelsFor Ungalli Clothing Co. founders Hailey and Bree Hollinsworth reading The Name of the Tree by Celia Barker Lottridge was a near-nightly occurrence in their childhood. Based on a Bantu folk tale, The Name of the Tree tells the story of a drought and the last fruit-bearing tree that will ...
Pandemic helps change Kingston fashion boutique Fancy That’s mind about e-commerce
Pandemic helps change Kingston fashion boutique Fancy That’s mind about e-commerceFor Fancy That, a Kingston-based fashion boutique, e-commerce was looking like a hard “no.” Four years ago they set up a bit of a digital presence through social media, says Amanda Cronk of the family-run business. It was to push in the world of Instagram and Facebook, “But at no ...
Digital Main Street aims to boost year-round engagement in Perth
Digital Main Street aims to boost year-round engagement in PerthFor most of the year, Perth is a small town of 6, 000 people. But every summer, cottagers and visitors flood the area along the Rideau waterway pushing that catchment area to close to 60, 000. “It’s crazy busy, ” says Kari Clarke, coordinator for the Perth BIA. The town’s ...
Manis Cosmetic Consulting donates 100 percent of proceeds from digital launch to Ontario hospitals
Manis Cosmetic Consulting donates 100 percent of proceeds from digital launch to Ontario hospitalsAs hospitals struggled with an influx in COVID-19 related patients, Toronto’s Manis Cosmetic Consulting decided to do something bold. Helen Manis, the medical spa owner and a Registered Practical Nurse with nearly 20 years of experience in medical aesthetics and skincare, committed to donating 100 percent of profits from product ...
Orillia’s Eclectic Cafe eyes 2020 as the year of the pivot
Orillia’s Eclectic Cafe eyes 2020 as the year of the pivotIf 2020 could be defined by one word it’d most definitely be “pivot” says chef Melanie Robinson owner of Eclectic Cafe in Orillia. The cafe, a seated affair spun out of and run by Melanie Robinson Catering, had only been open a handful of months when the pandemic forced it ...
Hibernation Arts outlier studio stays connected through Facebook
Hibernation Arts outlier studio stays connected through FacebookTo Molly Farquharson, fibre art is hard to translate digitally. It eludes the camera lens, the effect of every stitch and curled piece of fibre somehow lost somewhere in the ether between the aperture and the digitized image of the work.
La Luna Wellness Studio goes with the digital flow
La Luna Wellness Studio goes with the digital flowGoing back to normal after the pandemic may never really be all that normal. Too much time has passed. People have sat with themselves, they’ve had to learn things about themselves the pace of ordinary life doesn’t seem to allow for. And it might end up being a good thing.
Lamesa Filipino Kitchen translates community sensibilities to the digital environment
Lamesa Filipino Kitchen translates community sensibilities to the digital environmentThe hype was fun and Les Sabilano lived in it for a while. Eight years ago, as the world seemed to be discovering Toronto’s restaurant scene, the restaurateur and co-owner of Lamesa Filipino Kitchen was introducing the city to the staples of Filipino cuisine, an elevated riff on the takeout ...
Kingston boutique UNDR for Men gets comfortable with digital
Kingston boutique UNDR for Men gets comfortable with digitalKingston’s UNDR for Men isn’t used to the quiet. Underwear stores ask a certain level of energy, or rather, this one does. During Pride it fills up with patrons and Father’s day and holidays draw unique clientele. But all those would-be celebrations have passed quietly, and it feels weird, says ...
Kincardine’s West Shore turns disaster into digital opportunity
Kincardine’s West Shore turns disaster into digital opportunityOn March 11, 2019, a fire in downtown Kincardine cut through West Shore Clothing and Surf Shop. The blaze was contained from spreading to the other century-old buildings on the main street but the damage would echo outwards, forcing the decade and a half old epicentre of Kincardine’s surf scene ...
Lavender Rose Day Spa in Bolton takes self-care virtual
Lavender Rose Day Spa in Bolton takes self-care virtualAfter months of being stuck at home during the pandemic focusing on the essentials, one of the first things people wanted to do when businesses entered phase three was something for themselves.
