Shantee Healing uses Digital Main Street to create space for clients to unplug
Jas 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.
“I just always saw people gathering in awkward areas, like at the top of the optometrist's office or a strip mall, but it didn't have that feel, that energy, that dedicated space… a space where people feel connected, not like they're in and out for service and you're done,” says Dhillon.
But as she started to turn her vision for Shantee Healing into reality, she quickly realized the gaps in her knowledge-base surrounding the tools she’d need to operate in an increasingly digital world. It was around that time she was introduced to Digital Main Street.
“I’d done some marketing for myself previously on Facebook as a coach and as a Reiki teacher, but I haven't done it for a physical business,” says the Port Hope business owner. “I didn’t know about POS, inventory management… all those types of things that were talked about through the program – it was a really good foundation that gave me glimpses into what I would need.”
Dhillon says she found Digital Main Street through Cats Media, the team of developers she’d hired to create her website. The program leverages grants and support from the Province of Ontario and the Ontario BIA Association to help small, main street businesses across Ontario strengthen their digital and online capabilities. She applied for the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant and began working her way through the training videos.
“You get the bigger picture and then you learn how to implement aspects (of your digital presence) in stages,” she says. It allowed her to bake these technologies and tools right into the foundation of her business. “You're already aware that you're going to have to take these routes, or you should eventually, then you can pace yourself accordingly.”
With the appointment booking, POS, and back-office systems in place, Dhillon could focus on creating the exact experience she wanted for clients from the moment the business opened.
Shantee Healing features private therapy rooms, a hand and foot detox lounge, and a Healing Salt Cave made from over six tonnes of Polish pink salt. It’s a retreat of sorts in the heart of Port Hope.
Although she only opened the doors to the community in August, Dhillon says she sees a clear trajectory, a blend of thoughtful social media and digital tools that get people into the space where they can unplug and feel calm.
“Come October, our plans are to do things over social media like paid advertising and (asking) clients to start writing reviews,’ says Dhillon adding that figuring out what tools, services and products work is an ongoing part of the business. “It’s all a learning process – and then it's just constant refining and fine-tuning.”
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, and Yellow Pages.
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.