Kemptville’s To Be Continued consignment expands its online presence with help from Digital Main Street
In the decade since Shelley Mitchell bought To Be Continued, the Kemptville consignment shop has grown from a small 1,000-square-foot space to span the length of four shopfronts, selling everything from clothes and footwear to party supplies and toys.
But looking back, the changes were subtle. “We’d outgrown our original space which was why we made the first move and then a few years later, our local toy store shut down,” explains Mitchell. “There was a need in the community to keep that kind of thing going so we just went in that direction.”
It seems to be how Mitchell functions, she sees an opportunity and points herself towards it. So when she heard about the Digital Main Street program, which leverages grants and one-to-one support to help main street businesses across Ontario strengthen their digital and online capabilities, she saw the potential to yet again grow To Be Continued’s presence. But this time it would be online.
In the past, she had hired people to help with her website and social media. “But having Megan (McDonald of the Old Town Kemptville BIA’s Digital Service Squad team) allowed me to learn some of those things as well,” she says.
Through the program, Mitchell started looking into improving email marketing, optimizing Facebook, creating a business Instagram, and getting 360 photos for Google My Business.
“She also helped me set up a Shopify account and learn how to put some of my stuff online,” says Mitchell. It’s slow going, as a consignment shop there are a lot of unique items that will need to be put into the system.
She’s devoting part of the funds from the Digital Transformation Grant she received through DMS towards a conference to learn more about the software she is currently using for consignment and how to potentially integrate it with Shopify to make it a more seamless process.
“I've run into some snags with getting my SSL certificate so I am hiring somebody to help me with that,” says Mitchell. The HTTPS designation is a stamp of trust that appears next to a website’s URL in the address bar – it basically means people’s personal data is protected. “It’s really important to me.”
It’s all a part of her ongoing education as an entrepreneur and that drive to keep step with the growing importance of digital presence for To Be Continued.
“It's a good time to get my website updated and make sure there are no bugs and stuff in it… kind of clean things up, right?” says the business owner. “It's been a positive experience for me, that's for sure, I've definitely learned a lot and I’ve got some upcoming things (like the conference) that I’ll learn even more from.”
Written by Andrew Seale
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
This case study was completed during a prior expansion of DMS in partnership with the Province of Ontario and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In June 2020, a $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.