Northumberland Goods and Services takes the county digital
Northumberland Goods and Services takes the county digitalNorthumberland County was always in the plans for Olena Hankivsky and Giorgi Kvekveskiri. But when COVID-19 came up and pushed the couple to move back from Melbourne to Port Hope, a few years earlier than anticipated, Northumberland became the plan.
Kingsville clothing shop Towne Emporium uses pandemic to pursue digital avenues
Kingsville clothing shop Towne Emporium uses pandemic to pursue digital avenuesWhen COVID-19 forced family-run clothing store Towne Emporium in Kingsville to shut its doors for two months, Kristen Proctor, saw it as an opportunity.
McGee’s Landing modern approach to old fashioned gift shopping
McGee’s Landing modern approach to old fashioned gift shoppingMcGee’s Landing was supposed to be Sharon Richard's retirement plan, a simple gift shop in the old part of downtown Stoney Creek where she could transition from the years of teaching entrepreneurship and working with small businesses to running something of her own.
How the Haberdashery is stitching together it’s physical and online businesses
How the Haberdashery is stitching together it’s physical and online businessesFor the first four years in business, Hamilton’s The Haberdashery lived online. “I would do trade shows and pop-ups but I really only had Facebook, Instagram and Etsy, ” says Holly Johnston, founder of the vintage shop-meets-tanning salon and makeup studio. But that changed this past winter when she opened ...
Bolton’s Dream Hunter Vacations saw digital as essential in coming months
Bolton’s Dream Hunter Vacations saw digital as essential in coming monthsSharon Hunter has always been drawn to Disney. In grade eight, she wrote a speech about Walt Disney, about the world he created and the symbolism of the creator himself – the idea that one person with dreams could make a difference in so many other lives. Disney’s world was ...
Artisan haven Merrickville-Wolford teaches old businesses new digital skills
Artisan haven Merrickville-Wolford teaches old businesses new digital skillsWith its swath of heritage buildings and picturesque location alongside the Rideau river lock system, it’s no surprise Merrickville-Wolford has become a haven for artists and craftspeople. The small community and neighbouring villages of just over 3, 000 people are home to more than 30 artisans, an element of intrigue ...
Deja Vu Boutik do-it-yourself shop gets a little help with digital strategy
Deja Vu Boutik do-it-yourself shop gets a little help with digital strategy“People are bored out of their minds, I guess, so they are painting anything and everything, ” says Gauthier. Her shop, in Earlton, just north of New Liskeard, specializes in DIY kits and supplies, paints, and virtually anything you’d need for projects around the home. “Looking at my numbers in ...
Creemore’s darci-que creates her own digital main street
Creemore’s darci-que creates her own digital main streetCreemore artist and entrepreneur darci-que does everything. Really, no exaggeration. She does everything. Of course, there’s art: “I draw every day of my life.” But there’s also the Hillview Cellars Winery shop. And the series of children books she’s written. And QUE balloon bouquets. And darci-que cakes. And the princess ...
Charitees invests in itself with Digital Main Street
Charitees invests in itself with Digital Main StreetMichael Carrier felt a bit out of place applying for Digital Main Street. From the outside, it seemed to Carrier like the program, which leverages grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario to help main street businesses across Ontario strengthen their digital and online capabilities, was geared towards ...
Back to the Grind coffee house has a new daily digital ritual
Back to the Grind coffee house has a new daily digital ritualDominique Tremblay has slotted social media nicely in that space between her daily coffee ritual and opening Back to the Grind, her coffee house in Kapuskasing. “It's the first thing I do in the morning when I get up, ” says the café owner. “I get all my posts ready ...
Digital Main Street helps Atlas Yoga Studio get to the next level
Digital Main Street helps Atlas Yoga Studio get to the next levelAtlas Yoga Studio has been a twenty-year balancing act for Denise Davis-Gains. She’s built her life this way – trying to find some sense of symmetry through deliberation. Case in point: the choice to create Atlas Yoga Studio in the Cambridge community of Galt rather than an area with a ...
How Kincardine prepared main street for digital future
How Kincardine prepared main street for digital futureWhen Kincardine kicked off Digital Main Street it had a unique advantage, neighbouring Huron-Kinloss township and Goderich, a lakeside town further south, had already piloted the program in their communities.
