Thornbury’s Rocky Shores Health and Wellness takes hub online
Over 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 like wild foods and natural, plant-based products.
“Years and years ago it was, it was an odd thing to be eating wild food and now people say, oh, this why we should learn about it… when you're lining up at the grocery store and everyone's wearing masks and the food isn't there,” says Klein. “These are interesting times.”
Rocky Shores was built around Raindance Cosmetics, a natural and organic personal care products company Klein started in 2008. “A few years later we started homeschooling my daughter and we got into wild foods and herbs and stuff like that,” says the entrepreneur. That lead her to open Rocky Shores, a wellness hub in Thornbury, two years ago.
“(The space) encompasses Raindance and healthy living on every level,” says Klein. “So meditation, acupuncture, Reiki – mind, body, spirit – and teaching people about wild food… whatever healthy living means to you because it's different for everybody.”
In addition to Klein’s cosmetics brand, Rocky Shores has a snack bar with locally-harvested wild foods and locally-made gluten-free, plant-based treats and snacks. It’s very much community-focused which also means Klein spends most of her days connecting with that community from the shop. But the shuttering of businesses surrounding the coronavirus pandemic meant a temporary halt to that community hub.
Serendipitously, Rocky Shores had just started working on its website and social media with help from Digital Main Street, a program that combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario and the Ontario BIA Association to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities. Klein had applied for the $2,500 Digital Transformation grant and received it.
“It couldn't have started at a better time… it was pretty wild,” says the Rocky Shores owner. The business has taken the reduction in foot traffic to start building out a new website for its hub including a way to book appointments online. They’ve streamlined the overall community experience. Social media has also become a top priority.
“All those things were on the back burner because we’re storefront so it’s all walk-in,” says Klein. “We're coming up on two years, so we spent quite a few months without proper representation online and with social media… it needed to happen.”
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.