Debra Pitel retails a well-heeled classic – western-style boots – for “whether you’re walking down the aisle or climbing up in the saddle.” Even with such a traditional product, this business owner from Petrolia has repeatedly adapted to changing times.

Over the last 17 years, Western Boot Corral has evolved from a tack shop located on Debra’s rural horse farm to include in-town commercial retail space. Changing customer demographics and new online retail options for consumers also prompted her to refocus in recent years solely as a boot store.

Still, Debra remained focused on offering a personal, in-store experience with little shift to e-commerce. This changed with the pandemic, as supply-chain issues delayed shipments from suppliers and forced the need to move outside of her comfort zone. Today, she is putting greater emphasis on building her digital presence online to reach more customers outside the local market.

For assistance, Debra has turned to Digital Main Street (DMS), with its free educational resources and access to grant funding. Here, she has found the knowledge and support to develop and execute a practical digital transformation plan. Core to this effort has been a new website and a new social media strategy.

“On my own, I wasn’t sure where to start,” Debra said. “DMS has provided the resources I needed to re-educate myself as a business owner and look at how to expand my marketing and advertising beyond just the curb appeal of the store.”

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