WindsorEssex’s ambitious Digital Main Street bet pays off
WindsorEssex’s ambitious Digital Main Street bet pays offThe WindsorEssex Small Business Centre knew its plan for Digital Main Street was ambitious. It had just launched a Digital Service Squad through the program which combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities.
Thunder Bay’s Mars Clothing Co. sees a paradigm shift in digital mindset
Thunder Bay’s Mars Clothing Co. sees a paradigm shift in digital mindsetSales are down for Thunder Bay’s Mars Clothing Co. and the world is still living through a global pandemic, but all things considered, store owner James Nigro is feeling pretty good.
Thornbury’s Rocky Shores Health and Wellness takes hub online
Thornbury’s Rocky Shores Health and Wellness takes hub onlineOver the past decade things have gotten decidedly less odd for Angela Klein, founder of Rocky Shores Health and Wellness in Thornbury. Rather, the world has changed its definition of odd, helping spur interest in the products and services Klein’s been drawn to for more than a decade – things ...
eCommerce gives Lakeside Livin’ room to grow
eCommerce gives Lakeside Livin’ room to growWhen Rose Luxton opened Lakeside Livin’ Home Decor in the heart of Oakville’s Bronte Village BIA two and a half years ago, she knew it was just the start – in a decades time there’d be more shops, maybe even dotting the country. E-commerce was written into the plan, at ...
What’s Poppin’ finds bigger kettle online
What’s Poppin’ finds bigger kettle onlineWhat’s Poppin’ likes big groups. Festivals, events, fundraisers – whatever it is, the more people the better. For the past 12 years since Jeff Gamble started his Windsor-based popcorn business, the festival circuit has been his key revenue driver. And it’s been good to him. It’s helped set him up ...
Hamilton brings digital tools to main street businesses
Hamilton brings digital tools to main street businessesHamilton is a big city. And across that city which stretches from Ancaster to Waterdown, Dundas to Stoney Creek, are 13 BIAs, each representing a unique neighbourhood with legacy businesses and new entrepreneurs side-by-side. But there’s a common underlying goal, thriving and evolving in this increasingly digital age.
Kaizen Physiotherapy Group goes virtual with help of Digital Main Street
Kaizen Physiotherapy Group goes virtual with help of Digital Main StreetPhysiotherapy is an inherently physical thing – it requires a one-to-one connection between the client and a physiotherapist, a hands-on approach. Or so it seems. But as Rosa Maria Echevarria, owner of Kaizen Physiotherapy Group in Etobicoke has learned amidst the pandemic, it can be whatever you make it.
Kawartha Lakes two-tiered approach to Digital Main Street
Kawartha Lakes two-tiered approach to Digital Main StreetKawartha Lakes is a city in name only. Geographically, it’s the size of a county and mostly made up of a collection of lakes and rural areas and towns and communities like Lindsay, Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls and Omemee.
Facebook launches Summer of Support and Online Business Guide
Facebook launches Summer of Support and Online Business GuideFacebook is kicking off a new free initiative called Summer of Support, designed to help business owners get the digital skills and information needed to navigate these challenging times. The program launched June 24th, and will run for six weeks, and feature a mix of content including free online training, ...
Belleville’s Downtown District goes Digital amidst coronavirus
Belleville’s Downtown District goes Digital amidst coronavirusBelleville Downtown District BIA had been toying with the idea of launching a digital marketplace as a gateway to shopping at local business online for a little while but the shutdown forced them to fast-track their strategy.
Main street Toronto businesses are stepping up to help frontline healthcare workers
Main street Toronto businesses are stepping up to help frontline healthcare workersMount Pleasant BIA's Bread and Butter Restaurant, Dew Haus, Positano, Mason's Fine Foods, Bolan Thai, and The Flaky Tart have all banded together to offer up meals to the frontline healthcare workers.
Minto and Hanover show main street businesses that less is more
Minto and Hanover show main street businesses that less is moreThe digital environment offers small businesses a seemingly unending string of places to be – there’s e-commerce and social media, Google’s business listings and review aggregators like Yelp. But there’s something to be said for not getting lost in it all and instead focusing on doing a few channels right.
For Perth’s Where Dragons Fly being adaptive means being online
For Perth’s Where Dragons Fly being adaptive means being onlineNancy Lanouette spent thirty years as a project manager at a major telecommunications company before moving to Perth and opening Where Dragons Fly, an essential oils and supply shop for DIY health, beauty and home care. She’d loved her career and chasing her passion surrounding DIY was the perfect comedown ...
C’est La Vie Wellness leverages digital to educate clients both online and in-person
C’est La Vie Wellness leverages digital to educate clients both online and in-personIn the holistic health and wellness space where trust forms the backbone of every interaction, being an expert in the field isn’t enough. Clients want to know you, they want to know your philosophy and where your values lie.
Why Sagrario Pilates Studio gave social media a second chance
Why Sagrario Pilates Studio gave social media a second chanceSagrario Castilla has been teaching Pilates for nearly 30 years. And for the better part of three decades, she’s thrived on simple systems and word of mouth. It’s served her well and made Sagrario Pilates Studio a mainstay in Toronto’s Church Wellesley Village long before all the fitness trends of ...
Digital Main Street one-to-one support gives T-Elle owner confidence
Digital Main Street one-to-one support gives T-Elle owner confidenceIn the age of fast fashion and e-commerce Lien Vu’s T-Elle Boutique is a rarity. For 35 years, Vu’s quietly filled the racks of her women’s clothing shop in downtown Peterborough with season after season of designer fashion for women, a curated collection of high-end clothing that wouldn’t be out ...
Trenton boosts Downtown BIA engagement with Digital Main Street
Trenton boosts Downtown BIA engagement with Digital Main StreetFor Lisa Kuypers-Schroedter bringing Digital Main Street to Trenton’s Downtown BIA seemed like an easy sell. The program aims to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities. After hearing about it and sitting in on a few talks, she figured it was time to export the concept to Trenton ...
Bruce Peninsula Boat Tours build deeper connections through digital channels
Bruce Peninsula Boat Tours build deeper connections through digital channelsThree or four times a year, Donna Stewart, owner of Bruce Peninsula Boat Tours, sends an update called Tour News to her 700-strong email list. But the one this past fall was different, this time around she took a more candid and personal approach.
For Millpond Records and Books selling online gets people through the door
For Millpond Records and Books selling online gets people through the doorColin Robertson and Christine Schmalz had only been living in the village of Hespeler for a little while when they heard local favourite Millpond Records and Books was closing down. So they did what any sensible couple with a growing family and careers in full swing (Schmalz in agriculture policy ...
Stoney Creek’s Sprinkles on Top offers sweet deals via social media
Stoney Creek’s Sprinkles on Top offers sweet deals via social mediaOnce a day, Sprinkles on Top tea room, bakery and ice cream parlour in Stoney Creek, plays the name game. The premise is simple: the shop posts a name on their social media and anyone with that name can come in and get a free scoop. No caveats, just a ...
Full Circle Foods using digitization to boost wages
Full Circle Foods using digitization to boost wagesWhen you love something, you save it and Full Circle Foods, a sustainability-minded grocery store in downtown Kitchener, was much-loved. So when the old owners pinned a hand-scribbled “for sale” sign to the store’s community board, Sam Nabi and Julia Gogoleva alongside 22 community lenders did what they needed to ...
Shantee Healing uses Digital Main Street to create space for clients to unplug
Shantee Healing uses Digital Main Street to create space for clients to unplugJas Dhillon had always envisioned a serene space where people could gather to heal, a space delivering natural therapies, products, and services while putting into practice a career-worth of learning surrounding holistic health like energy healing, psychic guidance, and spiritual and personal empowerment.
Olive’s Oddments goes online to get around Locke Street construction in Hamilton
Olive’s Oddments goes online to get around Locke Street construction in HamiltonWith Hamilton’s Locke Street under construction, Thompson has seen an unprecedented interruption to that foot traffic. “We've been in business 35 years and this is the worst year we've ever experienced as far as traffic flow.”
Lift Lock Escape taps Digital Main Street to decipher the labyrinth of social media analytics
Lift Lock Escape taps Digital Main Street to decipher the labyrinth of social media analytics“You wanna reach more people, ” says Wallwork. “And the only way to do that is advertising and the other forms of advertising have had zero success, so to be able to up our digital presence is huge.”
Ottawa’s Trendy Glebe Neighbourhood Invests in Digital Future
Ottawa’s Trendy Glebe Neighbourhood Invests in Digital FutureTucked in the elbow of the Rideau Canal, Ottawa’s the Glebe neighbourhood is a unique enclave. It boasts a historic butcher, baker and candlestick maker style main street alongside a world class entertainment complex and urban park. It’s that diversity that keeps the business community there tight, a neighbourhood set ...
Why Molly Bloom’s and Revival House Owner Rob Wigan Swears by Social
Why Molly Bloom’s and Revival House Owner Rob Wigan Swears by SocialRob Wigan may have been an early adopter to Facebook but with the pace of change in social media, Wigan says it’s never too late for small ma and pa shops to get on board and build their digital presence.
Goderich Rebounds: Turning Tragedy Into an Opportunity for Transformation
Goderich Rebounds: Turning Tragedy Into an Opportunity for TransformationBailey Regier, the DSS Team Lead, says the BIA had already pulled together an inventory on where businesses were at in terms of digital literacy before she started going out to the community. There was a sense amongst many that having a digital presence was a necessary evil. But Regier ...
How Main Street Oakville is Embracing the Digital Age
How Main Street Oakville is Embracing the Digital Age“One of the most important challenges facing small business in the Town of Oakville is their ability to embrace the digital age. It’s vital for business today to adapt and become familiar with digital technology, ” said Stephen Crawford, MPP for Oakville.
Midland Brings Businesses Online as Main Street Faces Disruption From Construction
Midland Brings Businesses Online as Main Street Faces Disruption From ConstructionNext year, Midland’s King Street, one of the town’s key arteries will undergo a massive redesign, disrupting the flow of the downtown core and the businesses that drive the local economy. It’s a big change for the community, one the Downtown Midland Business Improvement Area has been hoping to offset by fixing up the alleyways, putting ...
Stratford Shop Owner Utilizes Street Art + Digital Strategy Providing a Surprising Moment of Resonance
Stratford Shop Owner Utilizes Street Art + Digital Strategy Providing a Surprising Moment of Resonance#resonancestreetart – Claire Scott's colourful mural was designed to create an accessible moment of connection
How Belle River Plans to Get All It's Businesses On The Map
How Belle River Plans to Get All It's Businesses On The MapIt was Janel Gagnier, coordinator of the Belle River On The Lake BIA, that first convinced the board to take up the Digital Main Street initiative. “Right away I knew it was a good thing and I knew it would benefit the businesses in our community, ” says Gagnier. She admits she came down ...
Peterborough’s Digital Main Street Squad Keeps Main Street Diverse
Peterborough’s Digital Main Street Squad Keeps Main Street DiverseBy zeroing in on individual business owner’s digital needs, the Peterborough Digital Main Street squad has managed to enlist 51 of the downtown core’s businesses into the program so far.
Belleville Uses Digital Main Street to Get Hidden Gems On the Map
Belleville Uses Digital Main Street to Get Hidden Gems On the MapIn the hotels of Quinte Region around Belleville, kiosks guide visitors to the hidden gems that locals and those in-the-know frequent. Unfortunately, if you’re not on Trip Advisor and Google My Business, you’re apt to stay hidden.
Eat Local Pizza’s Digital Differentiator 🍕
Eat Local Pizza’s Digital Differentiator 🍕Eat Local Pizza founder Jim Stadey was on the cusp of getting out of the business when he realized he had been going about it all wrong: it wasn’t just about differentiating his pizzas, he had to differentiate his brand.
Digital Main Street piques interest in cities like Kitchener-Waterloo, Port Hope, Hamilton, and Thunder Bay
Digital Main Street piques interest in cities like Kitchener-Waterloo, Port Hope, Hamilton, and Thunder BayAs the Digital Main Street initiative proliferates through Ontario, economic centres like Kitchener-Waterloo, Port Hope, Hamilton, and Thunder Bay are re-energizing local main street businesses with digital tools.
How Mary’s Brigadeiro's Flagship Shop Drove Online Sales
How Mary’s Brigadeiro's Flagship Shop Drove Online SalesAfter several years selling in markets and through e-commerce, Mary’s Brigadeiro opened its flagship location on the Danforth. Strangely enough, the new physical spot boosted online sales.
A tale of two cinemas: Toronto’s Fox Theatre and Kitchener’s Apollo Cinema
A tale of two cinemas: Toronto’s Fox Theatre and Kitchener’s Apollo CinemaInspired by their love of cinema, Daniel Demois and Andy Willick revitalized two aging theatres – the Fox Theatre in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood and the Apollo Cinema in Kitchener – drawing in moviegoers with a blend of classic, contemporary and cult hits. Now they’re refining their digital approach to connecting ...
Steve’s Quality Meats and Deli combines old world experience with digital-savvy branding
Steve’s Quality Meats and Deli combines old world experience with digital-savvy brandingInspired by the Danforth’s European roots, Steve’s Quality Meats and Deli takes an old school approach to custom cuts and classic Italian takeaway fare. But it’s their digital strategy that’s helped them connect with their community.
Etobicoke Service Centre’s Bill Massis on his Sunday night review ritual
Etobicoke Service Centre’s Bill Massis on his Sunday night review ritualBill Massis discovered Google reviews three years ago during a website rebrand for his vacuum cleaner repair and sales business Etobicoke Service Centre. While he was hesitant at first, a study showing consumers view Google reviews the same way they see referrals from friends convinced him otherwise.
Marlborough’s has found a way to beat Amazon at its own game
Marlborough’s has found a way to beat Amazon at its own gameAs one of the longest standing businesses in the Bloor West Village area, Marlborough’s has become a symbol of Bloor West Village’s continuous innovation amidst the changing retail environment.
Flexday’s mission to turn restaurants into beautiful co-working spaces
Flexday’s mission to turn restaurants into beautiful co-working spacesWith an eye on disrupting the commute, Toronto start-up Flexday is working with restaurants to transform them into fully-outfitted co-working space during the daytime hours and bring more business through the doors.
Supercoffee uses digital footprint to entice out-of-towners to Mount Dennis neighbourhood
Supercoffee uses digital footprint to entice out-of-towners to Mount Dennis neighbourhoodDrawing from her filmmaking background, Supercoffee owner Cassandra Nicolaou treats her business like an ongoing production, constantly striving to find new ways to engage customers. Digital media has played a major role.
The Petite Alternative puts sincerity at centre of digital strategy
The Petite Alternative puts sincerity at centre of digital strategyAfter 30 years in the fashion industry specializing in clothes for shorter women, The Petite Alternative shop owner Connie Gougos knows that staying relevant means reading the trends – whether that’s fashion itself or the way consumers are buying clothes.
FloorPlay Socks Expands Retail Footprint
FloorPlay Socks Expands Retail FootprintToronto-based retailer FloorPlay Socks has found a successful niche in a basic everyday item. The company sells socks – and only socks – and that narrow focus has helped FloorPlay stand out from its competitors and become an authority in the market.
The Belgian Chocolate Shop combines traditional handcrafting with new school storytelling
The Belgian Chocolate Shop combines traditional handcrafting with new school storytellingFor the past 34 years, The Belgian Chocolate Shop has worked its way into the hearts of Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood. Now it’s developing a digital strategy to grow beyond.
Mastercard’s Masterpass tackles small business painpoints
Mastercard’s Masterpass tackles small business painpointsAfter a restaurant client identified pain points surrounding the time it took for clients to get and pay their bill, Mastercard developed Qkr, the pay-at-table app to streamline the process and help small businesses do what they do best without the hang up.
Irish Design House brings old country artisanal wares to Toronto
Irish Design House brings old country artisanal wares to TorontoFor the past three years Irish designer Sinéad Clarke, has been introducing Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood to artisanal wares from back home through the Irish Design House and her own label FADA. Now, using a knowledge-base built through Digital Main Street, Clarke is taking a digital first approach to expanding across ...
Why On the Other Hand leans heavily on authenticity with its social strategy
Why On the Other Hand leans heavily on authenticity with its social strategyAfter a decade and a half under the umbrella of other retailers, jewelry-maker Karen MacRae and master goldsmith Sabrina Melendez struck out on their own to build On the Other Hand, a new shop in Leslieville focused on high-end jewelry. But growing their footprint will require a social strategy built ...
Kanga Pies uses digital to get customers through the door and keep them coming back
Kanga Pies uses digital to get customers through the door and keep them coming backFor the past four years Megan Chan and Erin Mayes have built a small empire in Toronto around the Australian meat pie. Kanga Pie’s secret recipe for success: a steady dose of Instagram content and a smart-phone friendly environment where customers can charge up their devices or order take away ...
How Queenie’s Cards made the move from online to brick and mortar
How Queenie’s Cards made the move from online to brick and mortarAfter seven years running Queenie’s Cards online, Queenie Best decided to open a physical brick and mortar location on the Danforth. Thanks to her digital tools like Instagram, Square and her e-commerce website, the transition was smooth, giving her the freedom to expand her offerings.
Waterfront BIA Leverages AP1 Tech to Bring Torontonians Shore-Side in Winter
Waterfront BIA Leverages AP1 Tech to Bring Torontonians Shore-Side in WinterToronto’s waterfront can bean icy place in the winter which is why the BIA partnered with local startup AP1 to leverage innovative proximity technology and a scavenger hunt application to get Torontonians out during the most unforgiving months.
Anycard brings e-gift cards to Digital Main Street
Anycard brings e-gift cards to Digital Main StreetThe gift card market has been dominated by malls and big box stores but startup Anycard is looking to level the playing field, giving main street businesses a platform for selling their own electronic gift cards.
teaBOT grows its robot empire one cup of tea at a time
teaBOT grows its robot empire one cup of tea at a timeFor teaBOT there’s no better home base than Toronto: international tea drinkers, long winters and an inherent sociability. But that hasn’t kept the Toronto-based startup from expanding its robot army beyond the ecosystem here to cities like Palo Alto and Chicago.
A Spiffy New Way to Boost Alcohol Sales and Improve Restaurant Guest Experience
A Spiffy New Way to Boost Alcohol Sales and Improve Restaurant Guest ExperienceWhen we visit restaurants, there are more wine, spirit, and craft beer options than ever before. You won’t hear complaints from the growing number of craft connoisseurs, but it can make it difficult for restaurant operators to keep their whole team up to speed. The good news? There’s an app ...
West Queen West hooks the neighbourhood up with free wi-fi
West Queen West hooks the neighbourhood up with free wi-fiAs of May, the West Queen West Business Improvement Area has connected the neighbourhood between Bathurst and Ossington with free wi-fi. While Rob Sysak, executive director of the BIA, says he excited about being a first mover, he envisions a future where all neighbourhoods offer the service.
Carptor makes local food locatable
Carptor makes local food locatableWith growing emphasis on the social, environmental and economical benefits of buying local food, Toronto entrepreneurs John Cowie and Rob Elms have developed Carptor, a web and mobile database for finding local food wherever you are.
Toronto’s A-Game Café thrives off the interplay between nostalgia and technology
Toronto’s A-Game Café thrives off the interplay between nostalgia and technologyAmongst a swath of board game cafés opening in Toronto, A-Game Café keeps the feeling down to earth by letting the technology do its work behind the scenes.
PeopleFlow pilot keep tabs on returning shoppers in Bloor West Village
PeopleFlow pilot keep tabs on returning shoppers in Bloor West VillageLeveraging high speed networks and the proliferation of mobile devices, Bloor West Village and PeopleFlow have teamed up to track mobile movement, better understand who’s shopping in the area and figure out how to make the area more attractive to visitors.
Peter Pan Bistro treads the line between Queen Street’s past and a digital future
Peter Pan Bistro treads the line between Queen Street’s past and a digital future“When I did my pop up and I talked about the idea of opening a restaurant for six months on the second floor of a bar with no storefront, ” he says. “50 years ago people only knew you by walking by your store looking in your window and figuring ...
Lumicrest enlightens art galleries and retailers, near and far
Lumicrest enlightens art galleries and retailers, near and farPartners David Geldart and Mieke Geldart have taken their online LED lighting businesses and created a Parkdale-neighbourhood storefront to help educate customers on how the complex system works.